Fish Kofta Curry
65 Minutes

Fish Kofta Curry

One of the best ways to use up leftover roasted, baked, or grilled fish is to make fish cakes or fish koftas. Then pour an aromatic curry on top, cook some rice and you have dinner. Here is a curry inspired by the coastal flavors of Sri Lanka with lemongrass, kari leaves and coconut.
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Cook Time

65 Minutes



Step 1
To make the koftas, in a medium sized bowl, flake the fish. Combine with onions, serrano, rice flour, egg, and sea salt.
Step 2
Discard the bottom 3 inches of cilantro stems and mince the remaining stems and leaves. Add to the kofta mix. Form 1-inch balls – you should end up with roughly 12 to 15 koftas. Refrigerate until ready to fry.
Step 3
When ready to fry, in a deep-frying pan or wok, warm the frying oil to 325°F or until it appears hot. Test out a little piece from the kofta to make sure the oil is hot. Drop the koftas, 5 to 6 at a time so they don’t crowd too much and fry until golden brown.
Step 4
To make the curry, in a thick-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the coconut oil and pop the mustard seeds. Immediately add the kari leaves and then the tomatoes. Fry the tomatoes for 3 to 4 minutes then add the chile, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and salt. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the fat surfaces on the edges of the masala. If using fresh tomato, this may take a little longer as the tomato must soften.
Step 5
Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger and one cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the curry rest for 20 to 30 minutes at least.
Step 6
When ready to serve, pour hot curry over the fish koftas, garnish with herbs and serve immediately.


1-pound cooked fish, boneless and skinless

1 cup minced onions or scallions

1 serrano, minced

1/2 cup rice flour

1 egg

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 bunch cilantro

2 cups of frying oil like rice bran or peanut


4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

15 to 20 kari leaves, minced

2 cups fresh minced or 1 cup canned tomatoes

1 teaspoon red chile powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds

1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 14-oz can coconut milk

2 tablespoons minced lemongrass

1 tablespoon ginger puree

Cilantro or other herb sprigs for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • The koftas are best made with pre-cooked cold fish but they can also be made with canned fish – just make sure to drain the fish completely.
  • The koftas can be pre-fried and reheated in a 350°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • You can replace the rice flour with bread crumbs or all-purpose flour.
65 Minutes

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