Recipe : Curry salted fish bones, kari ikan masin

I grew up eating this salted fish bones curry but somehow, I never like it enough to cook it. I think this is the first time I am cooking curry salted fish bones. My mother loved to cook it very often and that’s probably why I dislike it. However, it is a really delicious curry and if you add in lots of vegetables, it is even nicer.


Ideally, one should put some pineapples and tau-foo-pok as part of the ingredients. However, I couldn’t get these two ingredients.

Seen above are :

5-6 pieces of salted fish bones (Mergui brand is good), soaked a while to remove salt

One brinjal

One carrot

Two stalk green/red chillies

Bunch of long beans

Cut all the above ingredients into standard sizes.


The important ingredient is the curry powder. Look out for prawn or crab curries powder and NOT fish curry powder. I found this Cap Tarbus brand and that’s why it evokes the memories of curry salted fish. Used to buy that for my mother when I was young.

I blended : Two onions, One bulb garlic, thumb sizes of ginger and tumeric and mix them with the curry powder.


The above are the two spices I used. The black one is mustard seed and the brown one, fenugreek. Just a teaspoon of each will do.

Method : Heat oil, fry the spices. Then, add the blended ingredients and continue stir frying. Add a tiny piece of belacan if you have them. Add the salted fish bones. Then, all the vegetables and add enough water to boil. Add about RM1 of coconut milk and flavour the curry with some sugar, if preferred.

If you use pineapple, the curry will have a nice sourish and lemak flavour.


The curry tastes even better left overnight in a fridge. Normally, if I cook it, I will give some away to my relative because after adding all the different vegetables, I will end up with a big pot of curry.


Seen here is my plate of rice with a sprig of mint leaves. Mint leaves are lovely with the curry. I also fry some papadums and fried chicken.

Try it. It is not so hard to make curry salted fish head after all. We just need to use our instinct to get the flavour balanced well.

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

7 thoughts on “Recipe : Curry salted fish bones, kari ikan masin


    (July 9, 2008 - 1:03 am)

    Huat Koay is the only one got talent in cooking, the rest of us… hee hee. sorry la, seldom cook (maybe dun know how to cook.. :P) but we eat a lot.

    Need to get him to cook this for us.. l love long bean in curry. Can’t wait for him to cook for us.. 😛

    BTW, I am Fei Fei from PenangTuaPui


    (July 9, 2008 - 1:31 am)

    HI, Lilian
    We are happy to have you to blog about us on, we are speechless when we get to know about this. I know it happened months back, but the excitement remained.

    We are very new to this and may need some advice to make us a better food blogger.

    Thanks for everything and appreciate it.

    p/s: The post on penangtuapui no longer accept comments. so I posted here. Thanks.

    sooi sooi

    (July 9, 2008 - 3:25 am)

    oh wow, with a mom who cooks like this, who wants to eat out lar…very hang fook lor ur sons and lou gung!


    (July 9, 2008 - 5:31 am)

    Amazing curry, I really like the last 2 pictures it is iviting for me to have some! 🙂


    (July 9, 2008 - 5:11 pm)

    Lilian, can i request a recipe for birthday cake for a 1 yr old baby? My daughter will be one in August and i want to bake a cake for her birthday party… I know it’s not related to this post but i don’t know where to post this..and I know you are very busy deh…just trying my luck ler… kamsia!


    (July 11, 2008 - 9:36 pm)

    Great stuff here, i just try them today and overall is good, my little brother like them very much, hope to learn more about cook from you, good luck.


    (July 11, 2008 - 10:45 pm)

    the last pic looks v delicious. at home, the time we eat salted fish is when durians are around. alot of ppl will just think the combination is gross but we love it =) do u eat durian with salted fish too? im missing it…

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