Easy Fish Korma





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Mildly spiced this Indian fish korma recipe is made with the creaminess of cashewnuts and white poppy seed paste with aromatic whole spices. A perfect Indian dish for the whole family . 

Fish korma is a type of Indian fish curry that can range from being mild to spicy depending on the type of spices used.

Indian fish curries are made using chunky fish steaks as opposed to fillets.

This recipe involves few parts for you to make. Although easy you will need to make each component of the recipe one by one.

The cooking notes and step by step method below explain each part.


For making this Indian fish dish I used Rohu fish, which is a type of fish belonging to the carp family and found in South-Asian rivers.

They are firm, with bones and a mild sweet flavour.

For making this recipe you will need the following ingredients.

Fresh Ingredients 

Any white firm fish such tilapia, haddock, snapper, cod, flounder. The fish should ideally be cut into steaks but fillets do ok as well. 

1 onion 

an inch of ginger 

4 pods of garlic

1 tomato 

10- 15 cashewnuts  

3 tbsp of sunflower oil or coconut oil

salt to taste

Spices needed 

2 green cardamoms

5 black peppercorn

4 cloves

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 tsp ground turmeric

1- 2 tsp red chilli powder

Optional ingredient

3 tsp of poppy seeds. Read here to find out what are poppy seeds are how to use them for cooking. 

2 green chillies

You do not need to have poppy seeds and green chillies but they add extra flavour and creaminess to the korma sauce.

Alternative or Substitute Ingredients 

Use almond powder as an alternative to cashewnut paste or poppy paste.

For dairy free option use coconut milk instead of cream.


Prepare the separate components of the Fish Korma recipe into parts.


Marinade and fry fish (optional step, you do not need to fry fish if using boneless fish fillet)

Step 1 – Marinade fish with turmeric and salt and set aside for 10 minutes.

Step 2 – Shallow fry the fish in 3 tablespoons of oil and set aside.


Make cashew and poppy seeds paste ( read notes for alternatives to cashew paste).

Step 1 – Soak cashew nuts and poppy seeds in water for 15 minutes and make a smooth paste. Set aside.


Make the Onion Tomato Masala.

Step 1 – Heat oil and stir fry, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper corn in oil for 40 secs Then add onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes and fry for 5- 7 minutes until glossy.

Step 2 – Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, cool, add a little water and blend into a paste. Set aside.


Make the base sauce

Step 1 –  Heat oil in a pan and add a bay leaf. Add cashew paste and stir fry with water for a minute.

Step 2 – Add the onions paste and red chilli powder to the cashew and continue to fry for another 3 minutes, adding water from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 3 – Add water to the cashew, onion masala and bring to boil

Step 4 – Add the fish pieces to the boiling masala and cover and cook for 5- 8 mins until fish is cooked.

Step 5 – Serve hot with plain boiled rice.


Here are a few pointers and tips before you make this recipe.

  1. Break the recipe and the cooking process into different parts for ease:

Part 1 –  involves marinating the fish ( takes 1 minute)

Part 2 – pan-frying the fish (5 – 8 mins, depending on the type of fish. This is also an optional step, I do not suggest pan-frying if using fish fillets instead of steaks like I have in this recipe)

Part 3 – making the cashew paste ( 2 mins, you can also use powdered almond and soak in water and cream)

Part 4 – making the onion, tomato masala paste ( 8 mins to fry and blend into paste)

Part 5 – putting everything together to finish the curry. ( 10 mins)

2. You may already by this point give up on making this dish simply by looking at the parts above. Don’t be put off by it.

All the tasks above do not take much time, I have also written the approx time it will take to complete each task. In whole it will take you 30 – 40 mins to make this dish.

3. I suggest buying a firm white fish for this recipe. I have used an Indian carp (rohu) which I was very lucky to find in my local ethnic store.

Fish like tilapia or red snapper fillet goes very well to make this recipe.

4. It is difficult to grind cashew kernels and poppy seeds into paste unless you have a good blender like this Ninja Compact food processor that makes the job so much easier.

You can instead use powdered almond and mix it with 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp cream. 

5. Unlike most Indian dishes which require you to cook onions until it reaches golden brown in colour, you only need to saute the onions for 5 -7 mins until the raw smell goes away.

6. Always add 2 tbsp of water while frying cashew or any nut paste from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

7. Don’t bother with chopping onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic fine. You will be blending it, so rough but even cuts will do.


Korma, is a type of Indian dish which refers to a thick sauce generally served with either meat, chicken or vegetables.

There are different types of korma recipes with different heat and flavour content.

They can range from being mild to hot depending on the use of chillies in the recipe.

Most korma recipes is made with some type of thickening ingredient such as:

  • coconut milk,
  • cream
  • nut pastes – like cashew nuts, almonds, walnut etc s
  • seed pastes – like poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.

This thick consistency is achieved by making a korma paste,  which is made by grinding from a selection of thickening ingredients like cashew nuts, poppy seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds with or without whole spices and fresh aromatics like onions, ginger and garlic.

Primarily korma, refers to a milder variety of Indian dish with a creamy texture.

You can choose to increase the heat by adding chilli powder.

Although the recipe with many different steps may have confused you and made the dish look complicated, it actually is a good starter recipe as all you need to do is make each component and put it together in the end.


If you want to try an make an Indian dish at home that is mild and family friendly then  this fish korma recipe is a good dish to make.

Besides fish is a faster protein to cook than meat.

Korma style cooking reduces the sauteing process thus making it a relatively recipe to make if you are unsure of the Indian cooking pattern.

You can join my online cook along Indian session to learn the fail proof pattern of Indian cooking that makes Indian cooking easy.

If you want to cook an Indian weekday dish or perhaps are at the beginning stages of cooking Indian then this Fish Korma recipe is a good dish to start with.

Being more aromatic than spicy, any Korma dish is also my recommended choice of dish for any first-timer Indian restaurant visitor and also for children.

The sweet and creamy texture is palatable to most.

This Muglai stylechicken korma is another easy korma dish to try. 


Indian fish korma recipe pinterest image


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Any firm white fish - 6-8 pieces
Onion - 1, roughly chopped
Garlic - 3, roughly chopped
Ginger - 1 inch, roughly chopped
Tomatoes - 1 large, roughly chopped
Cashewnuts - 12 - 15 kernels
Salt to taste
Vegetable or sunflower oil - 4 tbsp
Green cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Black peppercorn - 7-9
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Bayleaf - 1
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 - 1 tsp or more if you like it spicy
*Ingredients Needed


Place the raw fish in a bowl and add salt and 1 tsp of turmeric to marinate the fish, keep aside for 10 mins.
Put the cashew nuts in a blender and make into paste with some water and set aside.
Add two tbsp on oil to a pan. Add the whole spices, that is 2 cardamom,4 cloves, cinnamon stick, 8 peppercorns and sizzle for 5- 10 secs.
Next, add onions and saute for about 2 minutes
Now add the ginger and garlic and saute for another 4 -5 minutes
Now add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes become pulpy.
Remove for heat and let it cool.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend into a paste. Add a little water if required. Set aside
In the same pan, heat 3 tbp of oil. Add the bay leaf to the oil.
Now add the cashew paste and stir fry for 2 minutes adding a little water from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the onion-tomato paste made earlier, 1 tsp chilli powder, salt and add it to the cashew paste.
Continue to fry for another 2 minutes adding water to prevent the mixture from sticking and burning.
Add 1 cup warm water to the pan and bring to boil.
Once the sauce comes to a boil add the fish pieces, cover and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Remove from heat and serve hot with plain boiled rice.