Malabar Fish Curry

So… we are meeting after a small break.

This break wasn't planned. In fact, I had put together some recipes for Onam, but with the Kerala floods and all, I didnt feel like posting it. Before we get into the recipe, I wanted to thank you for responding to my last post about the flood.

From what I read and hear, life is getting back to normal in Kerala. However, the situation is still not that good for a large number of people. Hope it gets better in the coming days.

Now, about this recipe. I had posted this recipe long time ago. I was first introduced to this recipe by one of the cooks at my parent's place. This fish curry is quite different from what we normally make at home.

This recipe gives you the taste of northern Kerala. It uses ground coconut and tamarind (instead of cocum) for the sauce. The combination of tamarind and coconut gives a distinct flavour to this dish. It goes very well with rice. As I've told many times before, I'm not a rice fan, but this fish curry with rice is one of my fav combos.

I've updated the recipe with step by step pictures and a new picture of the end product. Hope you give it a try and like it too.

Before we go to the recipe… On more small request related to Kerala floods.

My friend Divya (whose recipes I've shared here) has asked me to share the details of a Harvest Festival organized by their Church (St Gregorios Orthodox Church, Raleigh, NC). They are hosting their annual Harvest Festival (Hearts and Hands for Kerala Disaster Relief Fund) to raise money to support this cause. 100% of the profits will be sent as direct aid to those in affected areas.

This harvest festival will be a perfect family entertainer complete with kids game zone, entertainment,dancing, auction and stellar cuisine. You can see more details about the festival here. If you are anywhere near the place or if you've friends and family in that area, please share this or  join the harvest festival since it's for a good cause. Thanks!

Here is the recipe…

Malabar Fish Curry1 300x200 1
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Malabar Fish Curry

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 2 -3
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 275 - 300 gms Cleaned Fish (Check notes)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 1/4 cups Grated coconut
  • 2 - 3 Green chilli
  • 1.5 tsp Chopped ginger
  • 1.5 tsp Chilli powder
  • A small lemon size Tamarind
  • 4 Small / Pearl Onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil
  • Curry leaves


  • Grind together coconut & turmeric powder with 1/2 cup water for 2-3 mins. Add 1/4 cup water to this and grind for 3-4 mins,till it becomes a smooth paste.
    Step 1 Malabar Fish Curry
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  • Make a tamarind paste by adding 1/3 cup water to it. Add green chilli, chilli powder, chopped ginger & salt to tamarind paste & mix well.
    Step 2 Malabar Fish Curry
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  • Take a Manchatti (clay pot) or a wide pan. Add coconut paste, tamarind paste and 1 cup water to this. Mix well. Bring it to boil. 
    Step 3 Malabar Fish Curry
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  • Add cleaned fish pieces to this. Bring to boil and reduce flame to lowest. Cover and cook for 15 - 20mins or till the fish pieces are done and gravy (sauce) becomes thick. 
    Step 4 Malabar Fish Curry
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  • Heat oil in a pan & splutter mustard seeds. Add sliced small / pearl onion & curry leaves. Stir till the onion becomes brown & pour this over the fish curry. Drizzle some coconut oil. Remove the curry from fire. 
    Step 5 Malabar Fish Curry
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I used pomfret for this recipe. You can use any fish of your choice (it can be kingfish, mackerel, pomfret or even prawns).
Let the curry rest for half an hour, before serving, for the flavours to settle in.
This curry has a thick gravy (sauce). However you can add more water to adjust the consistency. 
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu


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51 thoughts on “Malabar Fish Curry”

  1. Hi Athmaja,

    Thank you very much for your wonderful feedback :) Really happy to hear that you like the recipes here. Please do convey my thanks to your husband too.

    Hope you get to try more recipes from here successfully. Happy cooking!


