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Burmese fish curry


Burmese Fish Curry (Mohinga)

Here's a traditional and authentic recipe for Burmese Fish Curry (Mohinga). It tastes like it is halfway between an Indian and Thai curry, which is exactly where Myanmar (Burma) is geographically. I first tasted it in Thailand in a restaurant with Burmese staff, many escaping the conflict that blights this amazing country.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Burmese, Myanmar
Servings 4 people


For the Fish Stock:

  • 500 g fish bones or fish heads such as catfish or any freshwater fish
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 large onion (quartered)
  • 2 inch root ginger (sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 3 stalks lemongrass (smashed)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • - 4-5 dried red chilies soaked in hot water and deseeded

For curry paste:

  • 3 shallots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 4 whole dried red chillies (soaked in water)
  • 1 inch root ginger (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp fermented shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

For the Fish Curry:

  • 500 g firm white fish fillets (such as catfish or tilapia, cut into chunks)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 tomatoes (quartered)
  • 5 coriander root/stem (cut into 3 cm lengths)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass (white parts only, bruised)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan or rice flour)
  • salt (to taste)
  • cooked rice noodles or rice vermicelli (for serving)


  • 1 sliced ard-boiled egg (garnish)
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves (garnish)
  • 2 lime wedges (garnish)


Prepare the Fish Stock:

  • In a large pot, combine the fish bones or fish heads with water, onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30-45 minutes to extract flavors. Strain the stock and discard the solids. Keep the stock warm.

Prepare the Curry Paste: I

  • In a blender or food processor, combine the soaked dried chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, shrimp paste, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and fish sauce. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • In a separate pot, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they turn translucent.

Prepare the curry

  • Add the prepared curry paste to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes until the paste is fragrant and the raw smell disappears.
  • Pour in the fish stock, add the bruised lemongrass stalks, and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Add the fish chunks, coriander roots, nigella seeds and tomatoes to the simmering curry. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  • In a small bowl, mix the chickpea flour or rice flour with a little water to form a smooth paste. Stir this paste into the curry to thicken it slightly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Season the curry with salt to taste.

Garnish and serve

  • Serve the Burmese Fish Curry (Mohinga) hot over cooked rice noodles or rice vermicelli. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with lime wedges and optional slices of hard-boiled eggs.


Enjoy this authentic and flavourful Burmese Fish Curry, a beloved dish in Myanmar!
Keyword burmese, fish curry

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