Keralan fish curry

This is a wonderful, simple fish dish, with chunks of fish cooked in a coconut milk masala. This Keralan dish, meen molee, is typical of dishes from that region, with the heat of the chilli countered by the coconut milk. Further, this very quick cooking is typical, too.

We use cod or kingfish, but any firm white fish will work. Make sure you get the fish boned, and choose fish that can be cut into large cubes. The dish needs to be cooked quickly, without too much stirring as you do not want to break up the fish.

It is very important to allow the mustard oil to cool after smoking out the impurities, otherwise it will be too hot for the spices which will burn.

It tastes at its best straight from the stove. Make sure you do not over-cook the fish.

the recipe

preparation:15 mins
cook:20 mins
total:35 mins
servings:4 servings
calories:398 kcal



  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or karahi over a medium heat, until the impurities smoke off and the oil becomes colourless. Allow oil to cool before next step to prevent spices burning.
  • Add the turmeric and chilli powder and cook for one minute.
  • Add the onions and salt. Cook for three minutes or until onions have softened.
  • Add the ginger, chillies, curry and fenugreek leaves. Mix well and cook for a further two minutes.
  • Add the fish and fry for three minutes, gently tossing to evenly cook.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes, or until fish is starting to flake and the coconut milk has reduced to a creamy consistency. Add water if needed to maintain this consistency.
  • Gently stir in the jaggery and coriander and sprinkle with garam masala.
  • Remove from heat and serve.


  • Ling, kingfish or Spanish mackerel or any other firm white fish could be used instead of cod.
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