Fish head curry

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Fish head curry
Indian version of fish head curry
Place of originSingapore
Region or stateSingapore, Malaysia
Created byIndian Singaporeans
Main ingredientsRed snapper fish heads, vegetables (okra, eggplants)
Peranakan version of fish head curry

Fish head curry is a dish in Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine[1][2] with Indian and Chinese origins.[3] The head of a red snapper is semi-stewed in a Kerala-style curry with assorted vegetables such as okra and eggplants. It is usually served with either rice or bread, or as a shared dish.


It is believed that the dish originated in Singapore, when an Indian chef named M.J. Gomez from Kerala invented the dish so that his South Indian-style food would be more appealing to his clientele in Singapore. Although fish head was not considered a delicacy in his place of origin, his Chinese customers considered fish head a special delicacy, so he had the idea of cooking fish head in curry.[4]

Today, restaurants of not only Indian, but Malay, Chinese and Peranakan associations serve variations of this dish. Fish head curry has become a dish of relative popularity amongst Malaysians and Singaporeans and tourists there, although it is generally not categorised as cheap hawker fare. A typical fish head curry served in a claypot costs between $10-20 and some of the best can be found in hawker centres and neighbourhood food stalls.[citation needed]


Tamarind (asam) juice is frequently added to the gravy to give it a sweet-sour taste (see asam fish); this variety of fish head curry normally has a thinner, orange gravy. Additionally, a certain amount of coconut milk is often used in the curry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1001 Foods To Die For. Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2007. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-7407-7043-2. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Singapore Hawker Classics Unveiled: Decoding 25 Favourite Dishes. Marshall Cavendish. 2015. p. 69. ISBN 978-981-4677-86-8. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "Fish head curry (gulai kepala ikan)". SBS.
  4. ^ "The man behind fish head curry". The Straits Times. 10 December 2017.