fish soup / stew

Milkfish Fillet in Tomato Curry

Monday, January 19, 2015Enz F

After my successful attempt to cook Ayam Kapitan (Malaysian/ Singaporean Chicken Curry) prepared by Azlin Bloor in one of her shows, I have become so fascinated to try other non-Filipino curry dishes. Not too long ago, Maria Nasir a good friend and one of the moderators of Foodies+, posted a very mouthwatering and spicy fish in tomato curry. I carefully read her recipe and it made me even more enticed to try the dish especially when I found out that I have all the ingredients available in my pantry. 
I have always wanted to try cooking South Asian dishes. This one is amazing!
Originally, Maria used the sole fish fillet but also suggested that any white fish could be a suitable substitute so I used our local bangus or milkfish, a popular firm white fish in the Philippines. The outcome was just superb! The combination of spices and the piquancy of tomato and lime juice are easily absorbed by the fish which I really loved so much. You can counter the tart by adding some sugar according to your taste. The fantastic flavors, which were according to Maria were Parsi cuisine inspired that was learned by her mom from a good neighbor from Karachi, are indeed party in the palate. I was also amazed how this dish could be easily prepared with no fuss. 

This tomato curry would be best cooked with your fresh local firm white fish.
Here is my version of Maria’s Fish in Tomato Curry. I only had three slices of fillet so I reduced the other ingredients proportionately. This is what I just had feasted on for lunch and I am surely cooking this again. Maria is an excellent chef and thanks to her easy home cooked dishes as this made me love spicy dishes and South Asian flavors even more. You can read her original recipe here. If you want to try other authentic South Asian dishes, you may check out her food blog Foodaholic.
I am definitely loving the spicy South Asian flavors!
Milkfish Fillet in Tomato Curry
Number of Servings: 1 to 2 

  • 3 slices bangus fillet (butterflied milkfish) 
  • 1 tbsp. calamansi lime juice 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 2 pcs. red Thai chilies 
  • 2 pcs. medium-sized tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste (optional) 
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder 
  • ½ tbsp. vinegar or to taste 
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped 
  • ¼ cup water or as needed 
  • sugar to taste 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1-2 tbsps. olive oil (for sautéing) 
  • ½ tsp. red chili flakes (for garnish) 
  • a handful of coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish) 

  1. Marinate the fish fillet in the mixture of calamansi juice and salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. 
  2. In a food processor or blender, grind to form into smooth paste the garlic, red Thai chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste (optional), cumin powder, salt and vinegar. Set aside the mixture until needed. 
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onions until the color turns light brown. 
  4. Add the blended tomato mixture and bring to light simmer. 
  5. Add the marinated fish fillet and cover the pan. Set the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until the fish is tender. 
  6. Add some water if the curry begins to dry. Remove the lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. 
  7. Remove from heat and transfer in a serving bowl. Garnish with chili flakes and coriander leaves. Serve along with hot steamed rice. Enjoy! 

  1. Aside from milkfish, you can also use other local white flesh fish like tilapia and galunggong (mackerel scad). 
  2. This can also be served together with bread.

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