Jump to content
Home > Recipes > Gulai Kepala Ikan
Gulai Kepala Ikan

Gulai Kepala Ikan

Created by New City College student chefs, winners of the Tilda Best Use of Rice Award at Zest Quest Asia 2019.

  • Hard




Fish Curry Powder

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper


  • 3 large onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 red birds eye chillis
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste

Fish Curry

  • 4 fish heads
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 250g tamarind
  • 500ml hot water
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • Curry leaves
  • 250g okra
  • 1/2 pineapple, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 lime


  • 600g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100ml coconut water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp condensed milk
  • 170ml water


  • 380g Tilda Easy Cook Basmati Rice
  • 120ml water
  • 360ml coconut milk
  • 20g root ginger (julienne)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 pandan leaf knot
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. For the Fish Curry Powder - Mix all the ingredients together and set to the side.

  2. For the Rempah - Process all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency.

  3. For the Fish Head Curry - Wash fish heads well to remove any traces of blood and pat dry. Rub the heads with 1 tbsp of the curry powder and set aside.

  4. Place the tamarind in a bowl and pour over the hot water, then allow to steep for 15 minutes. Squeeze out and reserve the liquid from the tamarind.

  5. Heat the peanut oil in a wok and sear the fish heads on both sides until browned, then remove and set aside.

  6. Add the remaining curry powder and rempah to the wok and fry for about 5 minutes until the oil separates from the paste, then stir through the curry leaves.

  7. Add the okra to the wok and fry for 2 minutes, then add the pineapple and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.

  8. Add the coconut cream, tamarind liquid, salt and sugar and bring to the boil.

  9. Add the fish heads, cover with the sauce, and add more water if it's not enough. Bring to the boil again then turn off the heat and cover the wok.

  10. Allow the fish to stand, turning halfway, and cook for 20 minutes, then squeeze over the lime juice. Stir gently to combine

  11. Remove fish, clean, pass sauce, place into warm bowls with okra, place fish head on top, garnish and serve.

  12. For the Roti - Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.

  13. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients, make a well and then add the liquid, incorporate well.

  14. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth, cover and prove for 30 minutes.

  15. Knead again and then prove for a further 30 minutes.

  16. Roll thinly on a greased surface, fry quickly in a hot pan.

  17. For the Rice - Wash and rinse the rice approximately 3 times ensuring the water runs clear.

  18. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

  19. Cook on a medium heat, bring slowly to the boil, turn down and simmer until the rice has gone fluffy, then stir with a plastic spoon.

  20. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes before eating.