This wonderful Sri Lankan fish curry is a sensation of flavour, colour and texture. Quick to prepare, Thoramalu is a perfect contender for midweek curry if you’re not up for a long wait!

Thoramalu – Sri Lankan Fish Curryvisit pinterest @cookeatblog

The great thing about fish curries, aside their taste, is the cooking time involved. Thoramalu, a Sri Lankan fish curry is so quick to prepare and packed full of spiced flavour and fragrance. Sometimes all I want is a curry on my plate, no messing around. I don't mind waiting for food, but there are times when I WILL NOT wait for food - that's when I make fish curry.

Creating the Thoramalu Curry Powder

This recipe for Thoramalu, a traditional Sri Lankan dish, uses a special spice mix - toasted and blended into a powder. This curry powder becomes the backbone of the dish, giving it its unique flavour. To help you save time in the future, you should make this spice mix when you DO have time, then silly store it in an airtight container until you need it. You can keep it for months this way! This will mean when it comes time to get this curry done in a hurry, you'll have the whole thing ready in 20 minutes! That's pretty much the same time it'll take for the rice to cook!

South Indian & Sri Lankan Flavours

Like a lot of South Indian and Sri Lankan curries the use of coconut milk gives a creamy, silky texture which sits in perfect harmony with the fish. Coconut milk has the ability to enriched any sauce, but also dampen down chilli kick to create a milder, less in-your-face heat - this is the secret of this wonderful mild and fragrant coconut fish curry.

Thoramalu - Sri Lankan Fish Curry

What type of fish to use for Thoramalu

I mostly always go for a fish like snapper, cod or tilapia - something that will hold its shape in the sauce. I've also created this dish using mackeral with great results and a few times with shrimp, again with success. It's a pretty versatile sauce - so use whatever you think will work.

Serving Suggestions

I'll usually serve this curry with a simple bowl of Basmati rice. Alternatively, because this is a thin curry sauce, it works magnificently as a kind of soup, poured over a bowl of freshly cooked vermicelli rice noodles. Give this a try - it's a wonderful alternative way to eat this curry.

More Sri Lankan & South Indian suggestions

If you're enjoying the cuisine from the southern side of the Indian Sub Continent then you should most definitely try my Sri Lankan Green Masala Shrimp, and learn how I tricked the recipe out of its creator! You could also try my Jheenga Palak (Shrimp & Spinach Curry) or the marvellous Goan Chicken Vindaloo for a chilli fix! Maybe you're more in the mood for a vegan or vegetarian curry? Then try my Rajma - Kidney Bean Curry, my Parippu - Keralan Style Dal Curry or the tasty Eggplant & Potato Curry, Aloo Baingan? Whatever you decide, be sure to try this amazing Thoramalu first, and let me know if you enjoyed!

How to make my Thoramalu - Sri Lankan Fish Curry

Thoramalu - Sri Lankan Fish Curry

Thoramalu - Sri Lankan Fish Curry

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Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 454


For the Curry Powder

For the Curry

  • 1.5 lb white fish fillets (skinned & deboned and cut into large chunks)
  • 1 can coconut milk (14oz/400ml)
  • 3 fresh chillies (slit lengthways)
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk white part only (bruised at end with a rolling pin)
  • 1 small onion (very finely chopped)
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp of the spice powder above
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric


  • Fresh cilantro/coriander
  • Fresh tomato


For the curry powder

  • In a small frying pan dry fry the rice for 30-40 seconds till it browns slightly remove then fry the coconut until lightly browned then finally dry fry the fenugreek, cumin and fennel for 30 seconds.
    Add to a spice grinder or pestle & mortar and grind into a fine powder.
    Stir in the ground turmeric and set aside.

For the curry

  • Pour the coconut milk and 1 cup of water into a saucepan along with everything but the fish. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes to reduce a little
    Gently slide in the fish and shake the pan to cover with sauce. Don't stir as you'll break the fish up. Simmer for 5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Shake the pan from time to time to move the fish about.
    Remove from the heat.
  • Sprinkle over the cilantro/coriander and tomato and serve with lots of fluffy basmati rice.


Nutrition Facts
Thoramalu - Sri Lankan Fish Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 454 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 21g131%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 1281mg56%
Potassium 1154mg33%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 966IU19%
Vitamin C 111mg135%
Calcium 126mg13%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course | Main Course
Cuisine | Indian, Sri Lankan
Keyword | Curry, Fish, Seafood

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