Fish curry with aubergines

Fish curry with aubergines

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  • 4
  • Easy
  • Pescatarian


  • 3 T corn or peanut oil
  • 6 small brinjals with deep crosses cut on the ends farthest from the stems
  • 1/2 t whole fenugreek seeds
  • 140 g onions, very finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, grated
  • 1 1/2 t Durban Red Spice Mixture (see note below)
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 T thick tamarind paste or lemon juice
  • 450 g sea bass fillets (unskinned), cut into 5cm pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 - 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 - 4 fresh, hot green and red bird’s-eye chillies
  • 2 T fresh coriander, chopped

Cooking Instructions

Pour the oil into a large, lidded pan and set over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the aubergines and stir them until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Reduce the heat to medium and put in the fenugreek seeds. A second later, add the onions. Stir and fry until they are golden brown. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds.

Put in the tomato, 250ml water, the Red Spice Mixture, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer on a very low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the aubergines, tamarind, another 250ml water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and return to a simmer.

Cover and cook on a very low heat for 20 minutes or until the aubergines are soft. Meanwhile, dust the fish fillets lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.

Slip them into the pan in a single layer and baste them with the sauce. Cover the pan and cook on a very low heat for 5 – 10 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.

Crush the curry leaves and throw them in. Add the chilles and fresh coriander just before serving.

Cook's note: Click here for the recipe for Durban red spice mixture

TASTE's take

This recipe comes from Fenton House, a Durban “pub” that specialises in music, as well as tripe and bean curry, fish roe curry, trotters curry and this – fish curry with aubergines

Discover more curry recipes here

Phillippa Cheifitz Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz
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Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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    Natalie Meyer
    June 1, 2023

    The link to the Durban Red Spice Mixture doesn’t work – what to do?

    1. Annzra Denita
      June 2, 2023

      Hi there – this recipe is from 2013 and it appears the link to the Durban Spice Mixture has expired. Our apologies for this, we have removed that link now. – Annzra Denita Naidoo, Online Editor