Fish Ambul Thiyal Recipe

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Fish Ambul Thiyal is a popular and traditional dish from Sri Lanka. The name of the dish, “Ambul Thiyal,” translates to “sour fish curry” in the local language, Sinhala. Fish Ambul Thiyal is not only popular in Sri Lanka, but it’s also gaining popularity worldwide as a unique and flavorful seafood dish. It’s a must-try dish for anyone who loves seafood and is looking to explore the cuisine of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan fish ambul thiyal is a spicy and sour fish curry. It is made with firm white fish, usually tuna, which is cut into cubes and marinated in a mixture of spices including chili powder, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. The marinated fish is then pan-fried until it is lightly browned and crispy. Fish ambul thiyal is a dish that is often made in large batches and stored for several days, allowing the flavors to deepen and develop over time.

Fish Ambul Thiyal Recipe

Recipe by Emma SmithCourse: Main, SeafoodCuisine: Sri LankanDifficulty: Easy


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Fish Ambul Thiyal, a cherished traditional dish hailing from the vibrant lands of Sri Lanka, holds a name that reveals its essence – “sour fish curry” in Sinhala, the local language. Whether you’re a seafood lover or an adventurer seeking new tastes, Fish Ambul Thiyal deserves a spot on your culinary journey through Sri Lanka’s cuisine.


  • 500g of fresh tuna, cut into medium-sized chunks

  • 1/2 cup of dried goraka

  • 1 tbsp of chili powder

  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds

  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds

  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves

  • 1/2 cup of water

  • 2 tbsp of oil

  • Salt to taste


  • Soak the dried goraka in water for about 10-15 minutes until it softens. Then,
    remove the seeds and chop the goraka into small pieces.
  • In a pan, dry roast the fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds until they turn
    slightly brown. Then, grind them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle
    or a spice grinder.
  • In a bowl, mix the chili powder, turmeric powder, ground fenugreek and
    mustard, and salt together.
  • Add the tuna chunks to the bowl and mix them well with the spice mixture.
    Let the fish marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a clay pot or a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the curry leaves and
    sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add the marinated fish to the pot and sauté for a few minutes until the fish is
    lightly browned.
  • Add the chopped goraka and water to the pot. Mix well and cover the pot with
    a lid. Cook on low heat for about 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked and
    the sauce thickens.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust salt if needed.
  • Serve hot with rice and a variety of vegetable curries.

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