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Overhead view of fish head curry in a bowl with cilantro and lime wedges.

Fish Head Curry

Savory, spicy and tangy, this Fish Head Curry is a Malaysian inspired one pot meal that takes just 40 minutes from start to finish!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Malaysian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 182kcal



  • Rinse the fish head thoroughly then set aside.
  • Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass with the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes, until softened and browning.
  • Add the remaining spices, fish sauce, tamarind, sambal, mirin, salt and curry leaves. Cook 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the spices.
  • Add the tomato and eggplant and stir to coat in the spices.
  • Add the fish head and water and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and simmer another 10 minutes, 5 covered and 5 uncovered.
  • Adjust salt to taste, if needed, and serve over rice with fresh cilantro, limes and extra sambal, if desired.


  1. Make sure your fish head is cleaned and rinsed well.
  2. If you can’t find fish heads, you can still make this curry with fish fillets or pieces. The flavor will be a little different, but it will still be delicious.
  3. For a thick and creamy curry, I recommend using full fat coconut milk or even coconut cream. Avoid light coconut milk as it can make the curry too thin.
  4. This recipe includes eggplant and tomatoes, but you can add other veggies. Just make sure they cook at the same rate as these veggies.
  5. For the best flavor, make sure your spices are fresh. I also highly recommend toasting and grinding whole spices. 
  6. When toasting the spices, keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  7. Be careful not to overcook the curry as the fish may become tough and the veggies will get mushy.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 2508mg | Potassium: 614mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 744IU | Vitamin C: 90mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg