Resipi gulai ikan (Malay style fish curry)

Today is one of those days when I am especially hyper. I woke up early in the morning to drop my hubby on the mainland. As I was coming home, suddenly, I felt like cooking. So, I headed to Tesco and grab a few things to cook Malay style fish curry.

In case you haven’t notice, Malay curries are much simpler, tastes milder and easy on our gut too compared to the mamak or Indian Muslims very rich curries.


Of course, my recipe is not an authentic Malay curry but something I cooked up. The above are a varieties of herbs, spices, onion, ginger and garlic. If you click on the photo, it will take you to my Flickr album and you can view the names of all the ingredients. They are biji sawi, kayu manis, bunga cengkih, bunga lawang, cardamon (can’t remember the Malay name atm), curry leaves, sliced ginger, garlic and onions.


You can use any type of fish, according to your budget. Best is to ask the fishmonger if the fish you are buying is suitable for curries. I used two slices of tenggiri or mackerel.

curry powder

If you are cooking Malay style curry, then, buy Malay brand of curry powder. Adabi, Orang Kampung or wateva. Just one tiny packet will do if you do not intend to have hot curries. I added one tablespoon of tumeric powder as well. Mix the powder with some oil, making it into a paste.


Here are the vegetables used. Tomatoes, more onions, curry leave for garnishing and okra. Cut the okra top and bottom so that the curry can penetrate the whole thing. It has tiny holes, remember? Oh don’t forget the green chillies to provide the fragrant.


Curries need a balance taste of heat (pedas), sourness and lemak-ness (there is no English word for this except creaminess?). I used a tiny ball of tamarind pulp to provide the sourish taste (mix with 2 bowls of water), half a box of coconut milk in those UHT box (abt 100 ml) and flavour them with salt and some sugar.

fish curry

And here is the fish added to the curry.

As usual, I don’t like lengthy recipe or those with too many steps. So, here are the easy one.

1) Buy one packet of curry powder and follow the recipe. (then you don’t even need to read the rest of the below)
2) Find those pre-mixed spices they call halba campuran where they have many types of spices in one packet. Just take one each of the spices.
3) Find the fish you like
4) Grab some vegetables you like such as okra, eggplant, tomatoes
5) Essential ingredients are ginger, garlic, onion, curry leaves, green chillies
6) Prepare enough liquid, i.e. tamarind juice and coconut milk (don’t use too much liquid bcos you are not going to drink all the kuah gulai, are you?)

Method of cooking

1) Heat some oil and fry the herbs, spices till fragrant
2) Add in the curry powder which has been mixed with either oil or water (otherwise, the curry powder into hot oil will fly all over your face, kitchen wall, kitchen floor….)
3) Add in the tamarind juice and the vegetables
4) Add in coconut milk and fish
5) Season to taste with salt and some sugar

Oh ya, I can actually buy better tasting Malay curries from all the nasi campur stalls along Jalan Tanjong Tokong because there are so many makciks here who can cook really nice, authentic Malay curries. But there is nothing like home-cooked curry. I am very satisfied with the above because even my little boy asked for curry gravy for his lunch.

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