Gulai Tumis (Tamarind Fish Curry)

The Nyonya and Hainanese families of Malaysia are well-known for their love of hot and sour curries.

For me, reading this blog post and looking at the images of this delicious fish curry made me feel particularly guilty because I hadn’t had it in a long time.

To begin with, it is difficult to find fresh fish in California, particularly stingrays. For the time being, the closest fish I can buy is skate wings, but the last time I got them, they smelled terrible.

First of all, I can’t get my hands on the ingredient Bunga kantan or ginger flower, which is essential to this recipe. Gulai tumis are my favorite dishes, and Siew Loon has shared her family’s recipe with us. Enjoy!

Ho Siew Loon is today’s featured author.

My mother used to make gulai tumis or hot tamarind fish curry, and my siblings and I would just eat it with our hands when we were teenagers.

Adding the curry/gravy to our rice would have us devouring it in a matter of seconds. My family still raves about this dish, and it always brings back happy memories.

Sharing my family’s recipe with all of my Nyonya Food buddies is an honor.

(follow the link for the gulai tumis recipe)

Malaysian Nyonya and Hainanese families are known for their love of Gulai Tumis, a fiery and sour curry.

The Hainanese Gulai Tumis, on the other hand, is more concentrated, as I now understand. If you’re looking for an extra-tangy flavor, try this dish, which incorporates ginger flower (Bunga kantan) and the juice from one lime (tamarind).

The gravy, in particular, is so enticing that you’ll keep coming back for more.

What is the average number of calories in one serving?

  • Each serving of this recipe contains only 415 calories.

With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?

I’ve compiled a collection of recipes that are both healthy and quick enough to prepare on a weeknight.




  • sugar to taste, optional
  • 160 g (5 oz.) shallots
  • salt to taste
  • 90 g (3 oz.) 20-25 dried chilies (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 6 g peeled garlic
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 bud ginger flower, finely chopped
  • 8 g fresh turmeric or 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 8-10 ladies fingers, steamed
  • 800 g (28 oz.) stingray, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 16 g Asian shrimp paste, belacan
  • 6 g 2-3 candlenuts
  • 12 g galangal, lengkuas


  1. Heat the oil and the spice paste in a skillet over low heat until the oil and paste separate and the paste is aromatic. (This will take about fifteen minutes)
  2. Tamarind juice can be made by combining tamarind pulp with water and straining the resulting liquid. Bring the mixture to a simmer with the spice paste. Allow 10 to 15 minutes of simmering time.
  3. Toss in some fish and ginger flowers. Fish should be done in about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet.
  4. This dish is best served with lady’s fingers.


  • Tamarind juice can be used to alter the gravy’s consistency.
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