Make MiMi Aye’s fried fish curry

Also known as ngar kyaw chet, this spicy Burmese dish is quick, simple to make and the perfect vessel for any meaty fish that takes your fancy

Serves 2-4

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

"This dish is usually made with fish 'steaks' aka cutlets, but it is just as good with fillets or whole fish. The type of fish doesn’t really matter either as the luscious, spicy sauce is the thing, so it works equally well with, say, cod or salmon." – MiMi Aye


For the fish

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp MSG or ½ tbsp chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • 1 whole sea bream or sea bass, or 4 basa or catfish slices (sold frozen in Asian supermarkets)
  • 120ml groundnut oil or other neutral-tasting oil, plus an extra 2 tbsp

For the sauce

  • 4 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • ⅓ standard tin of chopped tomatoes (about 135g)
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp MSG or 1 tbsp chicken or vegetable bouillon

For the garnish

  • 2 finger chillies
  • Handful of coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Mix the salt, flour, turmeric and MSG in a large dish, then add the fish.
  2. Turn the fish over in the seasonings, making sure it is thoroughly coated. Heat the 120ml of oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until sizzling, then carefully add the fish.
  3. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the fish using a slotted spoon and set to one side on a dish.
  4. In the same wok, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat and add the sauce ingredients.
  5. Fry for 5 minutes, tossing and stirring regularly. Turn the heat down to medium-high and continue to fry for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add the fish and the chillies, and toss gently in the sauce. Dish up on a platter, scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve with steamed rice.