“Fish is held out to be one of the greatest luxuries of the table and not only necessary, but even indispensable at all dinners where there is any pretence of excellence or fashion.” – Isabella Beeton

This tomato fish curry is a melange of flavours from South Asia: Spicy and sour with a hint of sweet, all in one steaming bowl to make your taste buds dance with joy. Unlike some other heavy and creamy South Asian curries, like Korma and Tikka Masala, , Pathia or Patia makes a light and low calorie meal. This Parsi dish is a fusion of Persian and Gujarati cuisines but has become a curry house staple because the well balanced flavours suit the global palate.

Like chicken, fish is another one of my favourites for quick and easy meals. And this one gets done in remarkably short time – within 30 minutes if we include the marinating time, and just 10 minutes of cooking time, all in one pot. You can also cook boneless chicken, prawns or any of your favourite vegetables in this curry.

This dish became a part of our family’s recipe repertoire when my mom learnt to cook it from an old neighbour from Karachi, and this became an instant hit in our house to brighten up many cold nights. The legacy of taste with comfort continues, as I often cook this recipe for my own family when I’m short of time.

I’ve used sole fish, but you can use any firm white fish or even prawns. Traditionally, sesame oil is used in this recipe, but I find it a bit too strong for my taste that’s why I use olive or sunflower oil instead.


6 fish fillets (sole, any firm white fish, or prawns)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 cloves garlic
5 dry red chillies
3 ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (zeera)
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons olive or ghee

This Is What You Do:

Marinate the fish fillets for 10-15 minutes in the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Grind together garlic, red chillies, tomatoes, cumin seeds, remaining salt and vinegar. Make a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan. Fry the onions till light brown.
Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the fish fillets. Cover the pan and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes or till the fish is tender.
If the curry gets too dry, add a little more water. Cook uncovered another two minutes.”

Taste for seasoning. Garnish with fresh coriander and red chilli flakes. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Serves 2

6 Replies to “Fish Pathia, Tomato Fish Curry”

  1. Dear Ms Maria
    Won’t tomatoes remain undercooked if we cook them for so less duration. Even chicken curry doesn’t taste good if tomatoes are undercooked
    Tarun Batrs

    1. Thank you for stopping by the blog, Tarun! All curry recipes are not cooked the same way and there is a huge variety of curries in the Indian Subcontinent alone. This particular one has a prominent tomato flavour no doubt but the tomatoes don’t taste raw. They are first cooked alone and then with fish – a total of 8-10 minutes. This is enough to cook the puree but if you still find it not to your taste,you can always taste and cook a some more.

    1. Hello Luke!
      I used normal red chillies but you can use kashmiri mirch if you want more vibrant colour and less heat. Though the colour of this dish turns out quite lively because of the tomatoes anyways.
      Thank you for stopping by the blog. Hope you will enjoy the recipe. 😊

    1. M Rafiq Qureshi,I’m delighted to know you guys enjoyed my recipe. I thank you and your lovely wife for trying out the recipe and taking time to comment 😊

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