Kerala Fish Curry

Mothers are always special and any Michelin restaurant cannot match a mother’s cooking. My mom is a great cook who enjoys cooking for others and I am sure most of the mothers have that quality. When I was a kid we wouldn’t get paneer, capsicum, mushrooms, bangalore tomatoes in my town and those were like fancy ingredients. Whenever we go Coimbatore, my mom will make sure we stop at the Pazhamudir Nilayam in the stadium and shop to her content on the stuff that we don’t get back in Kangayam. I didn’t know a few kgs of Bangalore tomatoes can make a woman so happy ! She used to try new recipes and made sure we enjoyed restaurant style food at home. If at all there is some good cooking skills in me, I owe it all to her.

We all take inspiration from our mothers when it comes to cooking. I am no different but there are a few women who inspire in the art of cooking, maintaining a kitchen, multi-tasking and never compromise on the cleanliness of the house. Today’s post is about one such woman who I look upto. This is a guest post by my BFF Archana which is a Mothers’ Day special featuring her mom Mrs. Kalpana Mohan. I am a huge fan of aunty’s cooking and indomitable spirit of doing things with ease. Holding a medical career that demanded shifts,taking care of her children who lived away from home for studies she was/is always on her toes. Her cooking and the Rail Nagar flat has a big part in the Madras chapter of my life and I am glad that her recipe is on the blog today 🙂

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-13 at 23.41.07
Mr. and Mrs. Mohan with their grandson Arlen

Scroll down to read the recipe in Archana’s words.

Guest Post by Archana Mohan 

This recipe post comes from a joint love for my mom’s signature fish curry that Priya and I share, we do enjoy her fish fry more, but that will have to wait for another day.

Mom and I enjoy the Kerala-way of cooking immensely although we aren’t from Kerala. She “discovered” the miraculous Malabar Kokum when we first visited Goa several years ago and thus was born this well-loved recipe.

What you need

  • Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – ÂĽ teaspoon
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Chopped onion – 1 (4-5 Shallots add better flavor)
  • Turmeric powder – 1 heaping teaspoon
  • Ginger – 1”
  • Garlic cloves – 5
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Red chilli powder – as per taste
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Kokum rinds – 4 to 5
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1½ teaspoon(for color – optional)
  • Fish -1/5 kilogram (We used Atlantic Butterfish here because that was the freshest catch of the day) 

How to

Prep: First and foremost, clean your fish well with water, rock salt, and vinegar. Ideally, clean away the black guts as well as possible (scissors work good for cutting away the tough remnants), because let’s face it, who wants to have guts in their food? Grind/crush ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Split the green chillies. Cut the curry leaves with a pair of shears (enhances the flavor), save some whole leaves for final garnishing. Soak the kokum in warm water.

Fish Curry 01

  1. Heat oil in a kadai (a mud/clay kadai is the best dish for that earthy flavor), add mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering, add the fenugreek seeds. Once the fenugreek seeds turn brown, add the onions (adding asafetida is optional, but mum highly recommends it for fatty fish and bottom-feeders).

Fish Curry 02

  1. Add turmeric, crushed ginger/garlic, green chillies and the cut curry leaves. Stir to combine and saute well for a few mins on medium flame.

Fish Curry 03

3. Add at least 2 teaspoons of chilli powder (this is a hot and spicy curry) and stir. Add the kokum along with the water. Finally place the fish on top.

4. Add Kashmiri chilli powder, this does not add heat but gives the curry a wonderful color along with its flavor.

Fish Curry 04

5. Add water and the remaining curry leaves on top. Remove from flame. Do not let the fish cook for longer than 4-5 mins if you want do not want it falling apart while serving.

Fish Curry 07


  • Second extract of coconut milk can be added in place of water at the final step.
  • The curry tastes better the longer it sits. If you make it in the morning, it ought to be perfect for lunch.

Hope you’ll enjoyed the post. Wishing all the superwomen a happy Mothers’ Day !! 🙂



2 thoughts on “Kerala Fish Curry

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