Bangladeshi Fish Korma with Cauliflower Pulao Rice

Bangladeshi fish korma is yet another delectable gift from my Dadi’s cookbook. Gently cooked whitefish in a creamy spiced coconut and yogurt gravy. Served over low carb cauliflower pulao rice, this authentic dish comes in at only 13g of net carbs in this entire meal, and on the dinner table in just 60 minutes.
Low Carb Fish Korma and Cauliflower Pulao
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Seriously do it.
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Oddly enough, this dish wasn’t as common in the dinner rotation growing up as some of my Dadi’s other recipes, and I am not sure why, because it honestly might be her best one! It is definitely up there.

After slowly introducing the girlfriend to the wonderful world that is desi cuisine, I dug this treasure out of the family cookbook knowing she would love the combination of flavours from the fish, coconut, and bold spices.

Of course, it was a hit.

Among other family classics like my low carb yellow chicken curry, my Dadi’s fish korma is often the answer to the question “What are you thinking for dinner?”

Low Carb Fish Korma

What is in Fish Korma?

Bangladeshi fish korma, does differ somewhat from the Indian korma many are familiar with. 

The use of coconut in this korma is likely due to its origins in Bangladesh where coconuts are grown, whereas most of India would not have access to fresh coconuts at that time.

To make this fish korma recipe, you will need:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Green Cardamom Pods
  • Whole Cloves
  • Garam Masala
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coriander Powder
  • Coconut milk or Creamed coconut
  • Plain yogurt
  • Green chili
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Toasted coconut (for garnish)

Fish Korma Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories: 306 | Fat: 21g | Net Carbs: 5.7g | Protein: 20g

Of course you will need a compatible low carb side dish to soak up all that delicious coconut gravy. What better to pair with this fish korma recipe than a low carb cauliflower rice pulao. 

For Cauliflower Rice Pulao you will need:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Cardamom pods
  • Whole cloves
  • Cauliflower (riced)
  • Peas
  • Green Chili
  • Fresh Cilantro

Cauliflower Pulao Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories: 90 | Fat: 4g | Net Carbs: 7.5g | Protein: 3.7g

Let’s get to it. 

How to Make Low Carb Cauliflower Rice Pulao

Low Carb Cauliflower Pulao

There is no secret to making rice pulao from cauliflower. You just need to get everything in the pan and let it cook down. If you are making these two dishes together as a full low carb meal, I recommend getting all the pulao ingredients prepped first, and just throwing them in the pan. Even if you don’t turn it on yet, that’s fine. Layer everything in and then turn it on when you are ready. 

For timing, I turn the heat for the low carb pulao on as soon as I put the onions for the korma in the pan.

Cooking Directions for Cauliflower Pulao Rice

Ricing Cauliflower:

  1. To start the rice pulao, break apart the head of cauliflower into florets so it’s easier to rice. You can grate it with a standard cheese grater, chop it fine with a knife, or use my preferred method, and run it though the grating disc on my food processor. Easy peasy. 

To save some time and effort you can you pre-riced store bought cauliflower.

2. Next thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic and ginger, and dice the carrot small, about 1 cm cubes. [your pinky finger is about 1 cm thick] 

3. Cover the bottom of a cold pan with oil/butter/ghee, and layer in the ingredients as follows. Onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, cardamom pods, cloves, cauliflower, green chili,  leave out the peas for now and season liberally with salt and pepper. 

4. When you are ready to cook, turn the heat to medium, and just leave it alone for a bit. This is the same cooking method as the zucchini and egg bhaji. Underneath that pile of cauliflower the onions are slowly starting to brown. There is so much water being released by the mountain of veggies up top, that it is very unlikely to burn. 

5. After about 5-8 minutes, the pile should have started to shrink and you can start stirring everything around and combining. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally until the water from the cauliflower has steamed off and it and becomes tender and soft. 

This may take around 20 minutes. Maintaining heat is important, you should see lots of steam being released from the pan as you stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Avoid adding water, the goal is to reduce the amount of water in the cauliflower.

6. Add in the frozen, or canned peas and cook for another 5 or so minutes until the peas are soft and warmed. 

Garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon juice. 

Low Carb Fish Korma and Cauliflower Pulao Rice

How to Make Bangladeshi Fish Korma

Since fish is a more delicate meat than chicken or beef, we will not need to cook it for nearly as long as in say a chicken curry, where I would want to let the meat simmer in the gravy for over an hour until it’s soft and tender. That much cooking would surely over cook our fish, making the outside tough, and the rest would just kind of melt away into the gravy.

