Old School Kokni Fish Curry

If you’re missing the flavours of your childhood, like coming home from school with simple dishes waiting for you to tuck into – Dhal and rice, Khurri Kitchri or simple Fish Curry with Methi Rice, then this is the post for you. Fuel that nostalgia with a little old school cooking.

This is my family recipe for a simple fish curry. You can add any fish you like. We often used snoek as it was abundant in the Cape. But any firm white fish will work. And because of the region we come from in India coconut is abundant in our cooking, so this curry uses dessicated coconut as well. The Methi (Fenugreek) seeds in the rice has a slight bitter hint which works well with the spicy curry. Methi also has lots of health benefits and is often added to foods for those convalescing or mothers nursing.

Old School Kokni Fish Curry

400g Firm white fish
1/4 onion sliced finely
2 Tbsp desicated coconut
1/2 head of garlic peeled
1 medium tomato
1 tsp ground jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp ground dhanya (coriander)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 green chilli slit in half
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 sprig of curry leaves lightly crushed in your hand
handful of fresh dhanya (coriander) chopped (optional)

Saute the onion on medium heat in about 3 Tbsp oil till soft and translucent.
In a blender, liquidise all the ingredients with about 1/2 cup of water, except fish, green chilli, salt and curry leaves, till very fine.
Add to onions and allow to come to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the curry leaves, green chilli, salt and fish and simmer another 10-15 minutes till the fish is firm and cooked though.
Add the fresh dhanya just before serving.
Serve with methi rice.

Methi Rice

2 cups plain white rice, Jasmine or Bimri type (Not parboiled) rinsed 3 times
1/4 onion sliced finely
1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
2 tsp salt
2 whole cardomom pods cracked
1 or 2 pieces cinnamon

Saute the onion in 1 Tbsp ghee or 2 Tbsp oil with the cardamom and cinnamon till onion is just starting to brown.
Add the rice, salt and methi seeds and 4 cups water.
Bring to boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes uncovered.
Turn heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes covered.
Turn heat to very low and steam for 10 minutes covered.
Turn off heat and leave covered to stay hot.


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  • My late husband would tell me stories exactly as you have so vividly described. Coming home from school and the smell of fish curry escaping through the door. It was his Father’s staple dish … every day. And he missed it so much. He taught me how to make it but since he’s passed, I haven’t made it again.
    Next week it will be 10 years since his passing and it’s like I read your post and all I though of was him. So…looks like I’m going to be cooking a delicious Fish Curry in his memory … THANK YOU <3

    • What a lovely comment to read. I’m so glad that this humble recipe inspired you to cook this dish again in your husband’s memory. Also, I’m so sorry for your loss. May the Almighty always make it easy on you and may your husband be dwelling in jannah and smile at the aroma of your fish curry.