Tuna Curry
Tuna Curry
5 from 82 votes
A true curry in a hurry recipe made with canned tuna and delicious spicy onion masala. Budget-friendly, quick, and easy, this fish curry recipe is delicious and best served with chapatti.
Tuna Curry

Tuna Curry, the epitome of comfort food that never disappoints. The dish itself has a humble origin story, tracing its roots to South Asia, where curry reigns as a gastronomic staple.It didn’t take long for this regional delight to cross borders and win hearts globally.

You see, the beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and the depths of flavours it achieves with just a handful of ingredients.

Don’t let the “curry” in the name intimidate you; it’s far from complicated. In fact, if I were to categorize it on a difficulty scale, I’d say it’s a straightforward dish, perfect for weeknight dinners and lavish enough for a weekend gathering.

From start to finish, you can cook up this culinary masterpiece in under 30 minutes, making it an ideal option for those who want something quick yet delicious.

One of the intriguing aspects of Tuna Curry is its variations. Oh yes, it’s quite the chameleon!

While my recipe adheres to the more traditional South Asian style, there’s a world of possibilities out there.

You could opt for a Thai-style version, incorporating coconut milk, or go for a Caribbean flair by adding some mango and pineapple to give it that tropical twist. Your culinary canvas is as broad as your imagination.

I can’t stress enough the importance of quality ingredients. You’ll notice the flavour profile of the dish is built on layers, starting with olive oil and ending with those oh-so-spicy green chilies.

Each ingredient serves a purpose, creating a harmonious blend of flavours that will make you come back for seconds, thirds, or even fourths (no judgment here).

As a dish that has crossed many borders, Tuna Curry has also been embraced by various dietary lifestyles. If you’re vegan, just substitute the tuna with tofu or a hearty vegetable like eggplant.

And for my keto friends, skip the chapatti and opt for a low-carb flatbread. There’s a version of this dish for everyone, and it’s just waiting for you to give it your own spin.

So, grab your apron, prep your ingredients, and let’s get this culinary show on the road. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, this Tuna Curry will make you feel like a Michelin-starred chef, all in the comfort of your home. Let’s embark on this exciting gastronomic journey together, shall we?

And let me tell you, once you’ve tried this Tuna Curry recipe, you’ll find yourself fishing for more opportunities to make it again! So reel in those flavours, and let’s set sail for a delicious dining experience.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of our ingredient breakdown, let’s set the stage. The right ingredients can make or break a dish, and that’s especially true for a masterpiece like Tuna Curry.

This is a dance of flavours, where each ingredient plays a vital role in the final taste and texture of the dish. So, it’s crucial to understand the “why” behind each ingredient. Allow me to guide you through this culinary journey and unravel the mysteries of our beloved Tuna Curry ingredients.

Canned Tuna: The canned tuna brings that hearty, oceanic punch we all crave in a seafood curry. Rich in proteins and omega-3s, it’s not just delicious but also nutritious.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could swap it out for fresh tuna steaks or even salmon for a different but equally delectable experience.

Olive Oil: Ah, the liquid gold. The olive oil sets the stage for our culinary theatre. It’s rich, it’s robust, and it has that lovely, fruity aftertaste that just elevates the dish. If you’re out of olive oil, you can opt for canola oil or even butter, but trust me, olive oil gives it that rich base no other fat can.

Garlic: No curry is complete without the aromatic splendour of garlic. It adds that zesty kick and a bit of sharpness that marries perfectly with the spices. Garlic also has excellent antibacterial properties. If you’re not a fan of garlic, shallots make a good, albeit milder, alternative.

Onions: These are your base flavour. They sweeten slightly as they cook, balancing the heat from the chilies and spices. Opt for red onions if you can, as their flavour profile is more intense. White onions are a decent substitute but tend to be milder.

Tomatoes: These juicy delights add a tangy sweetness and a lovely texture to the curry. They’re full of antioxidants and help balance out the heat. If you’re not a fan, you could use tomato puree, but nothing beats the real deal.

Salt: The great enhancer. A pinch of salt awakens all other flavours in the dish. Opt for sea salt or Himalayan pink salt for a more natural, mineral-rich choice.

Chilli Powder: This is where the fire comes in. The chili powder gives that smoky heat that’s indispensable in a curry. For less heat, you can use paprika.

