Sri Lanka Fish Curry (including Thermomix Method)

We were introduced to the amazing flavours of Sri Lankan* cuisine years ago while living in Darwin, and our love affair with both its cuisine & culture began.

The Spice Island’s trinity of flavours – cinnamon, cardamom & cloves – lay the base for many of its dishes. What I love about this recipe is the Sri Lankan Curry Sauce, with all of its wonderfully spiced flavours, can be prepared in advance and then when you wanted to serve, you simply add your fish fillets to the sauce and poach them (or steam in the Varoma) until cooked through.

We hope you’ll enjoy it!!

*If you want to explore more of Sri Lanka’s Cuisine & Culture, we are currently accepting Expressions of Interest on those interested in joining us on our next Small Group “Discover Sri Lanka” – Cuisine & Culture Experience in March 2020. Please email us at for further details.


(Serves 6)

40ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

3 cardamon pods and 4 cloves, bruised together

1 large onion, sliced

1 green chilli, sliced

1 sprig curry leaves, stalk removed

1 stick cinnamon (or cassia bark in TM)

20g (1 tbsp) ginger, finely chopped (TM peeled)

2 tbsp Sri Lankan Curry Paste*

1 tsp chilli powder, or to taste

400ml coconut cream or coconut milk

20ml (1 tbsp) palm sugar (or brown sugar)

20g (1 tbsp) tamarind puree, seedless

6-8 x 200g skinless, boneless fish fillets (TM: use enough fillets to not overcrowd Varoma)

3 baby eggplant, sliced (optional) (TM: do not use)

1 cup peas, frozen & defrosted (optional)

juice of 1 lime

Coriander leaves, lime wedges and sliced chilli to garnish

*Commercial Sri Lanka Pastes can be found in most Indian/Sub Continent specialty food stores or online. I use a the Chicken Curry Paste by “Larich”, a Sri Lankan brand which also works for fish and other meats.


Conventional Method

  1. Heat oil in a large frypan, preferably large enough to accommodate fish.
  2. Add cloves and cardamom and cook for about 30 seconds, until aromatic.
  3. Add onions, chilli, ginger, curry leaves and cinnamon and cook gently until onions are soft, golden and the mixture is fragrant.
  4. Add curry paste and chilli powder and stir-fry for about 1 to 2 minutes until combined and aromatic, and oils start to be released from the paste.
  5. Add the coconut cream (or coconut milk) and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Season with fish sauce, sugar and tamarind puree and add sliced eggplants. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, until eggplant starts to soften. (MAKE AHEAD TIP: Sauce can be prepared to this point, then reheated later with the addition of fish and peas).
  6. Add fish, in a single layer and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Gently turn fillets over, add peas and continue to simmer, covered, for 5 minutes until fillets are cooked (use a fork to see that they flake gently at the thickest part of the fillet).
  7. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
  8. Serve with steamed Basmati Rice.

Thermomix Method

  1. Add ginger to TM bowl and chop 3 sec | SP5. Scrpae down sides and add oil, cardamom and cloves. Saute until aromatic: 5 min |120C | SP2 | MC Off (TM31: 5 min | Varoma | SP2 | MC Off).
  2. Add sliced onions & chilli, curry leaves and cinnamon stick (I prefer to use Cassia Bark in the TM as it is less likely to split apart) and continue to salute 10min | 120C | SP2 | MC Off (TM 31: 10min | Varoma | SP2 | MC Off).
  3. Add curry paste and chilli powder and sauce 5 min | 100C | SP2 | MC Off.
  4. Add coconut cream or coconut milk to TM bowl. Place fish fillets into top & bottom of Varoma tray, ensuring that bottom holes are not totally covered, and place onto TM. Steam 15 min | Varoma | SP2 or until fish fillets are almost cooked through. 
  5. Add peas, fish sauce, sugar and tamarind puree into TM bowl and continue to cook 5 min | 100C | SP2.
  6. To serve, place cooked fillets onto a serving platter and pour over Sri Lankan curry sauce from TM bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves, sliced chillies and lime wedges. Serve with steamed Basmati Rice.