How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (2024)

One of the world’s great fish dishes, Goan-style seafood curry is, like the region’s infamous vindaloo, spicy in the truest sense: deeply aromatic, rather than merely hot, with chillies playing second fiddle to the almost mentholated sweetness of cloves and star anise. Refreshingly tangy, thanks to the local fondness for vinegar, it’s perfect warm-weather fare.

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

For the masala
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
8 dried red Kashmiri chillies
2 star anise
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
5 garlic cloves

3cm piece fresh root ginger
1 tbsp palm sugar (see step 2)
1½ tbsp white vinegar

For the curry
1 onion
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large tomato
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
2 fresh green chillies
400g firm white fish
(eg, pollock)
200g prawns (shelled weight, see step 6)
½ tsp mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
Coriander leaves, to garnish

1 Start on the spice mix

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (1)

For the masala, or spice mix, toast the cloves, coriander and cumin seeds, dried chillies and star anise in a hot, dry frying pan until you can really smell them, then crush them to a powder in a mortar or spice grinder. Stir in the turmeric and salt.

2 Finish the masala

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (2)

Peel and crush the garlic cloves, and peel and finely grate the ginger, then stir both into the spice mix, along with the sugar – if your palm sugar comes in a solid block, crush this in the mortar, too (if you can’t find palm sugar, soft brown sugar makes a decent, though not exact, substitute). Finally, stir in the vinegar to make a smooth paste.

3 Start on the curry base

Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large, wide pan over a medium heat, then gently saute the onion until soft and lightly golden, stirring to make sure it doesn’t catch and burn. Meanwhile, grate the tomato, discarding the skin (don’t worry about any small bits that get into the pulp).

4 Add the spices and tomato

Add the masala mix to the pan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until you can smell the spices again (be careful not to get too close: hot vinegar can irritate the eyes!), then stir in the grated tomato and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pan is fairly dry.

5 Add the liquids and chillies

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (4)

Slowly add the coconut milk, stirring it in gradually to make a smooth gravy, then repeat with 100ml cold water. Slit the fresh chillies down their length, so they remain whole but open, add these to the pan, too, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat a little, then leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, until the gravy has slightly thickened.

6 Get the seafood ready

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (5)

Meanwhile, prepare the fish and seafood. As long as you have enough for four people, you can use just about anything you fancy in this dish, but I like to go for a mix of firm white fish, such as pollock, and prawns for their nutty sweetness. Cut the fish into roughly 2cm chunks, removing any skin, and shell the prawns, if need be (or use whole large ones, if you prefer – two per person, say).

7 Add the seafood to the curry

You can make the dish up to this point ahead of time if you like, but don’t add the fish and seafood until you’re ready to eat, otherwise it will be tough and overcooked if reheated. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then drop in the fish and seafood, and cook gently for about five minutes, until translucent.

8 Now for the temper

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (6)

Meanwhile, make the tadka, or tempered oil, to finish the dish. Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan on a high heat, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Cook for 30 seconds, until the seeds begin to pop, then stir into the curry pot. Top with a little chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice.

9 Variations on the theme

This gravy is very versatile: substitute the fish and seafood for vegetables of your choice (pre-cooked first, if they won’t be done in five minutes) or chunks of firm tofu, or paneer, or even hard-boiled eggs. Aubergines and summer squash would be delicious choices, as would green beans, fennel or cauliflower. Cooked chicken would also be good.

  • The Guardian aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. For ratings in your region, check: UK; Australia; US.

How to make Goan seafood curry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's masterclass (2024)


What makes goan curry different? ›

The staple dish of Goa. There are many variations to this South-West Indian curry but the basic quality is a semi spicy coconut milk curry cooked with the sweetness of the onions and the sour fruity flavour of amchur (mango powder). Tamarind can also be used if available.

What is Goan Fish Curry made of? ›

Coriander, cumin and ground cloves – three common spices in both Indian and Western cooking; Fresh garlic and ginger – staples in most Indian cooking again. Finely grate it to get all the juicy flavour; Tamarind – this sour paste is the sour element in Goan Fish Curry.

What does goan curry taste like? ›

A delicious blend of caramelised onions, vinegar, spices, tomatoes and - of course - a good amount of red chillies. It is a punchy heavyweight of a curry where heat and flavour are equally balanced at the weigh in! It is very versatile and transforms to suit your choice of ingredients.

What are the allergens in Goan Fish Curry? ›

Ingredients: onions, ginger, garlic, fresh coconut, tomato, tamarind, salt, chilli, turmeric, coriander and sambar powder, mustard seeds, red chillies dried, curry leaf and asafetida. Allergens: Mustard seeds and asafetida (asafetida contains some plain flour).

What type of fish is best for curry? ›

Some of the most popular fish for curries include salmon, tuna, tilapia, cod, haddock, and snapper.

What spices are used in Goan food? ›

Goan Hindu cuisine is mild, with use of tamarind and kokum for souring, and jaggery for sweetening. It uses spices such as asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves, mustard, and urad dal. Onion and garlic are also used. It also includes vegetables, such as lentils, pumpkins, gourds, bamboo shoots, and roots.

What goes with goan curry? ›

The curry is served here with a mustard seed and mint flavoured pea pilau rice and a cucumber and tomato salad. There are also homemade poppadoms and two condiments to go with the meal - a fresh coconut chutney and a quick-to-make, tangy lime pickle.

What is the difference between Malabar and Goan fish curry? ›

How is this different from a Goan Fish Curry? While both curries have similar ingredients in terms of coconut and the spices or even the choice of protein, the difference is in the use of the souring agent.

What are people from Goa called? ›

Goans (Konkani: गोंयकार, Romi Konkani: Goenkar, Portuguese: Goeses) is the demonym used to describe the people native to Goa, India, who form an ethno-linguistic group resulting from the assimilation of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Indo-Portuguese, Austro-Asiatic ethnic and/or linguistic ancestries.

Which is the famous sweet dish of Goa? ›

Fenori, a famous sweet in Goa, is known for its crispy, layered texture and is soaked in sugar syrup. These flaky, crunchy puris are a delightful treat for any festive occasion, especially Diwali. While traditionally white, some add food colouring to make Fenori look like beautiful roses.

What is the name of seafood in Goa? ›

8 Favourite Goan seafood dishes you need to try
  • SQUIDS (CALAMARI) MASALA FRY. Soft, round squids are stir-fried and cooked along with spicy, red Goan recheado masala.
  • CRAB XACUTI. ...

What is the official fish of Goa? ›

The Striped grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) locally known as Shevto is declared as a State Fish Goa vide Official Gazette Series I No. 40 dated 31/12/2015.

Which fish is found in Goa? ›

The major marine fisheries resources of Goa includes Indian oil sardine, Indian mackerel, cat fish, Sharks, seer fish, shrimps, pomfrets, cephalopods (cuttle fish and squid), tuna, ribbon fish, reef cod, white sardine, silver bellies, flat fish, Silver bar, crabs, croakers and butter fish.

What are the different types of goan masala? ›

Preparation of Goan Masalas & Curry Pastes
  • Recheado Masala.
  • Vindalho Masala.
  • Xacuti Curry Paste.
  • Cafreal Masala.
  • Fish Curry Paste.

What are the three types of curry? ›

From phal curry based in the UK to madras curry originating from Madras, there are many curry dishes throughout the world with a history as flavorful as the meal itself. Though there are many dishes, curry itself can typically be broken down into three types: red, green, and yellow.

What makes Indian curry different? ›

Spices: South Indian curries use a blend of spices that are typically not used in other curries. This includes mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida (hing). Turmeric and tamarind are also commonly used.

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