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Singapore Fish Curry

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.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Singaporean
Servings 2


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:

  • 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!
Keyword fish curry, singapore fish curry, singaporean recipe, weeknight meal