Project Description

The Malaysian fish head curry has a mixed influence of Malay, Chinese and Indian in one dish is one of my personal favourite. Hence, I daresay that this would not only be mine but also to many others, one of the best comfort foods available here.

fish head curry


1 hour





Link to:

Link to:



Like most local favourite dishes, every household or restaurant will have their own methods and recipe for fish head curry. However, the dish can look a little intimidating but it is actually pretty easy.

Red Snapper Fish Head Curry

For the protein, while the dish is a fish head curry, you may also add in other parts of the fish if you’d like more flesh to your dish. I ordered my seafood online from Harvest & Catch. So I used a whole Red Snapper Fish Head and a piece of Red Snapper Block. Hence, do check them out because they came direct from Klang and really fresh!

Fish Head Curry, the easy way

As for other ingredients, this fish head curry recipe is my version where I took some short cuts and may not have used some of the recommended ingredients for a more traditional dish. For example instead of making my own chilli paste, I used a bottled Thai chilli paste.  So here’s how I did mine:

Full Recipe: Malaysian Fish Head Curry Recipe

This recipe serves 2 to 4. Let’s get started!


  • Cuisine: Malaysian

  • Prep Time: 30 mins

  • Cooking Time: 30 mins

  • Total Time: 1 hour



Curry Paste Mix

  • 4 tbsp Fish (or any meat) curry powder 魚咖哩粉

    curry powder

  • 1 tbsp Turmeric powder (if you are using fresh, use a 1inch knob) 薑黃粉

    turmeric powder

  • 1 inch knob of Ginger 薑


  • 2 stalks of Lemongrass – bruised and sliced 香矛


  • 6 cloves of Garlic 蒜


  • 10 pieces of Shallots 小蔥

    1 medium Red Onion 紅洋蔥

    shallots onions

  • 10 pcs of Curry Leaves 咖哩葉

    curry leaves

  • 3 to 5 tbsp Thai Chilli Paste (feel free to use others) 辣椒醬

    chilli paste

Curry Broth
  • 200ml Coconut Milk 椰奶

    coconut milk

  • 2 tbsp of Tamarind Paste made into 120ml of Tamarind Juice 羅望子汁

    tamarind juice

Main Ingredients
  • 6 pcs Ladies Fingers 羊腳豆

    ladies fingers

  • 1 medium sized Eggplant 茄子


  • 2 medium Tomatoes 番茄


  • 4 – 5 stalks of Long Beans 長豆

    long beans

  • 6 – 8 pcs Tofu Puffs 豆腐泡

    tofu puffs

  • 400gm Red Snapper Head 紅魚魚頭 –

    200gm Red Snapper Block –

    red snapper

  • Salt, Sugar and Pepper to taste

  • Peanut oil



  • Prep your vegetables first, cutting them according to your preferred sizes

    Tip: If you want to prevent your eggplant from changing colour, sprinkle some salt on them and set aside

  • Then we can move on to making the paste – start off by putting the shallots, onions, ginger, lemongrass and garlic into the blender and pulse for a few seconds until they are blended coarsely

  • Then add the curry powder, turmeric powder, the Thai chilli paste and a drizzle of peanut oil. Continue blending until you achieve a smooth paste-like consistency

  • Heat up some oil in a wok over medium low heat. Once heated up, pour the paste into the wok and start hearing it sizzle!

  • Keep stirring until fragrant where you can then add about a teaspoon of salt and sugar and continue stirring. Stir occasionally because you don’t want the mix to burn

  • After continuous stir frying, you should see a change in colour and the oil starting to separate from the paste. When you see the oil bubbling on the surface and the sides of the paste, its time for the next ingredient


  • Add the curry leaves, stir frying it for a 1 minute more, then add in the tamarind juice, about 100ml of the coconut milk and some water to think out the coconut milk and bring it to a simmer

    Alert: Do not bring it to a hard boil as the coconut milk will start separating from the curry. You don’t want this to happen because you will start getting little lumps in your curry

  • Once simmering, add your eggplants first, then tomatoes and the fish. Bring to a simmer and let continue simmering covered for 10 minutes

  • By then, the fish would have been cooked. Take them out first because you don’t want them to overcook!


  • Once taken out, you can now put in the rest of your vegetables and tofu puffs, letting it simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes

  • Lastly, if you would like a creamier curry, mix in the rest of the Coconut Milk and adjust the flavour according to your liking by adding salt, sugar or both

    Tip: If you find your tamarind juice a little too sour, add more sugar to balance that

  • Now we’re ready to serve!


While a Malaysian favourite is always the fish head curry, you can use this recipe for any parts of the fish. Make sure you go with types of fish with firm white flesh. Having said that, you don’t need to use fish. You can give the dish a little more luxury, replace the fish with other types of seafood like prawns by all means!

The curry goes really well with your plate of white rice (basmati rice recommended) or you can have them with your bread, chapattis or even rotis. You can also have this with a scallion pancake, perhaps? Check out our recipe for that!

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