Everything you need to master a fish curry guaranteed to delight cancer taste buds.

Fish for Dysphagia

Fish is an excellent protein source for dysphagia. I spent some time discussing with my fish monger what fish to use in this curry. As a result, we decided on Ling and Gurnard. It needs to be boneless, smooth and moist to swallow. I gave him my story of HNC treatment the surgery, tongue removal, radiotherapy damage and what I had to do to the fish to ensure I had some hope of swallowing it. We decided on fish that met the criteria both swallow and budget wise. I had never tried Gurnard before and was not disappointed. Paul was right, the Gurnard imparted a fresh seawater flavour and as a result the end dish was magnificent.

Here’s my version which I served with a little soft steamed rice, coconut yogurt and minted yoghurt sauce purchased from my local Indian Takeaway. That little container of minted yoghurt sauce took the dish to a whole other level. You can use whatever strong boneless fish you can find locally. It must withstand cooking and not fall apart. Enjoy. You can watch me prepare fish here


1/4 cup vegetable oil (Peanut oil works too)

1 Purple onion

Garlic – 2-3 cloves grated

Ginger 5cm grated finely

12 fresh curry leaves, plus extra sprigs to garnish (optional)

2 long green chillies, sliced (optional)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar (coconut sugar)

400ml can coconut cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

500g boneless Ling or snapper or gurnard fish

250grams of green prawn meat too (optional)

2 tomatoes, cut into wedges and tomato concasse about 500mils

60g baby spinach & a handful of cauliflower flowerettes

I add about 6 spearmint/peppermint leaves in the final cook – finely sliced

Steamed basmati rice, to serve


I make a curry paste with all the ingredients (minus the fish and vegetable) by grinding all the ingredients in a mortar & pestle or a specialised spice grinder.

In a small blender add the onion, garlic, ginger (chili if using) and stock. Then add in the dry ingredients and blend until it’s super fine.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste  and stir fry for about 5 minutes until it is fragrant.

Add tamarind, sugar, coconut cream and tomato concasse. Bring to a simmer. Add fish.

Cook, covered, for 3 minutes or until fish is almost cooked through. Add prawns and whole fresh tomato. Cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until seafood is cooked through. Stir in spinach.

Serve with rice Coconut or dairy yoghurt with mint.

Yes please, I’d love access to more food ideas for Dysphagia

Whether you are a HNC patient with dysphagia, a carer or someone who enjoys wholesome food.

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