Mackerel (Surmai) Fish Curry-مچھلی کا سالن

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I remember this fish curry was one of my very first “difficult” recipes. It has an amazing undertone of the Fenugreek and the curry is easy to make; takes less than 30 minutes.

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  • 1kg Mackerel steaks with bone (you can substitute any other fish, but make sure that steaks have bone in them)
  • 1/2cup gram flour/besan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp oil


  1.  In a bowl mix gram flour, water and salt and make a paste.
  2. Marinade the fish in this mixture for half an hour. This will help reduce the smell.
  3. Wash the fish to remove the paste and then place in a strainer to drain the water.
  4. Heat oil in a pan on medium to high heat. Fry the fish steaks for three minutes on each side. Do not overcook the fish.
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  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp dried Fenugreeek leaves
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, whisked
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup oil


  1. Place the onion, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend using no water. keep aside
  2. Heat oil in an an open faced pan and throw in the Fenugreek seeds. As soon as you smell the fragrance from the seeds add in the onion mixture.
  3. Turn the heat medium to low and cook the mixture for about 15 minutes till it stops smelling like raw onions.
  4. Dissolve turmeric, salt, red chilli powder and coriander powder in water and pour this into the pan. Cook it for a minute.
  5.  Now mix in the yogurt and cook for two minutes or until the oil starts to bubble on the sides.
  6. Add 1 cup of water and let this come to a boil
  7. Sprinkle the dried Fenugreek leaves and place the fried fish on top, dont mix yet.
  8. Cover and let cook on low to medium heat for 6 minutes.
  9. Turn the stove off as soon as the oil starts to separate on the sides.
  10. Sprinkle with garam masala and serve hot.
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  1. Make slightly larger sized fish steaks. If small, they might break while cooking.
  2. You can freeze the gravy and the fish after frying both and whenever in need of something quick, thaw, place in a pan and cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or till ready.
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Try this delicious and super simple recipe, serve with rice or naan bread or anything else you prefer. I’m sure this will become your favorite go-to fish curry recipe.

Aa jao Machli lovers “Fish Curry” tayyar hai!!


17 Comments Add yours

  1. kutukamus says:

    I’m not a cooking guy, but I’ll eat this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much:) that means a lot. Its so easy and always turns out so good

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Henna says:

    Beenish, I LOVE that you post wonderfully traditional recipes, in a way that uses actual measurements instead of “andaaza”! This fish curry looks wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that is what I wanted my blog to be all about. Recipes that we make on a daily basis, the simple and regular Pakistani dishes that are common in regular household. Special cakes and traditional meetha’s are so popular no one will ever forget them. All these tiny little gems are being morphed into healthier versions which I totally think is the right way to go,but the original recipes are a taste of the past and I want my kids to remember:)
      And hahaha you sound just like my daughter she hates it when someone says “andaaza se daal lo”. I started giving her exact measurements because she follows the recipes to a t. Once i forgot to mention salt and she made her meal without salt 😂😂


  3. Ei Gi Chakhum says:

    Oh! This beauty which I have fallen for on instagram. 😍😍😋😋 Love mackerels, fried or in curries. And loved the way you have cooked them in dahi. Haven’t tried cooking any other fish except Hilsa and Indian Carp with dahi. Would love to give a try to your recipe with mackerels. 😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much :). Yes I love mackerels in curry too. I think dahi gives a really nice texture and smoothness to curry . Do let me know how it turns out if you try it:).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ei Gi Chakhum says:

        Yes for sure Beenish! Would love to try asap. ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aww thank you so much :)You are the best!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. sarahjmir says:

    Beenish this looks yum! I am going to try it! Would you know what fish here is close to surmai in flavor/texture?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sarah, do let me know how it turns out. Try getting any kind of mackerel. My daughter is in he states as well and she got the Spanish mackerel from whole foods.


    2. You just have to use any fish that has one big bone in the centre then all the other bones are slightly bigger and even if they get mixed up in the curry they will be easier to spot.


  5. mayasebl says:

    Look so yummy and am sure the smell is all over thr house, in love with anything contain curry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true , it does smell delicious:) thanks Maya:)


  6. heenie says:

    With every new post from you I find a thing or two I could relate to. My saas taught me desi cooking and making roti. This curry looks perfect and addition of fenugreek is pushing me to give it a try. I so wish you add “a jao all drooling people fish curry Tayari hay”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that we my posts are somehow relatable, give me such a good feeling. You should def try it, its so easy and hahaha all drooling people hahaha😂😂 un sab k liye b hai ..

      Liked by 1 person

  7. wow that looks so delicious… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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