Life. Love. Food

Garlic and Lemon Fish Curry

I really love fish. I can have it everyday for the rest of my days on earth. Nothing tastes more East African, more Kenyan or more home than some good old fish curry. I have noticed that in the western culinary world, it is almost considered a sacrilege to serve fish with skin soaked in soup, curry or anything else. But for me, I believe there are more than one ways of preparing a meal. Just because a certain part of the world thinks your way is wrong, that will not make your dish any less tasty . Besides, rules were made to be broken. 🙂

The past fish dishes such as this one and this one, I cooked with just fish fillet. However, not every Kenyan can access fillet too often due to its price and scarcity. Today I used a whole, unfilleted fish and I know every single one of you can find this :). This recipe is one you  *MUST* try. Believe me, you will be blown away!

garlic and lemon fish curry



garlic and lemon fish curry ingredients_kaluhiskitchen

1 whole fish

2 large onions, diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

5 grated tomatoes

1/2 a tablespoon of ground ginger or 1/2 thumbsize of fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of royco all-spice mix

2 tablespoons of fish masala

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (Optional)

2 lemons, freshly squeezed

2 dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon of soy sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Chilli (optional)



The ingredients are many, but you can modify this recipe to suit what you like. The optional ingredients are not mandatory, and the recipe can do without them. But the rest are crucial to the final outcome of the dish.




In a sufuria with your heated vegetable oil, put your onions and garlic. To this add your fish masala, ground ginger and black pepper. Let this saute until the onions are soft.

onions and bell pepper and fish masala sautee

Add your tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves and soy sauce, royco and mix this all up. If you opted to have some chilli, add them at this point. Cover with a lid and allow this to simmer for  about 5-7 minutes.

tomato sauce with fish masala

As that is happening, gently pour your freshly squeezed lemon juice over your fish.  This allows the fish to fully absorb the tangy flavor before adding them to the tomato sauce that’s simmering. (The picture for this step was horrific, I could not make it look better so I just left it out. But just visualize and you have it 🙂 ). I used tilapia fish for this dish.

After this, add your apple cider vinegar to the reduced tomatoes and discard the bay leaves. Mix it all up then add your lemon juice soaked fish gently. Do not mix the fish into the tomatoes, but instead put them in the sufuria and put the tomato soup over the fish. This will prevent your fish from disintegrating. Cover your fish and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat so that all the flavors marry.

After this garnish with some fresh coriander leaves and serve. 🙂

fish curry_kenyan food_kaluhiskitchen

I know this is all you want. Thank God that this is really easy to make.

Kenyan Food_fishcurry with garlic and lemon

P.S: If you want to know where I got a certain ingredient, feel free to ask, and I will even tell you the exact supermarket I got it from.

Cheers to good food,

-Kaluhi <3

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  1. Kenyandaktari

    Omgosh i can’t wait to try this out! Yummmmm

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Hey Cindi,
      I am telling you from experience this fish is the bomb!!!!!! You will fantasize about it for months on end.

  2. Samuel

    We had the fish defrosted, and a yearning for curry, lemon and garlic. I read your recipe to my wife while she cooked this dish in our kitchen near Jerusalem. She didn’t use tomato paste, but we had Tilapia (St. Peter’s fish) and enjoyed the magical symphony of curry, lemon and garlic. It was absolutely delicious! Thank you and Shalom!

    • Kaluhi's_Kitchen

      Halo Samuel!
      You have no idea how much happiness your feedback has given me! I trully appreciate. I am happy when my recipes make you and your family happy 🙂 🙂 . Cheers to many more!

  3. zuhura

    Hi Kaluhi,

    Just wondering did you first fry the fish before putting it in? I dnt seem to see the frying part on the recipe but the pic looks like its fried..kindly advise..

    thank u always

    • kaluhiskitchen

      It was fried. That is how it is bought in Kenya especially Nairobi, most of the time.

  4. star_born stubborn

    for better results marinate your fish with spices of your choice…make a paste then marinate it then deep fry yourself ….trust me its bliss

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you!! I will def try that out! :))

  5. Barrack Brian

    is the fish in this dish already deep fried? great job BTW

    • Barrack Brian

      got my answer from the comments thanks

  6. Liz

    When you say ‘grated tomatoes’ do you actually grate tomatoes with a grater?

    • kaluhiskitchen


      • Liz

        I tried the recipe and added coconut milk. It was delicious!

        • kaluhiskitchen

          Awesome!! Thrilled that you enjoyed it <3 <3

          • Cancy

            So if I have the cooking cream when will I add it there?

          • kaluhiskitchen

            With the tomatoes

  7. Shakila

    This is a must try …it looks so so delicious .. thanks dear

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