Turmeric Powder: The golden spice. Turmeric adds a beautiful colour and an earthy aroma, not to mention its numerous health benefits. If you’re out of turmeric, a pinch of saffron could offer a similar hue but with a different flavour profile.

Green Chilies: Last but certainly not least, the green chilies bring freshness and a final layer of heat. They’re an absolute must for a zesty finish. If you want to lower the heat, bell peppers can serve as a milder alternative.

And there you have it, a grand tour of our Tuna Curry ingredients. Each component is a chapter in the story, contributing to the plotline of flavours, aromas, and textures that make this dish an unforgettable experience.

Now that you know the “why” behind the “what,” you’re all set to create your own Tuna Curry masterpiece.

The Untold History of Tuna Curry: From Humble Beginnings to Global Stardom

Ah, the alluring world of Tuna Curry. It’s a dish that transcends geographical borders, serving as a comfort meal to millions. But have you ever wondered about its origins?

Oh, it’s a tale worth telling, my friends! Tuna Curry finds its roots in South Asia, where the curry culture is as deeply ingrained as the spices used in making them.

You see, this dish wasn’t always the global phenomenon it is today. It started as a local, home-cooked meal that used readily available ingredients, such as freshly caught tuna and regional spices.

As South Asian communities began migrating and settling in different parts of the world, they took their culinary treasures with them, and voila! Tuna Curry started showing up on menus globally.

What’s fascinating is that this dish didn’t just cling to its traditional recipe but evolved, adapting to local tastes and available ingredients.

One place where this dish particularly took off is the Caribbean. The region, with its abundance of seafood, immediately embraced Tuna Curry, incorporating local produce like mangoes and pineapples, giving it a tropical twist.

Meanwhile, across the globe in the United Kingdom, the dish morphed into a slightly creamier version, courtesy of the British love for dairy. And let’s not forget the American version that embraces the convenient ‘canned tuna’ over fresh tuna steaks.

It’s incredible how a simple, humble dish can cross oceans, adapt, evolve, and still maintain its essence.

No matter the variations, at its core, Tuna Curry remains a celebration of flavours, a testament to its enduring appeal.

The Art of Pairing: What Goes Best with Tuna Curry

You’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen and created a Tuna Curry that’s lip-smackingly delicious. Now what? You can’t possibly eat it by itself, can you? Oh no, my dear friends, every great dish deserves an equally fantastic sidekick! So, let’s talk about the art of pairing, shall we?

Let’s start with the classics—rice and flatbreads. The simplicity of steamed rice makes it the perfect canvas for your spicy, flavourful Tuna Curry. It absorbs all those lovely juices, creating a bite that’s just heavenly.

As for flatbreads like chapatti or naan, they are excellent for scooping up the curry, ensuring that none of that saucy goodness goes to waste.

But let’s think outside the box for a moment. How about some quinoa? This super-grain not only adds a nutritional punch but also brings a unique, nutty flavour that complements the curry remarkably well.

Or perhaps you’re in the mood for something lighter? A green salad loaded with crisp veggies can be a refreshing contrast to the spicy, rich Tuna Curry.

Now, let’s talk beverages. A crisp, white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay has the acidity and fruitiness to cut through the richness of the curry. Not a wine person?

No worries! A cold beer can be just as satisfying. And for those avoiding alcohol, a tangy, homemade lemonade could be your go-to drink.

Remember, the best pairings are ones that either complement or contrast the flavours of the main dish. And honestly, there’s no right or wrong here. It’s all about what your palate enjoys the most. So go ahead, experiment, and find that perfect sidekick for your Tuna Curry. Cheers!

Spicing It Up: The Secrets to Nailing the Perfect Tuna Curry Spice Mix

Ah, the moment has arrived to talk about the soul of Tuna Curry: the spice mix. I’ve often noticed that people tend to shy away from spices, treating them like volatile substances that could explode any moment.

But let me tell you, getting your spices right is like composing a beautiful symphony. Every element has its part to play, and when they come together, oh, the magic they create!

The key spices you’d find in a Tuna Curry are chili powder, turmeric, and sometimes even a dash of coriander powder. Chili brings the heat, the fiery personality of the curry.

But here’s where it gets interesting. You can control the temperament of this dish. Want it hotter? Go for Cayenne. Want a smoky undertone? Smoked paprika is your buddy.

