Coconut & Tamarind Salmon Curry with Mustard Seeds


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

The coconut-based curries of the south are lush with fresh seafood and chillies. They’re the kind of dishes that linger in your mind after your travels. This one is very quick to make and puts an exotic dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. Try the same creamy base with chicken or chunks of fresh fish for a light and easy meal.

Preparation: 15 Minutes
Cooking: 25 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons desiccated (shredded) coconut
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb-size green chilli, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cm ( inch) piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 100 g ( oz) tamarind purée
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) tin coconut milk
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) skinless salmon fillet (pinbones removed), barramundi cod or halibut, cut into 6 cm (2½ inch) pieces
  • 10 curry leaves (optional)
  • Steamed basmati rice and chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve


Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) or 140°C (275°F) fan forced. Spread the coconut on a baking tray and toast for 3-4 minutes or until the edges turn golden. Remove and transfer to a bowl.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden and soft. Add the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mustard seeds pop. Add the tamarind purée, tomato paste, coconut milk, toasted coconut and 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of water and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Just before serving, add the salmon pieces and curry leaves, if using. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked to your liking. Serve with steamed basmati rice and chopped coriander.