Surmai Special

Seafood is the reason that I just can’t turn myself into vegetarian. This one post is dedicated to one of the expensive yet tasty fishes, surmai aka indo-pacific king mackerel.

At my home, while growing up, we ate selective kind of fishes and shellfishes, and god knows for what reason. Whenever I used to ask my Aai or baba in fish market pointing out other variety of seafood “Why don’t we eat that fish?”, the answer has always been vague like. “Yeah, we don’t eat that!” Huhhh, this situation is still the same. But being a staunch seafood lover, I never missed an opportunity to eat different types of seafood at my aunt’s place or neighbor’s place or any feast I attend. So I remember eating this fish very first time at my Aunt’s place. I never got many opportunities to have it mostly for two reasons. One is, its super expensive and the other is its so tasty but so fleshy that if you hog it on once then you are done for a month of seafood. This is the reason I am going to share two recipes at a time for this fish, one is a curry and another is a fried one.


  • 1 lb fish, cut into pieces and thoroughly washed
  • ½ cup roasted dry coconut
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3-4 green chilies, deseeded
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon turmeric (divided in two parts)
  • 3 tablespoon red chili powder (divided in two parts)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 10-12 tablespoon semolina
  • 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate
  • Salt as per taste


  • The very first thing is to sort the fish pieces for curry and for frying. We have to marinate pieces, which we are supposed to fry first and keep it aside. The more they are left marinated, the more the flavor will be. So mix one tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, one tablespoon of turmeric, lemon juice and one and half tablespoons of red chili powder together. Marinate the pieces in this mixture and keep aside.
  • To start with curry, ground roasted coconut, garlic cloves, ginger, chilies and cilantro together. Add water as required. This paste should not be very thin but should be fine in texture. So add water accordingly in portions while grinding.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in skillet. Add this paste to oil and sauté till oil starts oozing out. Then add remaining turmeric, chili powder to it and mix it well. Add fish pieces, which were kept aside to add in curry. Make sure that all pieces are well coated in the mixture. Add half cup of water and salt. Also, you can add water to adjust curry consistency as per your requirement. I always prefer it on thick side. Do not mix this curry using ladle or spoon after adding water, it might break fish pieces. Instead put lid on and swirl the whole skillet by holding in your hands.
  • Once water starts boiling, (approx. after 6-7 minutes), add tamarind concentrate and again use same method of swirling to mix it well. Keep cooking on medium flame for 3-5 minutes more.
  • Now heat oil in a separate pan to fry fish. Cover the marinated fish pieces in semolina. Shallow fry them in the pan on both sides, two minutes on each side.
  • Serve hot curry with steamed rice and fried fish on the side.


NOTE: You can make tamarind concentrate at home too. Before preparing the curry, soak ½ tablespoon of tamarind in a tablespoon of warm water. When adding tamarind concentrate, squeeze the tamarind in same water, discard the fibers and use that water as tamarind concentrate.

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