Turmeric is the earthy philosopher among the spices, bringing depth and colour to the dish. It’s like the bass player in a band; you may not always notice it, but you’d miss it if it were gone.

Now, I’ve heard whispers of using saffron as an alternative. While it does bring a similar colour, the flavour profile takes a royal turn, making the curry luxurious but different.

If you’re going a bit avant-garde, a sprinkle of coriander powder brings an unexpected but delightful citrusy note. Now, this isn’t traditional, but when has cooking ever been confined to the rulebook?

So, to achieve the perfect spice mix for Tuna Curry, you need to look at these spices as characters in a story. Some are protagonists, and some, supporting characters, but each crucial to how the plot unfolds.

And let’s not forget, these spices are not just flavour agents but come packed with health benefits. Turmeric’s got anti-inflammatory properties, chili boosts metabolism, and coriander is rich in antioxidants.

The Green Chilies Debate: To Add or Not to Add

The one thing that can divide a room faster than a hot political debate is the question of adding green chilies to Tuna Curry. Now, green chilies have their dedicated fan following, and for good reasons.

They bring a sharp, fresh heat that powdered spices can’t. Plus, they add a pop of colour that makes the dish visually enticing. But let’s delve deeper into why I feel green chilies should never be left out.

Adding sliced green chilies towards the end of the cooking process gives the Tuna Curry a complex layering of heat. While chili powder gives a broad, expansive heat that affects the whole mouth, green chilies bring a targeted, intense heat that hits specific spots.

So, every bite becomes an exciting game of ‘where will it hit next?’

Now, if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, worrying that green chilies will make your curry too hot, relax. You can de-seed them to lessen the heat without losing the flavour. Or even better, go for a milder chili variety like jalapeños or banana peppers.

The green chilies serve as a finishing touch, like the cherry on top of a sundae. They’re not just a mere garnish; they are a textural and flavourful component that elevates the whole dish.

Whether you’re a heat seeker or a flavour enthusiast, green chilies provide the flexibility to cater to both. So in the great debate of whether to add green chilies to Tuna Curry or not, I firmly stand in the “Oh, absolutely!” camp. Don’t let this amazing ingredient be an afterthought; make it a star.

Fresh versus Canned Tuna: The Epic Showdown in Tuna Curry

Let’s get ready to rumble, because I’m about to dive into one of the most heated debates in the Tuna Curry universe: fresh versus canned tuna. Oh, the purists are already sharpening their knives, while Team Convenience is loading up their pantry.

So, why does this even matter? Well, it impacts everything—from texture to flavour, and yes, even the aroma.

Starting with fresh tuna, it’s the showstopper. It gives the curry a rich, meaty texture that’s incomparable.

When you sink your teeth into a morsel of fresh tuna in a pool of spicy, fragrant curry, it’s like a standing ovation for your taste buds. But here’s the catch, freshness means time-sensitive. You’ve got to cook it while it’s still fresh off the hook, or else the flavours start deteriorating.

On the other side of the ring, we’ve got canned tuna. Now don’t roll your eyes; canned tuna has its merits. For starters, it’s the epitome of convenience. No cleaning, no cutting, just straight into the pot.

Plus, the shelf life could survive an apocalypse. But here’s the golden nugget, canned tuna comes in different varieties: in brine, in oil, or even spiced. Each brings its unique flavour profile, offering a nuanced depth to the curry.

If you’re concerned about sustainability, both have their pros and cons. Fresh tuna, if sourced responsibly, supports local fisheries. Canned tuna, especially those labelled ‘pole-and-line caught,’ is also a good choice.

It boils down to what you’re looking for. Want a sumptuous, luxurious Tuna Curry? Go fresh. Want a quick, weekday dinner without compromising too much on taste? Canned it is. Both have their place under the culinary sun, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.

The Tomato Controversy: Puree, Diced, or Whole

Ah, the unsung hero of Tuna Curry: tomatoes. Most of the spotlight falls on the tuna or the spices, leaving the humble tomato backstage, waiting for its five minutes of fame. So, let’s give it the attention it deserves and delve into the big tomato controversy—should you use puree, diced, or whole tomatoes?

Pureed tomatoes bring a smooth, consistent texture to the curry, making it velvety and rich. It’s the choice for those who are not fans of chunky bits in their curry.

