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Kerala Fish Curry

Kerala fish curry is a very popular recipe of south India. It is such a basic recipe in any household of Kerala. Kerala use fresh sea fish. Fresh sea-fish is hard to find, and even if you find the fish, in stores like Whole Foods, it is quite expensive. Lots of spicy and Kokum are used in this recipe. You may be able to find dried Gamboges in South-Indian groceries or you can replace tamarind. I like all types of seafood and them in different style.

Recently I had tried Kerala style fish curry. It was awesome and mouth watering. It goes best with steamed rice.

kerala fish curry1
King fish (nemeen) – 1 kg
Finely chopped Onion – 3
Gamboges- 4, soaked in 1/4 cup of water
Mustard oil- 4 tbsp, divided
Mustard- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds-1/2 tsp
Coconut milk 1/2 cup
Chopped Tomato (big) 1
Curry leaves – A small bunchkerala fish curry2
Green chilies- 6-8, slit lengthwise
Red Chilly powder – 3 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 1/2 tsp
Salt as taste


Clean the fish well. Marinate fish with turmeric powder and salt for 30 minutes. In a small bowl put all the dried masala powder (chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder). Add   little water to make a paste. So the masala paste is not burn in the hot oil.

Heat oil in a pan Splutter mustard followed by fenugreek seeds. Add green chillies, sliced onion. When the onion color will change, add ginger, garlic paste and 2 sprigs of curry leaves. Saute well.

Add the masala paste. Add chopped tomatoes. Cook this on low fire till the masala is fried & oil starts appearing.

When the gravy is dried completely add thick coconut milk. Add Kudampuli/ Gamboges and water that you used to soak it. Let everything boil and add salt.

Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Do not stir in between. If you feel like doing so, just lift up the entire pan and swirl it. This will prevent fish pieces from getting smashed.

Turn off the gas after 10 minutes. Sprinkle some curry leave on top. Serve with steamed rice.


Here I have used Mustard oil, traditionally it cook in coconut oil.  If Gamboges is not available, you can use tamarind. You can use other fish in the replace of neymeen fish.

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