You’ll love this Kerala Fish Curry with Coconut Milk. Wild caught Mackerel Fish cooked with common spices & coconut milk, in a spicy fiery sauce that has a slight tang from tamarind. You can mop up this Fish curry Kerala style endless number of times with hot white rice. Tastes best the next day!
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Watch How to make Kerala Fish Curry
Kerala Fish Curry with Coconut Milk
Today’s Kerala fish curry recipe with coconut milk will never fail to astonish you with it’s stunning taste every single time.
Fiery, spicy & packed with exotic flavors this fish curry is one of it’s kind. For best flavors cook it with extra virgin coconut oil.
And use fishes like Sardine or Mackerel. If they are not readily available than, go for Bass, Mahi Mahi, Trout or snapper.
You’ll love the freshly pounded taste of ginger, garlic and shallots that complement the dry spices so well. Always makes one ask for multiple servings 😀
Also known as Nadan Meen Curry, this Kearala style fish curry is made with pantry staples & traditionally cooked in an earthen pot using Kudampuli popularly known as Malabar Tamarind or Fish Tamarind.
However, if you are not acquainted with Kudampuli or don’t have it handy use a small blob of tamarind. I did just that and could not have been happier with the result 🙂
Moreover, an earthen pot or “manchatti” is a recommended utensil to make this fish curry Kottayam style but it’s not mandatory, you can cook it in your favorite pot as well. I used an earthen pot because I had it handy.
Similarly, if you are looking forward to make Kerala fish curry without coconut milk skip using it and add water instead.
We cannot let go the flavors of coconut milk, it makes the fish curry taste heavenly good.
Let me tell you now that if you are a fish loving family & love making a wide variety of fish curries from various parts of India than don’t miss this Easy Monkfish Curry, Catfish Curry, Instant Pot Tilapia Fish Curry, Indian Salmon Curry, Fish Tikka Masala Recipe, Shorshe Salmon.
Kerala Fish Curry Ingredients
Find the exact measurements on the Recipe Card below
- Fish: We chose Wild Caught Mackerel, guts removed, cleaned and made into 2.5″ pieces.
- Shallots: Replace them with pearl onions or regular onions.
- Ginger Root
- Garlic pods
- Green Chilies
- Dry Spices: Kashmiri red chili powder or deggi mirch powder, coriander powder and turmeric.
- For tempering: Fenugreek seeds or methi and Black mustard seeds or rai/sarson, Fresh curry leaves.
- Coconut milk: Use freshly squeezed or store bought.
- Tamarind: just a small blob soaked in warm water.
- Oil: Extra Virgin coconut oil adds tons of flavor. However, you may swap it with any neutral oil.
Kerala Fish Curry Recipe – Tips & Tricks
- For BEST flavors choose fresh wild caught fish: Sardines & Mackerel are BEST choices for today’s Nadan Meen Curry with coconut.
- Use Shallots for authentic taste.
- Roughly grind the ginger, garlic, shallots & green chilies using a mortar or pestle: You can’t beat or replace the flavors of freshly pounded ingredients. Use a blender instead of a mortar & pestle.
- Use Coconut Oil for authentic taste.
- Do not overuse fenugreek seeds. They might make the fish curry bitter.
- Use Coconut milk. It gives this Nadan Meen Curry the best of best flavors.
- Do not fry the fish. Add them raw.
- Simmer the fish in the curry sauce at low for just 5 mins. This will prevent the fishes from getting over cooked.
- Allow the fish to rest in the curry for few hours before serving: This helps develop the BEST mature flavors.
- If you can, cook the fish curry in an earthen vessel or “manchatti”. The clay pot plays a great role in contributing the excellent flavors.
- Enjoy the spicy fish curry the next day. This tastes the BEST I would say 🙂
How to prepare Kerala Fish Curry step by step?
Steps in words below pictures
Time needed: 30 minutes.
How to cook Kerala Fish Curry?
- Pound the ginger, garlic, shallots
Throw in some green chilies and pound everything together until a into a textured mix and not a fine paste.
- Temper the oil
Sizzle the fenugreek seeds, mustard and the fresh curry leaves for a few seconds.
- Fry the pounded onion, garlic, ginger
Add the pounded mixture and fry very well over medium heat until oil begins to leave the sides of the pot.
- Sauté the Dry spices
Add the dry spices and saute until the raw smell of the spices completely disappears. Sprinkle water to prevent them from getting burnt.
- Add water & bring it to a boil
Pour water and mix well. Cover and just bring the curry sauce to a boil.
- Mix the tamarind and coconut milk.