I must admit, there’s something refined about a smoothly pureed tomato-based curry that just screams elegance. If you’re going for a dinner-party-worthy Tuna Curry, this is your pick. But, it’s easy to go overboard, turning your curry into a tomato soup. You’ve been warned.

Diced tomatoes are the middle ground, and my personal favourite. They’re cut small enough to blend in but still retain some chunkiness, giving your Tuna Curry a rustic feel. The slightly uneven texture adds character, making each bite interesting.

Whole tomatoes, now that’s for the adventurous souls. Popping a whole, ripe tomato into your curry and letting it slow-cook until it bursts on its own is like a mini culinary spectacle. It’s not just about the flavour; it’s about the drama, the surprise of discovering a cooked-down tomato in your spoonful of curry.

So there you have it, my take on the epic tomato debate. The choice of tomato form can completely alter your Tuna Curry experience. So don’t underestimate this supporting actor; it has the potential to steal the show.

Olive Oil or Canola Oil: The Great Debate in Making Tuna Curry

Hold onto your spatulas, folks, because I’m about to venture into a rather slippery topic: the oil used in Tuna Curry. When it comes to cooking oils, two contenders stand out from the crowd—olive oil and canola oil. Let’s delve into the greasy details, shall we?

First up, olive oil, the darling of the Mediterranean. Oh, how people love it for its earthy aroma and robust flavour! When you use olive oil in your Tuna Curry, you’re not just cooking; you’re adding another layer of sophistication.

The richness it adds is pretty incredible. But be cautious, olive oil has a distinct flavour that can potentially overpower the other ingredients. It’s like inviting a Broadway star to a local theatre; they’re great, but they might steal the spotlight.

Then there’s canola oil, the practical one. It’s light, neutral, and takes a backseat, allowing the flavours of the spices and tuna to shine.

In terms of health, canola oil has more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat. So it’s more like that dependable friend who helps you move; doesn’t complain, doesn’t steal your thunder, but does a darn good job.

The choice between olive oil and canola oil isn’t just about flavour; it’s also about smoke points. Olive oil has a lower smoke point, so if you’re not careful, you might just set off your smoke alarm.

Canola oil is a bit more forgiving in that department, with a higher smoke point that withstands longer cooking times.

Whether you want to take your Tuna Curry to gourmet heights with olive oil, or let the spices do the talking with canola oil, the choice is yours. Just remember, it’s not merely about greasing the pan; it’s about setting the stage for a gastronomic experience.

The Onion Quandary: To Caramelize or Not

The humble onion: often overlooked but irreplaceable. I’m talking about its role in Tuna Curry. There’s something about sautéed onions that just elevates a dish. But what kind of sauté are we talking about? A quick toss on high heat, or a slow, caramelizing simmer?

If you ask me, caramelized onions are the secret weapon. They bring a hidden sweetness that perfectly balances out the spice and tanginess of Tuna Curry.

The slow caramelization process draws out the natural sugars in the onions, adding a depth of flavour that is oh-so-wonderful. It’s like discovering a plot twist in a movie; you didn’t see it coming, but it makes everything better.

But let’s be real, caramelizing onions is a labour of love; it takes time and patience. If you’re whipping up a quick weeknight dinner, a brief sauté might be all you have time for.

And hey, that’s fine too. Quick-sautéed onions bring a certain freshness to the dish, letting the natural pungency stand out. It’s like the ‘live audience’ version of the dish, raw and impactful.

Whether you decide to go the caramelized route or stick to a quick sauté, remember this: the onion is not just an ingredient, it’s a flavour architect. It sets the foundation upon which the skyscraper of Tuna Curry is built. So give it the attention it deserves.

Garlic and Its Role in Making Tuna Curry Pop

Ah, garlic, the culinary equivalent of a double-edged sword. Use it right, and it’s a symphony; go overboard, and you’re repelling more than just vampires. In Tuna Curry, garlic holds a special place. It’s the one ingredient that can make or break the recipe.

So what’s the magic? Fresh garlic cloves bring a distinctive, robust flavour that enriches the entire dish.

When combined with spices like turmeric and chili powder, garlic plays the role of a catalyst, enhancing the other flavours and creating a beautiful harmony. It’s like that character actor in a film who makes the leads look good.