Instead, we will spend most of our time cooking and developing our rich creamy korma gravy, and then once it’s ready, turn down the heat, and gently cook the fish through before serving.

Cooking Directions for Fish Korma

  1. Start by preparing the ingredients.  Finely chop the onions, garlic, and ginger, so they break down into gravy quicker. Cover the bottom of a deep pan or pot it oil/butter/ghee, and heat to medium.

Optional: If you want to flavour your oil and bring you can add dried aromatics like panch phoron, or other whole dried spices and wait until they toast or pop before moving on to the next step. 

2. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot, salt liberally to help them release their water. Fry until the onions begin to brown and become translucent. This may take several minutes. Make sure you stir occasionally, and add water to prevent burning and sticking as required. Just a few tablespoons at a time into a hot pan will help break down the onions.

3. Once the onions have softened and browned, add the cardamom pods, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, garam masala, ground cayenne pepper, and coriander powder to cook. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally until the spices are properly cooked. 3-5 minutes or until the spice smell has reduced. Add oil or water as needed to prevent burning or sticking. 

4. Next add ½ of a can (7 oz) of whole fat, high quality coconut milk, or 2-3 sq inch cubes of creamed coconut if you don’t have milk. I highly recommend using high quality coconut milk. Add the yogurt and green chilies, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook until the gravy has thickened and darkened. Approximately 15-20 minutes. 

5. As the coconut milk caramelizes, the gravy should turn a darker brown colour. At this point you can add your cubed white fish. 

What Type of Fish Should You Use?

This may sound strange, but frozen fish works best here. This is straight from my Dadi, I use 1 pound frozen whitefish that is essentially blocks of frozen fish, and I cut it into cubes as shown.

Frozen Whitefish
16 oz frozen Boston Blue Fish
Frozen Whitefish cut into cubes
Cut into cubes for Fish Korma

It is honestly the best type of fish. Fresh fish works if it is a hearty fish. But it tends to flake apart and dissolve into the gravy. Which is still really good, but I like the fish to have some body.

Frozen fish filets work well too, just make sure it’s a chunky fish. Sole is too delicate, but haddock, halibut, Boston bluefish (seen here), grouper, essentially any firm white fish will work.

6. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer, and place the chunks of fish in the pan. Tossing to gently coat the fish with the gravy. Add some water if the gravy is too dry. Cover the pot and allow the fish to steam and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until it’s done. This will vary with the fish you are using. 

The idea is to slowly and gently cook the fish through to prevent the outsides from becoming tough before the middle cooks.

Half way through you can flip the chunks if you like, just try to keep the lid on as much as possible to keep the steam in.

Once the fish is cooked you are ready to enjoy, garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and toasted coconut flakes. Serve with low carb cauliflower pulao rice, or your favourite low carb side dish.

Low Carb Fish Korma and Cauliflower Pulao
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5 from 1 vote

Bangladeshi Fish Korma with Cauliflower Pulao Rice

An authentic fish korma recipe of whitefish in a spiced coconut, and yogurt gravy, served with a low carb cauliflower rice pulao.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Bangladeshi
Keyword: Bangladeshi, Complete meal, Desi, Desi Keto, fish, low carb
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 396kcal

Equipment

  • 2 deep fry pans or saucepans
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Food processor/Cheese Grater

Ingredients

Cauliflower Pulao Rice

  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • ½ cup carrot about 5" of carrot, diced
  • 1 whole green chili
  • 2 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 large cauliflower riced
  • ½ cup peas
  • salt and pepper

Bangladeshi Fish Korma

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 whole cardamom pod
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 7 oz coconut milk 1/2 can
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 whole green chili
  • 1 pound whitefish frozen or fresh, cubed
  • lime juice garnish
  • fresh cilantro garnish
  • toasted coconut garnish

