Canned Mackerel Fry

Canned Mackerel Fry

Coming from Sri Lanka, which is still a developing country, canned mackerel and canned tuna are a regular dish at lunch and dinner. For one, canned fish are cheaper compared to fresh fish, and secondly it is easier and faster to prepare for busy families. Usually eaten with rice or bread, canned mackerel was one of my husband’s favorites growing up in Colombo. I must agree I loved it too.


  • Mackerel – 1 can drained and broken into large pieces
  • Red onions – 1 sliced
  • Garlic – 3 cloves finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 1 chopped
  • Curry leaves – 10 leaves
  • Pandan – 2 inch piece bruised
  • Cinnamon sticks – 1 inch piece broken
  • Cardomom – 2 pods crushed
  • Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Roasted curry powder – 1 teaspoon (recipe found here)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon (the mackerel is already salty)
  • Red chilli flakes – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomatoes – 1 large cut into wedges
  • Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon, cardomom and fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, green chillies, pandan leaves, curry leaves and fry until the onions are soft.
  3. Add the mackerel, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes. Turn the mackerel and fry for another 3 minutes on the other side.
  4. Add the roasted curry powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, chilli flakes, salt and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry (gently so that the fish retain their shape).
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Add lemon juice and mix gently.
  8. Serve with rice or bread.

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