Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fish Curry with Coconut

Here’s a simple curry any fish lover would vouch for.This very common dish was prepared during one of my recent visits to Kerala.The curry is as a result of the combined efforts of my mom who cleaned the fish, my sister who assembled the ingredients and helped me prepare the favourite and me who proceeded according to mom’s instructions.

We got ready with: (serves a family of four)

Kanambu Fish/Mullet (we used this) or any other medium sized fish cleaned and cut into chunks - 1/2 kg

Tamarind paste - 2 1/2 - 3 tbsp or fresh extract from a small lemon sized ball of tamarind.
Salt - to taste

To Grind to a smooth paste:

Freshly grated coconut - 2 cups
Chilly powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander powder/malli podi- 2 tsps
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 4 cloves
Shallots/small onions - 4 (to grind) + 2 (to season)

To Season: 

Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/uluva - 1/2 tsp
Shallots- 2 (reserved from above list)- minced fine
Green chilles-2 - slit lengthwise until 3/4th (do not split/separate fully)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

How we made it:

1. Grind coconut, chilly, coriander and pepper powders, garlic, shallots, turmeric and jeera to a smooth paste with some added water.

2. Heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Fry fenugreek for a 2-3 seconds and caremelize minced shallots. Throw in the green chilles and curry leaves.

3. Add the ground paste, tamarind and salt. Half a cup water may be added at this stage if gravy is too thick. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

4. Add the cleaned and cut fish pieces, close and simmer cook for 10 mins. Make sure the curry doesn't have any raw smell of the ground paste and the fish is cooked soft.

5. Serve hot with rice. The curry tastes better the next day. If you add a little extra tamarind, chilly powder and salt and make a stronger curry, it stays well outside refrigeration. I do likewise.


  1. ok now you are making me REALLY hungry :(

  2. I posted a Malay Fish curry at Aroma, not as good as this though. Your's looks delcious, great color!:))

  3. I just had dinner and then i come here and see this fish curry and I am back hungry .
    Just give me a mountain of rice and i will enjoy this fish curry. Super delicious

  4. Hey Bharathy, your fish curry looks very delicious!!!!!

  5. Bharathy, I'm with happy cook, girl. I just stuffed my face with dinner and now I've got a bad craving for fish and it's all your fault! Looks soooooooo yummy! :)

  6. Sis and Sis blogging mouthwatering recipes!!

    I finished breakfast ..wonder why I am drooling over this!

  7. I remember seeing this at Nags' place and drooling, and I am still drooling... Yummmmmm...

  8. barathy ,that gravy looks so tempting and yummy ,lovely fish curry

  9. this is not for me , though i know my husband will be tempted.Once , when in japan he agreed to try a fish dish( having had only kerala fish curry) ..and had to face the consequences... by swallowing the sushi (raw fish) they offered.:)

  10. oh bharathy how i crave for this... wish i could come there right now to have meen kuzhambu and rice. Love meen kuzhambu very much but here in my house i do not prepare non veg... so did not have it for a long time. very nice and tempting

  11. that fish curry makes me rice and fish curry makes a wonderful dinner on a rainy night.....

  12. wow..i love fish..but my hubby doestn't like ....ur version looks great,,,hope he like this one...surely try..

  13. Bahrathy I have a Nice Matters award waiting for you in my Blogg

  14. Kanambe curry!!Mmmmmmmm !!I am drooling over here..Nice picture

  15. Such a wonderful looking fish curry.It looks perfect Bharathi!My mum makes it the same way too.I do not make it here in Switz bz I dont have a manchatti and it tastes horrible when made in a nonstick dish(from experience)

  16. OMG! OMG! Bharathy ... why are you doing this? I just finished my dinner with a crappy pizza and here I am drooling all over your fish curry. LOOKS GORGEOUS!!!!

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  18. what a color..i have my mouth watering already!!

