Mackerel in chilli sauce with caramelized onions/Mackerel Panna upkari

mackerel copy

This is one of my mom’s classic recipes. Mangalore being a coastal place, we get to enjoy fish to heart’s content. Come monsoon June month is banned for fishing, so that fish can breed, but in July you get to enjoy wide variety of fish. I love mackerel, small sardines that are called taru butai. Nothing to beat this mackerel curry / raja panna upkari on a rainy day. Yum yum!!!!


Servings 2-3

Preparation time -15 min

Cooking time-15 min



1 Mackerel

2 red dried chillies

6 Byadgee red chillies/3 teaspoon kashmiri chilli powder

½ inch piece of ginger

1 medium red onion

1 small red onion

1 table spoon Coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric

Tamarind marble size

4 table spoons coconut oil/ vegetable oil

Salt to taste



  • Roast coriander seeds till light brown in a spoon of oil. Set aside.
  • Roast red chillies until light brown.
  • Soak tamarind in warm water. I generally do it in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove the pulp.
  • Chop onions into small squares.
  • Chop ginger into small pieces or grate it
  • Cut mackerel into 3-4 pieces. For curry, wide pieces are better.
  • Grind red chillies, coriander seeds roasted into a smooth paste.
  • Add tamarind pulp.
  • Add small onion pieces, turmeric and chopped ginger.
  • Add salt according to your taste. I prefer rock salt.
  • Mix the masala. Bring it to required consistency. Add  mackerel pieces. Heat it up.
  • Once the curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Total cooking time is 10 minutes. Fish cooks faster. Handle the cooked fish gently otherwise it comes apart in pieces.
  • In a small pan heat up 3 tablespoons coconut oil/ your choice of Vegetable oil and fry the onions until brown. Take care not to burn.
  • Add the fried onions to the curry


Traditionally red rice used to be served with this curry, but white rice also tastes good. Enjoy.









  1. It’s usually August by the time fishing starts again.

    This dish is crazy good. Spicy with onions providing sweetness.


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