Quick & Easy Mackerel Curry

If you are tired of making your canned fish into salads or sandwiches, this is a perfect way to give it a new taste and best of all it is ready in less than 30 minutes. In Sri Lanka, canned mackerel is confusingly called ‘salmon’ for some reason (which I still don’t know why!) so in the Island, this is salmon curry.

This recipe takes only a few staples and cooks into a spicy, thick, aromatic curry rich in tomato and spices which goes perfectly well with steamed rice, flatbread (roti), stringhoppers or even with a piece of bread. We, Sri Lankans, love to dip bread in curries and anyone in the Island will tell you how good it is to dip especially a roast paan in a curry like this! I made this particular curry to go along with milk-rice.

It is best to use the mackerel in oil or brine, as opposed to the ones in tomato sauce.


400g mackerel tin
1 red onion sliced
4 – 6 fresh green chillies split in half
2-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp mustard seeds
5-inch pandan leave
10-12 curry leaves
1 tbsp meat curry powder
1tbsp Sri Lankan curry powder
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2-inch lemongrass stalk bruised
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 large tomato sliced into thick slices
1 tsp tomato puree
½ thick coconut cream
½ water or thin coconut milk
Salt to taste


  • Open the can and drain the brine/ oil. Split the mackerel pieces from the middle and debone them. Set them aside.
  • Set a medium saucepan on a high heat for a couple of seconds. When hot, add the oil and reduce the heat to medium. Then add mustard seeds, onions, fresh chillies, cinnamon stick, pandan leaves, curry leaves and ginger-garlic paste. Fry until the onions start to colour.
  • Add chilli powder, meat curry powder, Sri Lankan curry powder and turmeric. Fry the spices until they start to release the aroma. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add water or thin coconut milk followed by the tomato puree. Let the pot come to the boil and let simmer for 6-7 minutes until you see the oil is separated.
  • Finally add the mackerel pieces and tomato slices. Let it sit on the cooktop on low heat for a couple of minutes.
    Serve with your favourite carb dish as suggested above and enjoy!

One thought on “Quick & Easy Mackerel Curry

  1. Salmon is fish
    Sardin also a name of fish
    Jack mackerel
    All of above types are canning
    Most of them spoil within a short period other than other 🎏

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