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BIR Halibut Ambot Tik

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This halibut ambot tik recipe is done curry house style

There are so many excellent Indian chefs out there who don’t understand BIR (British Indian restaurant) cooking.

They believe that if you use a base sauce to make all of your curries, they will all taste the same. This just isn’t true!

This halivut ambot tik recipe proves it.

Finished ambot tik recipe

Make it with halibut or the meaty fish of your choice. Just make it!


What is BIR style cooking?

BIR or curry house style cooking was developed over the past few decades in the UK to make cooking at restaurants faster, more economical and deliciously memorable.

There is a reason why people love going to their local curry house and that is because the curries are amazing.

It’s the smooth base sauce that when combined with other ingredients produces curries that are now loved worldwide. From the famous chicken tikka masala to special curries like this ambot tik recipe, you are sure to find one or more you love.

The smooth texture of the sauce might be different to more authentic Indian curries but try this halibut ambot tik recipe and you will see that they are equally tasty if not more so. 

What is the base sauce?

If you cook authentic Indian food regularly, you will know that most curries start by making a base masala.

This is usually done by frying up some chopped onions, garlic and ginger paste, tomatoes and a few selected spices. Water or stock is then added to this base with your main ingredient of choice to finish the curry off. 

When you prepare a curry house style base sauce, all of the work you need to do to make those base masalas is done ahead of time. The blended sauce, which is really just a smooth onion stock with a few other vegetable and spices thrown in is then used as the base for any BIR curry.

The base sauce is rather bland in flavour. It has to be as it is used for everything from a mild curry house style korma to the spiciest phall. The magic happens when you add other ingredients to the individual curries to make them taste completely different. 

How can this ambot tik recipe be as good as authentic?

That’s easy! The ingredients are pretty much the same as the authentic ambot tik recipes out there.

The only difference is that this one uses a curry house style base sauce.

Given the fact that curry houses are still much more popular than authentic Indian restaurants in the UK, you might just prefer this halibut ambot tik recipe to others out there.

As the sauce cooks down it caramelises to the the pan. This is then scraped back into the pan for additional flavour. Really… you have to try this ambot tik recipe!

Do I have to use halibut?


One of the dishes I have to order every time I go to Goa is shark anbot tik. Sitting at restaurants on the sea, you can watch the fishermen bring in their catch which always includes a few baby sharks which are used in this simple and delicious curry.

Fresh shark isn’t easy to come by where I live so I opted for halibut. You could use any meaty fish such as cod, codling or haddock. 

Special ingredients used…

There are a few special ingredients used in this ambot tik recipe. A couple are used in authentic ambot tik curries and the others are used in curry house style curries.

Kokum berries can be found online and at Asian grocers. These impart a sour, slightly smoky flavour to the curry and are used a lot in south Indian seafood curries. If you have trouble sourcing them, you could just add tamarind pulp or concentrate to taste.

You will find my base sauce recipe here. Another curry house ingredient that is used all over the UK is mixed powder. It is prepared like this.

If you don’t want to make it yourself, you could just use a good quality curry powder.

The chilli paste and garlic and ginger paste are simply that. Pastes. Blend the ingredients into a paste. If you would rather, go ahead and finely chop these ingredients. 

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for the ambot tik recipe

When cooking restaurant style, it’s always a good idea to get all of your ingredients ready so you don’t have to look for things when you cook.

Starting the curry off.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and stir in the chopped onion.

Adding garlic and ginger paste and chilli paste to pan

Fry for about 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent and then stir in the garlic and ginger paste and chilli paste. Fry for a further 30 seconds.

Adding ground spices to pan

Now add the ground spices. You are in control here. Adjust these to taste.

Adding tomato puree to pan

Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer.

Adding base sauce.

With the tomato puree simmering away, stir in about half of the base sauce and bring to a bubble.

Adding fish, kokum and tamarind to pan

Continue adding base sauce as it simmers down. Then stir in the kokum berries with the water they soaked in, the tamarind and fish.

Finished ambot tik recipe

Continue to simmer until you are happy with the sauce consistency but be careful not to overcook the fish.

If you like this BIR ambot tik recipe, you might like to try some of these too…

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Korma
Chicken Dhansak
Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb Vindaloo
Chicken Chilli Garlic
Chicken Patia
Lamb Bhuna

Finished halibut curry

You might also like this with swordfish!

ambot tik curry

Dig in!

Yield: 2

BIR Halibut Ambot Tik

Finished ambot tik recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp mixed powder
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) base sauce
  • ½ tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 3 kokum berries, soaked in 125ml (1/2 cup) hot water for ten minutes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lime, quartered to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. When visibly hot, stir in the chopped onion and fry for about 3 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger paste and the chilli paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Now add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Then add about half of the base curry sauce and bring that up to a simmer too. As the base cooks down, add more, only stirring if the sauce is sticking to the pan.
  4. Stir in the tamarind and kokum berries along with half of the soaking water and bring to a rolling simmer. If you prefer more sauce, add more base sauce or more of the soaking water which will give you a more sour flavour.
  5. Cook the sauce down until you are happy with the consistency. Just before it is to your liking, add the fish and continue cooking until just cooked through.
  6. Season with salt to taste and serve with rice and lime wedges.

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I hope you enjoy this curry house style ambot tik recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 


Wednesday 19th of October 2022

Hi, the ingredients miss the fish, then the method misses some of the ingredients eg. tumeric, mixed powder and chilli powder. Tasted okay without them - I got to the end of the recipe and they were left over.

Dan Toombs

Friday 21st of October 2022

Thanks for letting me know, I'll fix those errors. Dan

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