Fish Makhani - Fish in Creamy Gravy

Fish Makhani
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  • 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 people
Ratings (6)

Fish Makhani is just what its name suggests - fish in a delicious, thick, slightly tangy and very creamy sauce! You can make Fish Makani with just about any fish but it tastes best with a fish that has firm, white flesh and a mild taste. You can also substitute the fish with prawns. In India, lots of people are vegetarians but still eat fish. This is the perfect dish for them! Serve Fish Makhani on a bed of plain boiled, long grained rice Like Basmati. Better still, team it with Kaali Daal, Naan and a salad for a full and very fulfilling meal!

What You'll Need

  • 1 kg fish fillets (any fish with firm white flesh) skin removed, cut into 2' pieces
  • First marinate the fish in: Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Then add: 6 cloves
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns
  • 1-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 almonds
  • Seeds from 3 to 4 pods of cardamom
  • 1 cup fresh yogurt (must not be sour)
  • For the gravy: 3 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 tsps garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 400g/ 14-ounce of chopped tomatoes, half of them ground into a smooth paste in a food processor, the other half left whole
  • 1/2 litre fish stock
  • 2 tbsps kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tbsps unmelted, soft butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

How to Make It

  1. Mix the fish, lime juice, salt and red chilli powder in a large, non-metallic bowl. Cover and allow to marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium heat and gently roast (stirring frequently) the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and almonds till they darken slightly. Cool and add the cardamom seeds. Now grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.
  3. Mix the yogurt, above whole spice powder (from previous step), coriander, cumin and turmeric powders together and add them to the fish. Allow to marinate for another hour.
  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan on medium heat. When hot, add the onions. Fry till a pale golden brown in color and then add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a minute.
  2. Add only the fish from the fish-spice mix and fry till sealed (fish will turn opaque and the flesh will go from pink to whitish in color). Stir very gently.
  3. Now add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes, fish stock, kasuri methi and remaining part of the yogurt-spice mix to the fish.
  4. Cook till the fish is tender and the gravy is reduced to half its original volume. Stir very gently every now and then to avoid breaking the fish up.
  5. Melt the butter in another small pan and then pour it over the fish. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Naan, Kaali Daal and a salad.

Tip: For an authentic and traditional cooked-over-the-coals flavour: When the fish is cooked, make a small bowl shape with aluminum foil and place it on top of the curry ('floating' on it). Heat a briquette of charcoal on an open flame till red hot and gently put the charcoal in to the aluminum foil bowl. Cover the dish immediately. Remove the cover just before serving, discard the foil bowl and charcoal and serve. The curry will be infused with a lovely smokey flavor!