  19. Hello there,
    Tried the fish curry..came out well!thanks for the recipe.
    But i didnt get that sunset colour u have in the pic:-)

  20. My son has come home last week from hostel. He is a fan of Indian curry dishes, which he badly misses there.
    I think this would be just perfect for him. This sounds little rich. And would keep me busy in the kitchen, again.

  21. Hai, you recipes are so tastey.... (Nakkulla Yecchi oooruthuungooo...)I am in us alone as bachalore. So plz give any simple recipes to cook alone in bachalore room. Cos we dont have mixer grinder. so give simple and fast recipies

    Suresh Palanisway

  22. the curry looks yummy. But what is the red color from? The chilli powder?

  23. Thank You AC, :)...the colour of the final curry is the combined effect of redchilli powder(hand picked dried red chillies whose stalks are removed and ground)and turmeric powder..:)

  24. Nice one and sublime.Lemme be a chef for my sweet mom once am on vacation to trivandrum next time...

  25. Thanx Sreejith! :)
    Do make your sweet mom happy when u'r home :)..this is an easy curry to make!...

  26. I am going to try this today itself

  27. I tried this. It was AWESOME.. My husband liked it .. Me too.. Thanks much for the recipe..

  28. what makes the curry red? mine comes out yellow because of turmeric

  29. The curry has an 'Orangish' hue due to the red chilly powder+ turmeric powder in the coconut base..
    Eastern Chilly powder was the one used to make this curry, Priya..
    Sometimes home made or pure(the best quality) chilly powders don't have the red colour as the storebought ones.
    How was the taste?

  30. Thanks for the recipe! Came out pretty well... :) One thing was fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp, which made it a little sour.. I added a little more coconut and a tomato to get past it.. :)

    1. Ansa,

      For 1/2 kg of fish, 2 cups of coconut and other spices, 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds is not overpowering! This is a curry amma makes at least twice a month for years... again fenugreek turns a curry bitter and not sour :).. re-check the amount of tamarind when you make next, pls :)

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Mouth watering pictures and great recipe. I have tried a variation in fish curry listed in:

  33. Beautiful Red Color! The curry looks awesome.

  34. Beautiful Red Color! The curry looks awesome.

  35. Hi Bharathy,

    Thanks for this recipe. I am a vegetarian and grew up as one and am married to someone who enjoys his fish and chicken. So over the past 12 yrs I have learnt to cook chicken and fish for him and now for my 3 yr old daughter. I am thankful to all you cookery bloggers for posting your recipes. I tried this curry last week and it came out good (I am told). While, my hubby enjoyed it, my 3 yr old did not care for it much since it was complex mixture of spices. I live in the UK and she is used to simple, tasty relatively mild food. I was wondering if you have any fish recipes for children that goes a little easy on the spices to share. If so, I would much appreciate you sharing it with us. Thanks.

    Jay aka Kuttybear

    1. This is towards the spicier side jay. Not fit for kids, but for hard core fish lovers..
      Fish molly is a kid friendly recipe and a winner in mine, Jay, i mean in google search among 4,530,000 results by the name of the recipe :) (cough cough)
      its easy to make and mild, provided your kid doesnt hate the flavour of coconut milk...

  36. Terrific recipe! Made a convert of my mostly vegetarian sister whose fish eating was limited to fried pomfret and surmai only. I made this curry with surmai. She liked the smell, decided to try it with dosa... and now wants me to make it again! It really goes well with dosas, by the way. Here's a photograph:

    Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    1. Looks total yum! Can't believe you tried it for the first time and to impress your sister!! How cute! How lucky is your sister :) have perfected the curry!

  37. Tried your Fish Curry.. it turned out awesome. Thanks for sharing.. :)

  38. I miss home cooking, when I was growing up in the Islands, wow, nothing was less, abundance was the word, fruits, seafood, spices..good tasting food...

  39. I could not even imagine that fish curry can be cooked with coconut.writing services It is very interesting combination.


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