Kerala Style Fish Fry (Meen Varuthathu) Recipe

One of my fav food!! This is one item which I find very hard to resist. However, I don't make it that often. I usually go for fish curry. Other day when we went to buy fish, we were lucky to get a fresh catch of king fish. When I was asked whether the pieces should be separated for curry and fry, I didn't think twice. How could I resist the joy of having a fresh neimeen (king fish) fry, its really bad to say “NO” to such simple pleasures of life, isn't it ;)???

Regarding the recipe, I am taking bail in  advance. I don't have exact measurement for this. Sometimes I feel like adding more garlic, sometimes I want to add a pinch of garam masala and so it goes. The recipe given below is the standard one and you can play with it as you like.

Fish Fry 1
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Here is the recipe:

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Kerala Fish Fry (Meen Varuthathu)

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Course: Appetiser, Finger Food, Side Dish, Starter
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 4-5 medium size King fish steaks
  • 1.5 tsp each Ginger & garlic paste
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Whole pepper
  • 1-2 tsp Lime juice
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil


  • Apply little salt and lime juice on the fish pieces and wash it with water. Drain the water. Grind together ingredients listed from ginger- garlic to salt into a fine paste adding a little water. Make gashes in the fish pieces and marinate the pieces with the ground paste. Keep the marinated fish for half an hour. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish pieces.Serve with onion rings and a slice of lime.


Please adjust the qty of spices to suit your taste. The ground paste should not be watery (1/2 – 1 tsp of water is enough while grinding the masala). I usually fry the fish pieces on low-medium flame. Also you can add some fresh curry leaves while frying the fish pieces. You can use the same masala for any kind of fish.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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63 thoughts on “Kerala Style Fish Fry (Meen Varuthathu) Recipe”

  1. Hi Maria, How did you remove the king fish skin?
    I tried your kottayam style fish curry and it turned out to be really gud..Thx – Letha

  2. hello sis,

    Am away from home not yet cooked anything but now i started cooking with your recipes, thanks miss my mom!!!!!!!!!!

  3. hey maria, this recipe will surely be yummy. I prepare king fish fry using the same masalal except dat i also add green chillies & coriander leaves paste.

  4. Hello Maria,

    I tried this recipe today and its the first time I am preparing fish fry… It came out really good and tastes yummy… Thank you so much for the recipe… :)


    • Hi Chinnu,

      You are welcome dear! great to know that fish fry worked out well for you in the first time itself :) Thanks for the comment.


  5. yeah kumbalangi is very famous for seafood recipes. Anyways, I’ll keep in mind your suggestion and hope someday I could get the recipe of the same “_


  6. Hi Maria,

    Would appreciate if you can share the recipe of ‘Thoppumpady Karimeen Pollichathu’ where the fish is cooked without removing its scales.  Heard it tastes awesome.



    • Hi Susan

      I’m hearing about this for the first time :) I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to post it,mainly because I dont eat fish with scales ;)

      However if I ever happen to see/meet somebody who cooks such a dish, I’ll try to get the recipe from them.


      • Fish is fried with scales.refer westbengal recipies
        It gives nice baked taste.and u have to eat hot.
        Remove scales while eating.

  7. hi maria,i tried your some recepies,it was superb,really i want to say thank u 4 u.i will give ur name to my friends.sure.

  8. Happy Easter Maria…

    We started trying from the Konchu Ularthiyathu..and now we are trying everything from your site..Got addicted i should say…And nice way of writing…
    Thanks a lot…

    • Hi Arun & Lekshmy,

      Thanks for the wonderful comment. I’m glad that you are addicted to this space ;) Please keep trying the recipes when time permits…

      Best wishes!


  9. Hi Maria,I got lukcy yesterday and got some fresh king fish while I was walking canal street in China Town and I was on the lookout for some southern recipes to prepare this fish essentially kerela & I stumbled upon your blog :) I am glad I did…you have some amazing recipes here.I am still looking for the fish recipe but thought will leave a comment as I had already come across many other exciting recipes.Thanks!!!

    • Hi Kavita,

      Thanks for dropping in here and also for leaving a lovely comment :).

      Btw, I hope you had a wonderful meal with yummy fish fry. Hope to see you here again.

      Happy cooking!


  10. Hi Maria….
    Thanks for a gud receipe…. Actually im staying with my friends in pune, on weeknds i try some thing in non veg.. I came across your other dishes … Fabulous ..
    Hope i ll try some of your recepies …
    Mean while keep adding and try new things and keep posted …

    • Hi Rakess

      You are welcome! Thanks for your kind words…Please do try some recipes when from here, when time permits. hope you’ll like it too…


  11. thanks Maria.. your recipes are just marvelous and simple even to read on. i try out on your recipes whenever i am doubtful…

    • Thanks Reena. I usually add perumjeera in all meat preparations and not much in fish.

      Will try it next time, Thanks for the tip :)


  12. Maria,
    How do we make ginger garlic paste?
    How much ginger and garlic should we consider? The grocery pastes are really not great.

  13. Hi maria,..
    i’m a great fan of ur site,..the photos of ur receipes are itself mouth watering,..btw what is special for onam
    keep up the good work!!!

  14. Ah, I just love fish fries. We are not used to having fish fried in coconut oil though. At home we just sprinkle the fish with turmeric powder and salt and fry it in mustard oil.

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