Spicy fish (Iswana sukke)

V’s grand mother is a very enthusiastic cook. It amazes me to see her interested in cooking even at an age of 85+. Everytime I call her, I ask for V’s favorite recipes. V has loads of childhood memories associated with her, she knows his likes and dislikes.

Few days ago when I had found Spanish mackerel here, she told me to make this dish. She makes this amazing Iswana sukke – king fish in a spicy coconut paste. When I told her I don’t have coconut, she asked me to follow this recipe. It came out very delicious.

Coconut oil gives it a very nice aroma. You can leave it out if you don’t like it, but according to me coconut oil takes this simple dish to a whole new level.

This time I got the fish nicely cut by the Whole foods. So this dish got ready literally in minutes.

1 lb (0.45kg) king fish(seer fish/ surmai/ Iswan)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tea spns chilli powder
1/2 tea spn tamarind extract
1 tea spn coriander seeds
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn chopped ginger
Coconut oil

Heat a little oil and fry coriander seeds. Powder them. (Ready made coriander powder gives a very different taste, so make it at home).
Heat coconut oil and add onions, ginger. Fry till the onions turn translucent.
Now add fish, tamarind, salt, coriander powder, chilli powder, 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook till fish is done.
While serving, drizzle some coconut oil on top.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20mins

26 thoughts on “Spicy fish (Iswana sukke)”

  1. Hi,

    Looks yummy and simple. I love king fish. Did u get this fish fresh ( if yes which store) or u used frozen king fish?

    Shilpa: Fresh from Whole Foods(called Spanish Meckerel here).

  2. just love fish…this is looks so yummy..!!!!!!!! cant wait to try this at home..please write some more innovative fish recipies….

  3. Hi Shilpa,

    I am from Sirsi and I so love your recipes..Looking at the picture makes me so hungry that I start pestering mom to make them.. GSBs have started drifting from their food to diff cuisines now and your blog provides a reminder at the right time to all those wanderers that our food is the best..

  4. My mouth is watering to see this dish…. 😉
    I gonna try this dish(Fish dish)for the first time.
    I don’t know which fish is good & fresh…How to clean the fish…will u help me?

  5. I agree, adding coconut oil gives an entirely different taste and aroma! the best combo would be if you add some curry leaves when you add coconut oil in the end!

  6. Hi Shilpa,

    Is Spanish Mackerel the Iswan or Surmai? I thought Mackerel was Bangde…


    Shilpa: I don’t know if they are same. But the Spanish Meckerel that we get here looks and tastes more like Iswan/Surmai. Bangade has some other name and we don’t get it frequently here (I have seen it once in a Chinese store)

  7. Usually i make the fish gravey in the same style. Only i add Chopped garlic, green chilley, little tomoto, 1tsp cumin powder and black pepper pwder before adding the fish. Also instead of coriender powder, we use Madras curry powder.
    Its a traditinal south-indian curry which i learned from a chennai based family.

  8. Hi Shilpa.

    I get fish from 99 Ranch. I have seen Norwegian Mackerel and Indian Mackerel & I am sure Mackerel is Bangde. However, I will definitely try Spanish Mackerel.

    Also please let me know what are other fishes you use for goan curries. I have been using Salmon & Pomfret till now.

    Thanks. Amit

    Shilpa: I have used Tilapia and Cat fish for Konkani curries.

  9. I just tried this recipe with fresh Spanish Mackerel and it just turned out to be fantastic! Even my 2 yr old toddler enjoyed the fish curry!

  10. Hi Shilpa,

    I recently got married 4 months back. Nill cooking skills. I am from Mangalore and my husband is from Bhatkal. Our food habits are not very similar eventhough both are GSB’s. Eversince, I have started taking down recipes from your website and cooking daily, my husband is eating well and praises me daily. Thank you so much.. He feels more at home and does not miss his mom’s cooking much,

  11. Hi Shilpa,

    All this time I avoided looking at this recipe thinking that “iswan” is a kind of exotic fish! Now I realise, its surmai…:):) Mangalore side, this is caleed “VisoNu”….this is a new recipe for me, will give it a try!

  12. Quick question, Shilpa: You mentioned in the recipe that your grandmother used coconut. You opted out of it as yo didn’t have any but used coconut oil, instead. In her original recipe, does she grind fresh coconut with the spices? What is the original recipe with the coconut in it??

    I’m from Goa but I live in Minneapolis. What I do for my coconut curries is mix a can of coconut milk (Thai Kitchen brand – thick) with dry desiccated coconut and grind it with the masalas.

    Sometimes, I do find ‘fresh’ grated coconut in the frozen section of the Chinese store but still prefer my version as the curry comes out thicker.

    I would love it if you could share your grandmother’s original coconut recipe.

    1. Grind coconut with fried coriander seeds and red chillies. Then add the paste with fish. Frozen coconut is available in Indian stores here. These days I get fresh coconut and grate it

  13. sudhakar shenoy

    spenish mackerl or indian meckerel are same as razu in konkani and bangude in tulu.surmai or essonu in konkani is king fish in english

  14. Hi shilpa .., Phannaupkari is the name in mangalore we GSBs use for this fish dish. I never knew we could prepare viswana phannaupkari, though we use sungat, pedvo, raaju for this. Thanks a lot. Nandini

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