Southern Thai sour orange curry with Spanish Mackerel by Ben Wallace

Spanish Mackerel are a fairly abundant species that exist across the entire top end of Australia. They are most common at their peak in September and October, but available all year round being commonly fished in QLD, the NT and WA. As a schooling species, they can be easily targeted, reducing bycatch usually through a variety of line fishing methods. Due to this, fishers are able to also care for the quality of these fish through careful handling through to the fish market and restaurant. A highly prized for their size, texture of their flesh and slightly oily and rich taste. 

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Southern Thai sour orange curry with Spanish Mackerel

by Ben Wallace

Curry paste

  • 2 Small shallots
  • 2 Clove garlic
  • 1 Stalk lemongrass
  • 4 Dry Long red chilli (soaked in water over night)
  • 1 Dry Birds eye chilli ( soaked in water over night )
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Shrimp paste


  • 150-200g spanish mackerel fillet
  • 1 Long green chilli
  • 10 pea eggplant
  • 5 Piece papaya
  • 2 Snake Bean
  • 300ml fish stock
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs tamarind
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves


Curry paste

Place all ingredients in a mortar & pestle & pound to form your paste. This can be done in a food processor however the result of hand pounding is far more delicious.


Clean the fish if necessary, and slice into large pieces.

De-seed and slice long chilli, peel and cut papaya and slice snake beans.

Place fish stock in a pan and bring to the boil, add curry paste and simmer for 1 minute. Add fish sauce, sugar and tamarind paste and mix together.

Add papaya and cook for 2 minutes.

Add Spanish mackerel and the remaining vegetables, cook for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add lime juice. Adjust to taste.

Place the curry in a serving dish, finely slice kaffir lime leaves and sprinkle over the fish and curry.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

See Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, a free app available on IOS and Android, to help you decide when next you are choosing to buy seafood. 

The Australian Marine Conservation Society’s GoodFish project is a community of chefs, restaurants, fishers and wholesalers who work towards supporting healthier oceans.