However, minced garlic can turn bitter if it’s overcooked. The key is to sauté it just long enough to be aromatic but not too long that it burns. It’s all about timing, folks. And yes, size does matter, finely chop it to ensure it distributes evenly throughout the curry.

Let’s not ignore the health benefits either. Garlic is chock-full of antioxidants and medicinal properties. So, when you’re relishing that delicious Tuna Curry, remember that you’re doing your body some good too.

Garlic is the backbone of Tuna Curry. It doesn’t just make the dish; it takes it to a whole new level, transforming it from average to exceptional.

Green Chillies: The Spice of Life in Tuna Curry

A life without spice is a life un-lived, especially when it comes to Tuna Curry. And what better way to add that much-needed zing than with green chillies? These little powerhouses bring more than just heat; they bring character to the dish.

Green chillies add that fresh, pungent kick that elevates Tuna Curry from merely flavourful to explosively delicious.

You see, unlike dried spices that give a more concentrated heat, green chillies bring a vibrant spiciness that spreads through the dish. They also offer a splash of colour, making your Tuna Curry visually appealing. I mean, who doesn’t love a pop of green in a sea of warm, curry goodness?

But hold your horses, if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can de-seed them or even substitute them with bell peppers. You’ll still get the aesthetics without the fire-breathing experience.

Let’s also give a nod to the health benefits. Green chillies are rich in antioxidants and can rev up your metabolism. So, they’re not just setting your mouth on fire, they’re also lighting a fire under your metabolism.

Whether you go all in and throw in whole chillies, or slice them up to distribute the heat more evenly, there’s no denying the pivotal role they play in Tuna Curry.

Think of them as the exclamation point at the end of a well-written sentence; they’re small but mighty, adding emphasis and excitement to your dish.

Check Out These Other Recipes

If you’re as enamoured with this tuna curry as I am, I’ve got a whole treasure trove of seafood and curry delights you absolutely have to explore. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

First off, dive into the robust and tantalising flavours of my Fish Curry. Think of it as the sibling to this tuna curry; equally wholesome and infused with spices that’ll dance on your tongue.

Now, if you adore the combination of seafood and chickpeas, you can’t pass up on my Tuna and Chickpea Curry. It’s a hearty, protein-packed dish that balances creamy and spicy in a love affair you won’t want to end.

But let’s not forget the classics! My Coconut Prawn Curry brings a tropical twist to the traditional curry, with coconut milk adding a touch of sweetness that complements the prawns like a dream.

Oh, and speaking of coconut, my Coconut Chicken Curry is another must-try. The chicken is tender, the sauce is rich, and every bite will have you coming back for more.

Last but not least, the Lamb Chops Curry is a meaty extravaganza for those days when you want to venture beyond seafood but stick close to the flavours of the sea. Tender lamb meets a medley of spices in a dish that will make you question why you didn’t make it sooner.

So go ahead, try these out, and let me know what you think in the comments below. I promise, once you taste these, you’ll be ready to raid your spice cupboard and make magic in the kitchen all over again!

Tuna Curry

Tuna Curry

by Nabeela Kauser
A true curry in a hurry recipe made with canned tuna and a delicious spicy onion masala. Budget-friendly, quick, and easy, this fish curry recipe is delicious and best served with chapatti.
5 from 82 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 260 kcal


  • 400 g Tuna Canned
  • 50 ml Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic
  • 3 Onions
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 2 Green Chillies


  • Heat up the olive oil in a pan on medium heat until hot
  • Add the finely diced onions and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until softened
  • Add the chopped garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder then cook the spices for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add the canned tuna and cook for 5-7 minutes
  • Add the finely sliced green chillies and cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Serve immediately alongside a side of homemade chapatti and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 21gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 894mgPotassium: 623mgFibre: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1232IUVitamin C: 27mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 58mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Fish, Food, Recipe, Seafood, Spicy, Tuna
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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2 years ago

5 stars
Should the tuna be drained or with the water?

1 year ago

I thought it was gonna have some actual curry

7 months ago

5 stars
I made this for dinner tonight and served it with wholewheat pasta. It was really nice and would be great as a cold pasta salad. I tempered the oil with cumin, fennel and mustard seeds and it really worked. Also threw in a small tin of sweetcorn. Thanks for sharing it, it’s going to become a favourite in our house.


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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