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Kerala Fish Curry

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Kerala Fish Curry is a traditional Malabari dish and is a tad spicy curry. But, most importantly, it has a signature taste of kudampuli (Dried Malabar tamarind) and curry leaves. Make this authentic recipe at home with and without coconut. Here is how to make it.

On weekends I usually like to make rice with dal or some curry.

Hence, I use fish pieces to make Alleppey Fish Curry,  Tomato Fish Curry, Methi Machli, often. But, nothing beats the kottayam style Kerala fish curry with Malabar tamarind. Right?

After all who doesn’t like fish pieces cooked golden brown with a fiercely spicy gravy?

Traditional food from Kerala is very delish and wholesome. This fish curry is one of those.

It is also popularly known as Nadan Meen Curry. We add kudumpulli to it.

Now, kudumpulli is also known as the fish tamarind or Malabar tamarind.

And, that gives this fish curry a very appealing taste and a slight tang and a smoky flavor.

Apart from that, because of shallots and curry leaves, this dish tastes very authentic and refined.

What is Kudampuli?

Kudampuli is an Indian spice that is used to impart sour taste to the dishes. It is a small round shaped fruit and is used in it’s dried form.

“Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia.

Common names include Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as brindleberry, Malabar tamarind and kudam puli (pot tamarind).

The fruit looks like a small pumpkin and is green to pale yellow in color”. – Source

You can find it in Kerala stores in your city or Indian stores in the US. You can also order it online from Amazon.

Pro Tips by Neha

This curry tastes best when made in earthen pot or manchatti. I didn’t have it so I made it in a regular kadai.

Serve this curry at least 3-4 hours after making it. The flavors will mature with time and it will even get more delicious the next day.

If you do not have access to kudampuli, do try the recipe with tamarind and I am sure you will not be disappointed. Kokum can also be added for a Kadampuli like taste.

You may use any fish for making this smoky, pungent curry. I have used Seer fish.

This curry is piping hot red in color because we add loads of Kashmiri red chilli powder to it.

So, it doesn’t get too spicy but still gets the color.

You can always choose to reduce the amount of chilli used as per your liking. I love spicy food and this quantity of chilli suits my taste perfectly.

I have used coconut oil to make this dish as it contributes awesomely to the flavors. However, you may use any other oil that you deem fit.

Plus, mustard seeds, ginger garlic, and fenugreek seeds makes this dish flavourful. Hence, do add them without fail, ladies.

Adding a sprinkling of Kerala Garam Masala at the end makes it even more delicious.

Lastly, serve this fantastic fish curry with a plateful of rice and trust me, you would eat the happiest meal ever of your life.

And, it is all season accompaniment. Therefore, you can make it throughout the year.

Do follow my simple recipe to make it then?

Which fish can be used to make this curry?

I used Seer fish to make this recipe but you can use any fish like pomfret, sardine (Mathi), Mahi Mahi, etc. 

This curry will taste great with seafood like prawns as well.

How to make it with coconut milk?

To make Kerala Fish Curry with coconut milk, instead of adding water in the below-mentioned steps, add 2 cups of thin coconut milk and cook the fish in it.

Serving Suggestions

This curry tastes best with steamed rice. However, you can also serve it with appams or parotta.

Mashed Kappa or Tapioca also tastes great with it. Check out the recipe to make Kappa here.

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Step By Step Recipe

Heat coconut oil in a pan. Make sure to make this curry in coconut oil only as it gives a very distinct flavor to the curry.

Add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them crackle for a few seconds.

Add shallots (You can use sliced onion if shallots are not available), ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry until they turn golden brown. 

Mix coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, pepper powder and fenugreek powder in a bowl.

Add a few drops of water and make a thick paste. Do not add too much water while making the paste otherwise, it will not brown properly.

Add this paste in the pan.

Fry until it turns brown. It will take 3-4 minutes to fry the paste.

Now add 2 cups of water and kudampuli and bring it to a boil. If using coconut milk, replace water with thin coconut milk.

Simmer the heat. Add fish and salt to taste and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let the curry rest for 2-3 hours for the flavors to mature. Heat once more before serving. Serve hot with rice.

Kerala Fish Curry Recipe

Kerala Fish Curry is a traditional Malabari dish and is a tad spicy curry. 

4.18 from 39 votes

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Neha Mathur

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 10-12 Curry Leaves
  • 15-20 Shallots (Sliced)
  • 2 teaspoon Ginger (Grated)
  • 2 tablespoon Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1-2 Green Chilli (Slit into half)
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon Fenugreek Powder
  • 2-3 pieces Kudampuli
  • Salt to taste
  • 600 g Fish

Instructions

  • Heat coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them crackle for a few seconds.
  • Add shallots, ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry until they turn golden brown.
  • Mix coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, pepper powder and fenugreek powder in a bowl.
  • Add a few drops of water and make a thick paste.
  • Add this paste in the pan and fry util it turns brown.
  • Now add 2 cups of water and kudampuli and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer the heat.
  • Add fish and salt to taste and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and let the curry rest for 2-3 hours for the flavours to mature.
  • Heat once more before serving.
  • Serve hot with rice.

Notes

This curry tastes best when made in earthen pot or manchatti. I didn’t had it so made it in a regular kadai.

Serve this curry at least 3-4 hours after making it. The flavours will mature with time and it will even get more delicious the next day.

If you do not have access to kudampuli, do try the recipe with tamarind and I am sure you will not be disappointed. Kokum can also be added for a Kadampuli like taste.

You may use any fish for making this smoky, pungent curry. I have used Seer fish.

This curry is piping hot red in colour because we add loads of Kashmiri red chilli powder to it. So, it doesn’t get too spicy but still gets the colour.

You can always choose to reduce the amount of chilli used as per your liking. I love spicy food and this quantity of chilli suits my taste perfectly.

I have used coconut oil to make this dish as it contributes awesomely to the flavours. However, you may use any other oil that you deem fit.

Plus, mustard seeds, ginger garlic and fenugreek seeds makes this dish flavourful. Hence, do add them without fail, ladies.

Adding a sprinkling of Kerala Garam Masala at end makes it even more delicious.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 880mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1305IU | Vitamin C: 62.6mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3mg
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