kerala fish curry with whole spices


A friend who hails from the Malabar region gave this recipe to me; it’s one of those treasured family recipes which were passed on by her grandma. They pair this fish curry with ghee rice (rice cooked in clarified butter and aromatic spices), which indeed is an awesome combo… really!

For the preparation, make sure to use coconut oil and Kerala meat masala (I used the Nirapara brand) for that authentic flavor. Here’s my take on the dish, and I believe the taste is pretty much close to what I tasted at my friend’s place. Hope you will enjoy trying this out! 🙂
You need –

  • King fish – 600 grams
  • Shallots, finely sliced – 1 cup
  • Green chili – 3-4 or per taste
  • Garlic – 3 large pods, minced
  • Ginger – 1’inch piece, minced
  • Tomato – 2 medium, finally chopped
  • Coriander powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Meat Masala – 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala powder – ¼  teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Whole spices
    • Green cardamom – 5 nos
    • Cinnamon – 1 stick
    • Black pepper cons – 10
    • Fennel seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Thick Coconut milk – ½ cup
  • Thin coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves – 2 twigs
  • Coconut oil – as required

For marinating

  • Pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Vinegar – 1 teaspoon


How to –

Wash and clean the fish well and pat dry with a kitchen tissue. Now marinate the fish with all the ingredients under “for marinating’ for at least 1-2 hours.

Pan fry the fish till slightly browns on both sides. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add little more oil if required and fry the whole spices till fragrant. Add the curry leaves, ginger and garlic and sauté  for a few seconds. Add the chopped shallots and cook till translucent.

Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, meat masala powder and saute till the oil starts to separate. Add the chopped tomato and cover and cook till the mixture is all mushy. Sprinkle some water if the mixture gets too drain or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the thin coconut milk, salt to taste and bring to a rolling boil. Now add the fish and let it cook for about 10 minutes or till the fish has cooked through. Reduce the heat add the thick coconut milk, garam masala powder, pepper powder and bring to a gentle simmer.

Turn the heat off, add a twig of curry leaves, a teaspoon of coconut oil, cover and let it sit undisturbed for about 10-15 mins before you serve it with  Ghee rice or plain rice.




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