Murray Cod with Madras Curry Sauce by Alan O’Keeffe

Time: 20 minutes prep + 40 minutes cooking Serves: 6

Murray cod is Australia’s largest species of freshwater fish. The species was once the target of a commercial fishery, but following extensive declines in fish numbers, it is now listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under Australian environmental law. As a result, it is now widely available as product of highly efficient farms and is growing in popularity around Australia. Its flesh is soft, white and delicate, and makes a highly delicious and sustainable table fish with the potential to become a truely Aussie staple.

IMAGE: Murray cod are Australia’s largest freshwater species.

Pan fried Murray Cod, roast kipfler potato, turmeric yoghurt and madras curry sauce

By Alan O’Keeffe


  • 1 x 2.5kg Murray Cod (gutted and scaled)

    Madras curry sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp ground coriander
  • 2tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 2tsp madras curry powder
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g chopped tomato
  • 1lt good quality chicken stock
  • a small handful of curry leaves
  • 1 large brown onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 bunch coriander (washed)
  • 2 green chilli (deseeded and sliced)
  • 30g ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • Vegetable oil

    Turmeric Yoghurt
  • 400g greek yoghurt
  • 50g tahini paste
  • 3tsp turmeric
  • Juice of half a lemon (keep the other half for when you cook the fish).

    Kipfler potato
  • 12 kipfler potatos
  • 100ml vegetable oil

    Fried curry leaves
  • 24 curry leaves
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

    To finish
  • 100g butter
  • The other half of the lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Madras powder



  • Fillet, pin bone and portion the Murray cod into six equal portions. Keep all of the bones and offcuts for the sauce. Refrigerate the portioned fish until you are ready to cook.

Madras curry sauce

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, fennel and madras powder.
  • Add the fish bones and off cuts. Toss together until the bones are covered in spices. Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.
  • While the fish is marinating put the onion, coriander, chilli and ginger in a blender and blitz into a paste. Add a small amount of water if the mix is too dry. Scrape out the paste into a bowl.
  • In the same blender pour in the coconut milk and diced tomato and blend together.
  • Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the fish bones and saute until golden brown. Remove the bones and put in a large pot.
  • In the same frying pan cook the paste for five minutes without colouring. Pour the cooked paste in the pot with the bones.
  • Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and pour over the bones. Pour in the coconut milk and tomato. Stir until everything is combined. Add 12 of the curry leaves and bring to the boil.  When boiling turn down and simmer for 1 hour.
  • After an hour strain the sauce through a colander and then again through a fine sieve or colander with muslin cloth (or a chux cloth in a pinch) to remove any small bones.
  • Put in a smaller pot and blend with a stick blender. Put the strained sauce back on the heat and reduce until the correct consistency is achieved.

Turmeric yoghurt

  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Kipfler potato

  • Wash the kipfler potato and put in a pot with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender.
  • Strain the boiling water and cut in half lengthways. Allow to cool and dry on the counter top.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan saute the potatoes. Pour the oil and potatoes in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for twenty minutes.

Fried curry leaves (for garnish)

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot but not smoking. Put in the leaves and fry for 10 seconds. Strain through a sieve and place on kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.

To finish

  • Remove the fish fillets from the fridge about 45 minutes before cooking to allow the fish to get to room temperature. Sprinkle some sea salt flakes on the skin.
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and cook the fish skin side down for 3 minutes. Don’t overload the pan so cook in two batches if the frying pan is not big enough.
  • Put the fish in a preheated oven at 190 degrees and cook for 4 minutes. Put the fish back in the hot pan skin side up. Put in the butter and lemon juice and baste the fish.
  • To serve put the fish, potato and yoghurt on to individual plates. Garnish with curry leaves and madras powder. Put the curry sauce in a sauce jug and pour at the table for extra theatre!