Kerala Style Meen Achar (Fish Pickle)

I've been wanting to share this Kerala Style Meen Achar with you for a long time! In fact, this is one of the most requested recipes too.

I know it took me a long time to share this, but here we are!

Jose's mom is known for her pickles. Mummy's fridge is always stocked with a variety of homemade pickles and her Lemon and dates and Fish pickle are our favorites.

Usually, mummy makes the pickle and I gladly pack them and bring it over. But the last time we visited them, I also joined her while making fish pickle and made sure to write down the detailed recipe.

Finally, after the long wait, here it is for YOU!

Fish Pickle
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Kerala Style Meen Achar (Fish Pickle)

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Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian, Kerala, Keralan
Keyword: Meen Achar, Kerala meen achar, fish pickle, kerala fish pickle
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 500 gms Fish, cut into bite – size cubes (we used king fish) (measured after cleaning)
  • 1 tbsp, sliced Ginger
  • 1 tbsp, sliced Garlic
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 4 Green chilli, sliced
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 cup Boiled and cooled water
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Sesame/gingely oil
  • 1 stem Curry leaves
  • Salt


  • Marinate cleaned fish pieces with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and salt for half an hour.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep and wide pan. Deep fry the marinated fish pieces till it becomes crispy and dark brown in color. (refer notes)
  • Strain the oil used for frying and keep it aside.
  • Add sesame oil to the same pan and crackle mustard and fenugreek seeds. Add sliced ginger, garlic, and green chilli. Fry till golden brown and transfer to a plate.
  • Make a thick paste by adding vinegar to turmeric powder (1 tsp) and chilli powder (1 tbsp).
  • Add ginger – garlic paste to the same oil (sesame) and fry for 2 mins or till the raw smell goes. Add vinegar spice paste to this. Fry for 2-3 mins or till it gets roasted. Add 1 tsp sugar to this. Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup boiled and cooled water to this and bring it to boil. Add fried fish pieces along with fried ginger, garlic, and green chilli. Let it boil.
  • Reduce the flame to the lowest and cook for another 5 mins. Chech for salt and vinegar. If more vinegar is required, boil it before adding to the pickle. Remove from fire.
  • As the pickle cools add the strained oil (oil used for frying fish) little by little. Once the pickle cools down completely, pour the remaining oil (oil used for frying fish) on top. Press down the fish pieces in the bottle, so that oil comes to the top.


Make sure you don't crowd the pan while frying the fish. You can fry it in batches.
Make sure the oil layer is on top of the pickle (if you don't have enough leftover oil, you may take a half cup of oil, bring it to a boil, cool down and add it to the pickle)
The pickle can be stored in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 1-2 months. 
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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