This flavour-packed Singapore Fish Curry will brighten and spice up your dinner any night of the week. In my take on this iconic dish, I serve pan-seared halibut on top of a fragrant yellow curry sauce. This recipe is a must try this winter season!
A Delicious Fusion of Indian and Chinese Ingredients & Spices
Singapore Fish Curry combines delicious Indian and Chinese ingredients and spices into the fusion-style recipe. Due to its geographical location, Singapore has had lots of culinary influences from Indian, Chinese and South East Asian flavours for many years. All of these flavours and ingredients really come together in this recipe for Singapore Fish Curry and is actually the country’s most popular dish!
This recipe is traditionally made with whole fish heads that are stewed in a yellow curry sauce with vegetables such as eggplant, okra, and greens like gai lan or bok choy. It is an inventive way to use up the entire fish. Fish heads have a good amount of meat on them and they impart incredible fishy flavour to any dish. The curry is an equally powerful flavour that balances the fish perfectly. best served with some fresh steamed rice to soak up all of the curry sauce!
My Take on Singapore Fish Curry
While fish heads are no entirely my favourite to eat (other than the tender cheeks), I decided to use fish fillets to make my version of Singapore Fish Curry. Here on the west coast of Canada, we have access to tons of fresh fish year-round. My favourite fish is halibut, so that is what I decided to use in this recipe, however you can use any white fish that you enjoy!
In terms of the curry sauce, I tried to stick to traditional ingredients including yellow curry, curry leaves, coconut milk, coriander and tamarind to give this recipe a nod to its authentic flavours. In my opinion, the tamarind in this recipe really makes this recipe authentic since it adds a nice brightness and freshness to an otherwise heavy curry.
The Perfect Wine Pairing
Haywire Chardonnay wine is the perfect wine to pair with this Singapore Fish Curry. This BC wine is made in Oliver, BC and is definitely on my top 3 list of favourite Chardonnays!
The Chardonnay delivers a clean fruit driven style backed by a creamy, textured mouthfeel framed with mouth watering acidity. It really balances the spiciness of the curry and refreshes your plate between bites with all of its brightness and acidity. You can purchase Haywire Chardonnay wine online for $29.90.
Singapore Fish Curry
For the Curry Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup shallots sliced 1/2 cm thick
- 1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
- 10 fresh curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seed
- 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup tomato finely diced
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste optional
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 Thai Bird's Eye chili pepper split in half lengthwise, seeds removed
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
For the Fish:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 fillet halibut about 400 grams, cut into 4-cm wide pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 6 stalks gai lan or choy sum cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoon s fresh cilantro leaves removed from stem (for garnish)
For the Curry:
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil has melted, add the shallots to the pot and sauté for 1 minute.
- Next, add the garlic and ginger to the pot and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the curry leaves and black mustard seeds cook for 1-2 minutes to release all their flavour. Stir often to avoid burning.
- Next, add the curry powder, coriander, black pepper and salt to the pot and mix to combine with the other ingredients. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the spices, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes to allow them to cook through and become fragrant. If the pan is becoming too dry, add a splash of water to help the spices cook.
- Once the spices are cooked, add the tomato to the pot along with the tamarind paste (if using), soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, the Thai Birds Eye chili pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the water to the pot and bring the contents of the pot to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes, remove the lid of the pot and add the coconut milk. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.
For the Fish & Gai Lan:
- Season both sides of the halibut fillet with the curry powder, salt and pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, followed by the seasoned halibut (presentation side down).
- Fry the halibut for 3-4 minutes per side, until the halibut is cooked. The halibut will be firm to the touch and is opaque in colour. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil the pan followed by the gai lan (or choy sum) and the water. Cover and steam for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
- To serve, place a few spoonfuls of curry on the base of a bowl and top with the pan-seared halibut. Arrange the gai lan around the plate and garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves and more chili peppers. Serve immediately with a glass of Haywire Chardonnay and enjoy!