White dragon fish curry

By Dick Beaumont & Dinka Kuramsudka

The credits for this recipe go back a very long way to Dinka Kuramsudka, a Hindi Asian exile of Idi Amin’s Uganda. We were both market traders back in the late seventies and early eighties (general markets, not the money market!).

We were often invited over for a curry, but cooking would never begin until everyone had arrived. Dinka believed that the cooking and preparation of the meal was the entertainment and the dinner was the finale. He had a point eh?

Dinka never used packet sauces, only freshly ground spices, herbs, fresh vegetables, meat, prawn or fish were accepted!

Trying to weigh ingredients on board a yacht isn’t a good plan, so it’s all done by volume.


  • 1 medium-sized sea fish about 1’.6’ – 2’.6” long, (depending on how hungry you are), Bass, Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda, Snapper or Wahoo or any firm-textured fresh fish are perfect
  • 1 pint of fish stock. Make this from the head and bones of the fish.
  • 2 x large aubergines
  • 4-5 x large white onions
  • 1 x large or 2 x small heads of garlic
  • 1 x 4-inch stem of fresh ginger
  • 6 x green chillis 
  • 1 x bunch of fresh or frozen coriander
  • 1 x mug of greek style yoghurt
  • 1 x tablespoon of cornflour or potato starch.
  • 1/2 mug of ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1 x lemon
  • 3 x tablespoons of coconut paste/cream
  • 2 x teaspoons of salt or to taste
  • 10 x Cardamom pods
  • 2 x bay leaves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 x mug garam marsala, (Ready-made or see my recipe, below) 

Serve with basmati rice and (or) naan bread

My garam marsala

By Dick Beaumont

My garam marsala mix is in this ratio, all ground spices, no whole.

  • 3 x tablespoons cumin
  • 3 x tablespoons coriander
  • 2 x teaspoons cardamom
  • 1 x teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 x teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/2 x teaspoon powdered bay leaf (you’ll have to grind this yourself)
  • 1/2 x teaspoon allspice (also called pimento)
  • 1/2 x teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 x teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 x teaspoon black pepper

Dinka and I always make our garam marsala, the base mix of Indian ground spices, but you can buy a basic GM ready-made in most authentic Asian groceries. I leave out turmeric because it stains everything in the galley, and everywhere else bright yellow and there are enough other spices to cover its omission.

1) Pour the oil or ghee into a deep cookpot and turn up the heat to mark 7 on the hob.

Finely chop the onions and add to the cookpot. Stir vigorously for 5 mins to stop the onion burning. You don’t want the chopped onions to brown at all.

Turn down to mark 3 or 4 so the onions are sweating down. Keep the lid off.

2) When the onions are cooked and are clear add the finely chopped garlic, finely chopped root ginger and cumin seeds. Fry for 5 mins at mark 4-5, stirring often to stop the garlic sticking to the pan.

Add the chopped green chillis, to taste. You don’t want the curry to be too hot as this will mask the flavour of the fish. 

Add the garam marsala and if necessary more oil, the frying mixture should not be too dry. Stir vigorously for 5 mins at mark 5. Do not allow the mixture to stick. Turn it down a little or add more oil if it does.

3) Now add the yoghurt and stir vigorously until thoroughly mixed.

4) Add the fish stock, cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze the juice into the pan add two-quarters of the whole squeezed lemon to the pan.

Add the aubergines diced into 1” cubes, cardamom pods, bay leaves and coconut paste.

5) Simmer for 30 mins or until the aubergines are completely cooked.

Make sure the rice and or naan bread are ready.

Bring the temperature of the pot up, stirring so nothing sticks.

6) Add the filleted and diced fish with the skin on.

Turn back to simmer for 5 mins max, do not stir.

If the fish is starting to come away from the skin it’s overcooked. It will continue cooking on the table, so don’t worry.

Serve with steamed rice and naan bread. It’s a two-pot dinner so perfect for cooking on passage.

Enjoy and let me know how it went hello@oceansailormagazine.com

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