  2. My mom s not i dcd to make d fish curry…it went out well…n dis s d first time am trying…thaaank u so much….:)

  3. I found this recipe during one of my random searches on the net. I quickly jotted it in my notebook. The curry was the best i ever had and i was feeling so bad that i forgot the source of the recipe, until after a year i found your website and recognized the recipe. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, I am now a die-hard fan of Kerala Cuisine. Please read my blog too. It is where i review restaurants in Bangalore.

    • Hi Melisha,

      Thank you so much dear :) great to know that you are a fan of Kerala cuisines.

      Checked out your website too, great effort! Best wishes for your blog!


  4. hiii mariaaa.. thanks a loooooot dear..i made it today and it was a super duper hit.. my hubby dear who rarely gives good opinion said this is the best fish curry he ever had… That was HUGE coming from him. my BIG thanks to Shruthi too….

  5. hiii mariaaa.. thanks a loooooot dear..i made it today and it was a super duper hit.. my hubby dear who rarely gives good opinion said this is the best fish curry he ever had… That was HUGE coming from him. my BIG thanks to Shruthi too….

  6. I made this right now–am nt very good at clicking the snaps thoh :) :)…it has turned out awesome..thank u..and am sharing the link wid a couple of friends who cn so try the same :) :)

  7. hi maria,
                tried this out …. i added a little fenugreek powder also… tasted great with both rice and rotis…my kids and husband loved it….I’m a doctor but cooking is my favourite hobby… and i love ur recipes                                          thanx a lot maria !

    • Hi Priya,

      You are welcome. Its a pleasure to know that the curry was liked by your family.

      So now I can contact you for some free consultation :)

      Thank you so much for taking time to share your feedback here.


      • hi maria,
                    hope u r fine …u r welcome for free consultations in dermatology…..:-)
                   i tried ur carrot cake…. it was yummy…!!!!!
                                                                    priya (doha)

  8. Hi Maria — tried this out recently and came out well.I used kudampuli in place of tamarind.
    Thanks a bunch!

  9. Hi Maria — tried this out recently and came out well.I used kudampuli in place of tamarind.
    Thanks a bunch!

  10. Maria, though a novice I could manage this recipe and it turned out really great. My husband remarked that it reminded him of his grandmother’s
    cooking which was a great compliment for me. Its superb with palappam!!

    •  Hi Sandhya,

      Thanks dear :)wow!  its indeed a great compliment that your cooking reminded your husband about his grandmom’s cooking. Thanks for the comment too..


  11. Maria you are a legend love your recepie.s I live in Australia and miss kerala food a lot due to the scarcity of kerala restaurants. So we have taken things in our own hands and started cooking kerala dishes and your recepies are a boon indeed.
    keep up the good work


    • Hi Sanoj,

      Its great to know that you find this space helpful. Thanks for the comment :)

      Happy cooking :)


  12. Hi again!

    I made this for lunch today to accompany a fish fry and it was delish! I didn’t have any coconut oil though so i used regular vegetable oil, i guess missed out on the ‘authentic’ taste.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  13. wow… its a good.. one….i made with avoli.. really..taste good…im a bachelor uae.. always..try ur.. menus… thanks..alot again and waiting more from u….

  14. Thanks!
    Just wanted to add a few more comments. The fish available here (the UK) is not very salty – I havent tried many varieties though)Coming from Kannur I am used to sea fish the taste of which I would not get even if I add salt and marinate I suppose. Just wondered if there any suggestions on this..
    I did try a curry the way my wife makes it but the coconut cream I used made it taste a bit sweet. Any suggestions?
    Thanks and regards

    • Hi Bali,

      I dont have much idea about the salty part of it :(

      Regarding the sweet taste (though am not very sure) some suggestions:

      you can try reducing the amount of coconut cream you add. Try adding coconut milk instead of cream, it has a milder taste.

      Hope this helps..


  15. ithe dish is simply great
    i being a kannadiga is not familarized with malabar food
    but my husband is a malabar muslim and he enjoys this curry very much,thank u maria

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