Instructions

Cauliflower Pulao Rice

  • Start by preparing the pulao for cooking. Break apart the head of cauliflower into florets so it's easier to rice. Rice using a grater, chop it fine with a knife, or use my preferred method, and run it though the grating disc on a food processor. Next thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic and ginger, and dice the carrot small, about 1 cm cubes [your pinky finger is about 1 cm thick].
  • Cover the bottom of a cold pan with oil/butter/ghee, and layer in the ingredients as follows. Onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, cardamom pods, cloves, cauliflower, green chili, leave out the peas for now and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside until you start the fish korma. When you are ready to cook, turn the heat to medium, and just leave it to cook for a bit and let the onion begin to brown under the pile of veggies. water being released cauliflower will prevent he onion from burning.
  • After 5-8 minutes, the cauliflower should have started to shrink, stir to combine. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally until the water from the cauliflower has steamed off and it and becomes tender and soft. Around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. Avoid adding water.
  • Add in the frozen or canned peas and cook for another 5 or so minutes until the peas are soft and warmed. 
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, lemon juice and serve. (See notes for nutritional information)

Bangladeshi Fish Korma

  • Start by preparing the ingredients.  Finely chop the onions, garlic, and ginger, so they break down into gravy quicker. Cover the bottom of a deep pan or pot it oil/butter/ghee, and heat to medium.
  • Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot, salt liberally to help them release their water. Fry until the onions begin to brown and become translucent. This may take several minutes. Make sure you stir occasionally, and add water to prevent burning and sticking as required. Just a few tablespoons at a time into a hot pan will help break down the onions.
  • Once the onions have softened and browned, add the cardamom pods, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, garam masala, ground cayenne pepper, and coriander powder to cook. Continue to fry, stirring occasionally until the spices are properly cooked. 3-5 minutes or until the smell has reduced. Add oil or water as needed to prevent burning or sticking. 
  • Add coconut milk, plain yogurt, and green chilies, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until the gravy has thickened and darkened. 15-20 minutes. Don't let it burn.
  • Once the gravy has darkened near it's final colour, add the cubed whitefish of your choosing - see notes
  • Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer, and place the chunks of fish in the pan. Tossing to gently coat the fish with the gravy. Add some water if the gravy is too dry. Cover the pot and allow the fish to steam and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until it is just cooked through.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and toasted coconut flakes. Serve with low carb cauliflower pulao rice, or your favourite low carb side dish. (see notes for Fish Korma nutritional information)

Notes

Nutritional Information above is for 1 serving of Fish Korma with 1 serving of pulao.
Fish Korma Nutrition per serving:
Calories: 306 | Fat: 21g | Net Carbs: 5.7g | Protein: 20g
Cauliflower Rice Pulao Nutrition Per Serving:
Calories: 90 | Fat: 4g | Net Carbs: 7.5g | Protein: 3.7g
Fish Selection: As Detailed in the full post above, a sturdy frozen whitefish cut into chunks works best. 
This Bangladeshi Fish korma tastes so authentic yet is surprising simple to make. Thank goodness its paired with my low carb cauliflower rice pulao so I can mop up all that gravy! Click To Tweet

Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.4g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar Alcohols: 0.2g | Net Carbs: 13.2g

Other Low Carb Sides For Fish Korma

If you don’t care for this wonderful pulao rice, that’s ok, I am not offended. You can pair this fish korma recipe with any of your favourite side dishes. My Dadi’s zucchini and egg bhaji is an excellent companion, and if you look, you can even see some fish korma in the bowl throughout that post!

Plain riced cauliflower, also works well to sop up that delicious korma gravy. 

Another benefit is for those of you cooking for the whole family or a loved one who still eats those pesky carbs, you can prepare some regular rice for them, and a side of cauliflower rice for you so you can all enjoy dinner together.

Fish Korma and Low Carb Zucchini Bhaji

Dealing With Leftovers

Just like any curry, fish korma just tastes better the next day so it makes great leftovers. 

Some notes, if you leave the green chilies in the korma in the fridge, the spice level will increase the longer it sits so remove it beforehand if it was spicy enough already. 

I also like to remove the cinnamon stick because I don’t want the flavour of cinnamon to increase and overpower the other flavours in the korma. 

Otherwise just store both dishes sealed in the fridge and reheat as you would any leftovers!

Time To Dive In!

I am just delighted that I get to share another one of my favourite family recipes with you. My hope is that you can enjoy them with your family as much as I have enjoyed them with mine, and maybe by passing them along like this they can live on as a part of your future family cookbook as well. 

If you liked this recipe and think you might like some of my other recipes, be sure to look around and see what else is here! 

Better yet join the gang down below and I will make sure the best low carb recipes make it to your inbox so you have access to them when you need them. 

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