I admit I am still at a loss with most spices. Now that I live in the Middle East, close to India, the spice shelves are packed with spices I am not even familiar with. Although I can identify a lot more spices by their looks and smells than 7 years ago, before I moved to Dubai. But I don’t know how to use them.

I am still very clumsy with most spices. If I ask my Indian neighbors what they put into their curry, I loose count. And what makes even worse for me, that they do it so naturally. In most cases they can’t even tell me how much they put in. Nothing gets measured up in half or full teaspoons.Whenever I use spices in my curries, I strictly follow a recipe, but still feel like I don’t know what I am doing.

But then again, I love curries. So what will make me happier than a curry recipe that only has three spices in it of which I know all? Furthermore, if the recipe is an authentic recipe from Tanzania. It’s Sips and Spoonfuls‘s Pan Fried Fish in Mild Coconut Curry. Sukaina must know. It’s her heritage. I would have never thought that such little ingredients, chili, turmeric and coconut milk can make such an amazing dish. It is the easiest thing to cook, yet it’s amazingly tasty.
Needless to say that this fish curry is now a staple in our house.

slightly adapted from Sips and Spoonfuls
1 1/2 lbs firm white fish
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juice of
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, finely chopped or grated
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups coconut milk
Serves 4

Marinate the fish with lemon juice, salt and red chili powder.

Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish on medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Set aside.

In a pot, heat the remaining oil and fry the garlic for a few seconds. Add the grated tomato, turmeric and salt to taste and fry till the tomato has cooked, about 4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and keep stirring till the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer half covered for 15 minutes. Add the fried fish and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve with rice.


  1. Just wanted to say…I’m Indian and I still don’t understand how my Mom cooks without needing to use teaspoons, tablespoons, anything. Everything is done because she just knows how much, instinctively. I need to measure everything too and have driven my Mom to the verge of losing it with me every time I’ve asked her for an exact measurement. So…you’re not alone.

  2. :)) I used to measure every ingredient before.. But now (after loads of practice and mistakes) I don’t use measurements.. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes.. Just that, it takes practice, practice and more practice! Don’t give up on our cuisine though :))

  3. The curry looks delicious! I’ve never quite understood how a person can remember 20+ recipes off the top of their head, WITHOUT any measurements! I have to look and check the recipe many times, but my parents, grandparents, aunts, etc. can just make the food like that.

  4. That looks like a curry even I could handle right now. I’m in India for two more years and I’m determined to learn how to cook some of my favorite dishes. I like measurements as a guideline, but I’m more of a season by taste kind of cook.

  5. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.

  6. This curry looks great , actually down south of India , we use very less spices only the basic ones .

  7. We made this for supper tonight and it was very good.

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  9. A curry cooked with in 30 minutes is a must try recipe. Can’t wait to go home and cook this dish.

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