Delightful and Quick Tuna Salad in a Curry

A curry in a hurry is something I am always in for. I find making a Tuna salad is lightning fast, but what if I can combine the favors to make a curry tuna salad? That is really exiting. Canned tuna is something I always buy as a part of my big grocery haul. I replenish my stock of canned Tuna, mackerel, and chicken whenever I run low. They are really handy to have on hand for quick meals. whether it is a Tuna salad, chicken salad or wrap, recipes are so versatile.

Jump to Recipe

A quick deconstructed curry dressing with tuna was a recipe I have been wanting to make for a long time with curry powders. This is how I created this tuna curry salad recipe. More I make it; more I find I fall in love with this 10-minute curry that I can make with things I have in hand all the time.

Curry Tuna Salad

Best spices to flavor curry sauce for tuna salad

Unlike fresh fish found at the isle, canned tuna needs entirely different dressing sauce. Flavors need to be lighter and refreshing since canned tuna is already precooked, it is best served minimally warmed up dressed in light spices. This is at least in my opinion.

Tuna salad in a curry

With deconstructed curry sauce with little customizing, this canned tuna curry salad can be as good as yellow tuna curry made from scratch. The right ingredients working together in perfect harmony, without a long simmering period.

Having and working with a little personal prep pantry

Having a prep pantry seemed silly at first, because I live just a couple of miles major grocery stores. Also, this was not something I was really used to growing up. We bought things as needed. It was not silliness once my first baby girl came along.

clear glass jar lot

Having some things ready to go in pantry and having quick meals prepped and frozen helped me stay sane and navigate that time. I got to focus on my baby instead of worrying about chores and cooking. That is really how I opened to the idea. I started doing my own research about how to build little prep pantry. I made mistakes and learned from them. It helped all of us to stay safe indoors for over a year when the Covid-19 lock downs came.

There are lots of great resources on you tube and articles on how to do it without going overboard. It is very important tool or strategy to have for my own convenience, stay out of stay ahead of price fluctuations and such.

In my Sri Lankan home kitchen I always store, rice, pulses for long term. Canned goods like coconut milk, snack beans, canned fish and chicken, tomatoes medium term. Baking supplies, ready eat meals, pre made seasoning pastes, frozen fruit and veggies short term.

Click for some pantry prep tips.

How to make a deconstructed curry sauce for tuna salad

Although I love a good tuna curry made from scratch, I also love tuna salad over toasted bread and on its own for picnic lunches. Way to combine them both for me is to have a deconstructed curry sauce that is easy and fast and will keep well while picnicking.

When I am making a curry salad dressings I often swap coconut milk to yogurt base sauce. It adds extra protein and nutrients stays delicious without oil being separated to give extra creaminess. Also, I use premade curry paste with light sautéing where it needs to ensure Onions and peppers still have little crunch to them and does not overcook to release juices to thin the sauce down. Adding, curry leaves are optional. Herbs like parsley or cilantro if better suited your flavor pallet will work just as well as curry leaves.

curry sauce for Tuna salad

Apart from swapping coconut milk for a yogurt-based sauce and using premade curry blends, I also keep the quantity of sauce scant. Tuna salad only needs truly a little and flavorful sauce to lightly coat vegetable and fish with aroma of the spices. just a light touch of warm delightful sauce against the chilled tuna flacks and crunch of fresh veggies against, deep toasted whole what bread is what I am aiming for all the time.

This is not necessarily a Sri Lankan recipe. This is the tuna salad recipe that I make at my own home using inspirations from my own roots and easily available ingredients that I can buy and keep in my prep pantry. This is a recipe that I have perfected by trial and error. This is a recipe My kids and me love to munch on our summertime picnics. I hope you will try it and let me know how it went. I would love to hear about that.

Tuna salad in a curry

Tuna Salad in a curry

Easy curry sauce for Canned Tuna
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course lunch, Salad
Servings 4 people


  • 2 cans solid white tuna
  • 3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ inch Turmeric root
  • ¼ inch ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder sliced
  • 1 tsp black curry powder
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Oil


Salad Dressing

  • Drain water from tuna cans to a bowl. reserve half a cup from it and discard the rest
  • Pond turmeric root, ginger garlic together, followed by yellow curry powder and black curry powder to make seasoning paste
  • Heat a skillet over medium and warm up the spices in oil add yogurt and saved water from the tuna can. Adding water from the tuna can is optional.
  • Slice curry leaves and green chili thinly and add to the oil. Sauté until color changes
  • Add yogurt black curry powder and give a good whisk. turn the heat off and leave on the stove to for a minute or two to warm the yogurt up and blend the flavors together.
  • gently mix the Tuna flakes in. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.
  • Slice onions and tomatoes thinly, lay down a bed of cabbage leaves / lettuce on a plate and place Tuna salad on the bed of cabbage. Enjoy !


This recipe equally good as a sandwich dressing instead of cheese or mayo in picnic lunches. 
Keyword Canned Tuna salad, Tuna curry