Add the tamarind soaked water and coconut milk. Mix well.
- Add the fish, cover and cook
Add the washed, cleaned and diced fish pieces to the curry sauce. Mix well. Cover and cook until the fish is cooked through. Took me just 5 mins on medium low heat. Enjoy!
Love Fish? Cook these delicious Fish Curries from Foodies Terminal.
This Recipe is updated with a *VIDEO* for better user experience.
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Prep the Fish
- Clean the fish well, discard the guts and the gills. Wash the fish very well several times in a bowl filled with water. Pat the fish dry with the help of a kitchen towel and with the help of a knife dice the Mackerel into desired pieces. I got 4 pieces from each whole fish. Ste aside the fish pieces.
How to prepare the onion, ginger and garlic for the Nadan Meen Curry?
- Add the diced ginger & garlic in a mortar and pestle and slowly pound it to semi grind the. Add the shallots and the green chilies and pound them all together to form a textured mix and not a fine paste. Looks something like this. Set it aside.
How to prepare Kerala Fish Curry?
- Set an earthen cooking vessel or kadai or a pot over medium high heat and add coconut oil.
- When the oil becomes moderately hot throw in the fenugreek seeds, mustard and the curry leaves and allow them to sizzle just for a few seconds.
- Now, add the pounded onion, ginger and garlic mixture and fry very well stirring continously until oil begins to leave the sides of the cooking vessel. At this time you may add salt. Also, you will begin to get a lovely aroma at this stage.
- Add the dry spices and roast them well until you see streaks of oil appearing. You may sprinkle a few drops of water to help in the roasting process.
- Pour about 1 cup water. Give everything a very good mix. Cover and bring the curry to one boil.
- Open the lid and mix in the tamarind water first and than the coconut milk. Mix well.
- Add the fish pieces. Coat them well with the curry sauce. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the fish pieces are just cooked through. Took be approximately 5 mins.
- Switch off the heat. Allow the Kearala Fish Curry to rest for a while. I love to wait for atleast 2 hours for the flavors to mature. It certainly tastes the best the next day. Enjoy with hot white rice.
- Measuring units used, 1 cup = 240 ml & 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.
- Today’s recipe tastes best the next day. The flavors mature and become lip smacking good.
- Kerala Fish Curry or Nadan Meen Curry profile: Spicy, mildly sour with a subtle fragrance of coconut.
- Best Fishes to use: Sardine or Mackerel. Or else Trout, Baas, Mahi Mahi, Snapper.
- DO NOT use ginger garlic paste ever. It will completely change the flavors of the Nadan Meen Curry and not in a good way!
- Don’t have mortar and pestle? Make that rugged texture mix of onion, ginger & garlic in your mixer grinder. Add the stuffs and just blitz them for a few seconds so that they don’t turn into a smooth paste.
- Use coconut milk with fat that is whole coconut milk for richer better tasting Kerala fish curry.
- Kudampuli Substitute: Tamarind.
- Want to make it without coconut? Omit coconut milk and add 1 cup more water to make the curry sauce.
- Adjust the spices, oil, tamarind according to your taste preferences.
- Want to make it more spicy? Add 1/2 tbsp. red chili powder.
- How to use Kudampuli? Soak the Kudampuli in warm or hot water for 30 mins. Squeeze and discard the soaked kudampuli, use the kudampuli soaked water to make the fish curry.
- Shallots substitute: Use pearl onions or regular onions whatever is handy and available to you.
- STORING TIPS: The Fish Curry Kerala style will last for 4 days in the fridge in an air tight container.
- SERVING IDEAS: We love it with hot white rice or Kerala Style Crepes known as Appam.
Fish Curry Kerala Style- FAQs
Kerala Fish Curry is a spicy fish curry cooked with pantry special spices, with or without coconut milk , using Kudampuli or Malabar Tamarind and contains fresh fishes like Sardine etc.
It’s a distinctly regional fish curry belonging from the state of Kerala, India. Traditionally it is cooked in an earthen vessel known as “manchatti” & with coconut oil.
Skip adding the coconut milk from today’s recipe. Cook the Kerala Fish Curry with water.
You can make Kerala Fish Curry with coconut milk by adding fresh or store bought coconut milk after frying the masalas and adding water to the Bhuna masala.
You can thicken Kerala Fish either by boiling down the sauce and thickening it to the right consistency that you prefer or you may add 2 tbsp. of coconut cream or coconut meat paste.
Kudampuli also known as Malabar Tamarind or Fish Tamarind is a fruit that’s popularly used in the Kerala Cuisine. It’s a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia.
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