Kerala Fish Curry ~ a Malabar coast recipe

Kerala Fish curry recipe

This tangy and spicy fish curry has a unique flavor from the various spices used especially Malabar tamarind

Hello blogosphere and my readers! I am back after what seems like ages (to me..) Therefore, let me bring you this fish recipe, that is extremely popular in the southern Indian state of Kerala but novel to my kitchen. 
Our weekend meals are almost always home-cooked and I try recipes that are unique, some may be time consuming, sometimes slow-cooked but always delicious. On the other hand, weeknight dinners are the quick easy recipes.

AB is always looking up recipes that he is craving. And then brings them to me. “Why don’t you try this?” The same happened with this Kerala-style fish curry. And thankfully, I have a friend who is from Kerala and has a good year’s supply of ‘kudampuli’ or Malabar tamarind in her house from her homeland – one of the key ingredients of this recipe.

‘Kudampuli’ is popular in the Malabar coast of India and is basically a fruit. It is dried and used as a spice to flavor dishes. It lends a sour, tangy and refreshing flavor to any dish. Malabar tamarind complements fish dishes very well.


Malabar tamarind ~ this is how it looks 


Very flavorful…a little goes a long way!

Ingredients you will need:

½ kg fish (about 4 pieces)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ inch ginger, grated
10-12 curry leaves or kadi patta
2 tbsp coconut oil (preferably)
¼ cup small onion or shallots
2 Malabar tamarind or ‘kudampuli’
½ tsp mustard seed
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp paprika or kashmiri red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
5 cups (approx.) water
½ cup coconut milk

Method for cooking:

1) Wash the fish pieces thoroughly, pat dry. Then sprinkle some turmeric and salt all over the fish, mix and keep aside.

2) Boil ¼ cup water and add Malabar tamarind to this. This helps to release the sour taste of the tamarind.  Let the water turn a bit dark and switch off heat. This water will be used in the curry/sauce.

3) In a small bowl, add turmeric and paprika with water, just enough to make a fluid paste.

4) Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and fenugreek seeds along with curry leaves. Let these spices crackle for a few seconds. Add chopped shallots, ginger and garlic and a pinch of salt. Add the turmeric-paprika paste to this. Mix well. Cover and cook this on low-medium heat till mixture turns reddish-brown.

5) Add 4 cups water to this, stir well and bring to boil. Add the tamarind water to this (with the whole tamarind) and stir and boil for a few minutes.

6) To this, carefully add the fish pieces. Now don’t stir with a spatula, fish pieces might break. Just swirl the pan so that sauce/curry covers all the fish. Cover and cook till oil appears on top.

7) Add coconut milk and cook for a few minutes more and then turn off heat. Serve this with steaming hot rice!

Kerala Fish curry recipeKerala Fish curry recipe

Kerala Fish curry recipe steamed rice

This recipe will be a comfort food for many fish lovers..

Fish lovers, you are bound to like this fish recipe! 


6 thoughts on “Kerala Fish Curry ~ a Malabar coast recipe

  1. We used wild-caught rockfish for this recipe and it was delicious. You can use another type of fish just make sure it’s a firm, meaty fish because otherwise it’ll fall apart in the curry. Make this any day for any meal it’s a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s