What is Fish Gravy?

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  • Written By: Alyssa Simon
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Fish gravy is a sauce for fish. It is often flavored with onions and spices and can be tomato-based or made with coconut milk. In some parts of India, tamarind juice, a tangy juice from the fruit of the tamarind tree, is used as the main liquid ingredient. Citrus juices or wine can be used to flavor the gravy as well.

Fish gravy is popular in many African countries such as Liberia, where it is made with tomatoes, hot peppers and onions and served with day and evening meals. The dish is also popular in Italy, where it is traditionally served as part of a Christmas holiday feast. Seafood such as calamari and lobster are cooked in the gravy and then served over pasta.

The type of fish used for fish gravy can vary as much as the ingredients. In the Indian state of Tamil, canned sardines are traditionally eaten in a coconut milk-based gravy. The Tamil Nadu fish gravy typically includes ginger, curry paste and garlic, as well as potatoes and onions.


In Ghana, fish gravy is traditionally eaten with red snapper, and limes are used as the gravy's cooking base. While in some countries the fish is typically fried first before the gravy is added, in Ghana, the fish is steamed or braised with the gravy liquid. In the Indian state of West Bengal and in Bangladesh, Bengali fish gravy is made traditionally with lemons, and mustard oil is usually used to fry the fish. Indian fish gravy can also be called fish curry. North Indian fish curries are often made with spiced tomato sauce only, while South Indian recipes combine tomatoes with tamarind and coconut.

In most gravy for fish recipes, flour is often added to the liquid while cooking to make the texture consistent with that of a typical meat gravy. This is done by making a roux, a French cooking term for a mixture of flour and fat used to thicken a sauce. The flour should be stirred into the liquid fat before adding the other ingredients.

Different countries have different traditional accompaniments to fish gravy dishes. In parts of Africa, the dish is usually served with a starchy vegetable known as cassava and rice or bread. In India, the gravy is typically accompanied by rice or naan, a type of fried bread. In Asia, the traditional way to serve the gravy or curry is with rice.


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Post 2

Can someone tell me how to make fish gravy? I have had it on a few occasions but have never tried making it myself. If it's not too much hassle I'd love to give it a try.

Post 1

A good fish gravy can be something sublime. Fish is a complex flavor to begin with but when you combine it with veggies and spices to create a sauce it becomes one of the most dynamic toppings that you can put onto your food.

I lived for 10 years in north Africa so I was able to try lots of different varieties of fish gravy. Most of them were amazing and some of them were unlike anything I have tried before or since. I've tried to find a good fish gravy here in the states but it's just not the same.

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