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  • Writer's pictureJyothi Varne

Fish Curry - Kerala Style

Coastal cuisine is close to my heart. It's the food I thoroughly enjoy during my long holidays, which happens to be a beachside place. My love for fish curry and rice was ignited during my solo vacation at Kovalam Beach. This touristy place is secluded, with a few star properties that dot its black sand shores. A few permanent shacks, quite different from the ones you see in Goa surround the lighthouse beach area and some of them dish out really amazing seafood.

Fresh catch of the day is displayed in front of these restaurants along with their menu, lets you pick and choose your fish and its preparation style. The roaring waves, moonlight dancing through the clouds and an all Brit style lighthouse in the background is a sight to behold!

There are so many variations when it comes to making a fish curry basis the region. But Kerala style is my personal favourite, so much I picked up a book to learn various types of preparations that can be replicated at home. This recipe is adapted from the book " Happiness is a stomach full" by Sreeja Jayaram. If you like collecting cookbooks like me, do add it to your collection, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

This curry is best enjoyed with a generous helping of piping hot rice, appams or neer dosa.

Get ready to have a nice siesta post your meal because it's surely going to be filling and fulfilling to your tummy.

The coconut oil used as a part of this recipe is something that makes it authentic Kerala cuisine. You can replace it however with normal cooking oil since I do understand some of us may not enjoy its flavours. Ideally, this curry is made with pomfret fish, but considering the current situation, I had to do it what was readily available to satiate my cravings for fish curry & rice.


Pomfret pieces - 500gms

Kokum - 3 pods (Soaked in water for a min of 10mins)

Coconut oil - 2 tbsp

Curry leaves - 10

Green Chillies, sliced - 4

Chopped Ginger - 1/2 inch

Garlic cloves, chopped - 6

Chopped shallots - 8

Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Coconut milk - 2 cups

Salt to taste

Ground Masala:

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp

Dried Red Chillies - 6 (adjust basis preference)

Roasted Fenugreek/Methi seeds - 5

Black peppercorn - 5

Tempering :

Coconut oil - 1tbsp

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Curry leaves - 8


  1. Wash your fish pieces, sprinkle a few pinches of turmeric powder and set aside.

  2. Soak the coriander seeds, red chillies and fenugreek seeds mentioned under Masala base in warm water for 15mins. Drain and grind into a thick smooth paste along with peppercorns adding a little water if required. Set aside.

  3. Heat 2 tbsp Coconut oil in a deep pan, add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic and chopped shallots. Fry them on a low flame until the onions are slightly brown.

  4. Add the ground masala base (In point 1#) along with turmeric powder. Saute this mixture until the raw smell disappears.

  5. Next, add coconut milk, kokum and salt to taste. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil, you may add 1/4 cup of water to adjust consistency.

  6. Add your fish pieces, lower the flame and cook with a closed lid on until the meat becomes tender.

  7. Meanwhile in another pan, heat oil for tempering, add your mustard seeds, curry leaves and let them crackle.

  8. Pour this over your gently simmering Fish curry and stir a few times.

Serve hot with rice and papads or crispies of your choice :)

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