Coconut Milk Fish Fish curry Kerala Malabar cuisine Sea food

Malabar Style Fish Curry | Rich Creamy Fish Cooked In Coconut Milk – Kerala Recipe

Finger-licking delicious Malabar-style fish curry…

When it comes to the culinary traditions of South India, one cannot overlook the rich and diverse cuisine of the Malabar region. Known for its aromatic spices, bold flavors, and delectable seafood dishes, Malabar cuisine holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts. In this blog post, I’m going to share the recipe for making Malabar-style fish curry- a dish that captures the essence of the vibrant coastal region.

Malabar is a district in Kerala, located along the southwestern coast of India, and is blessed with an abundance of seafood, thanks to its close proximity to the Arabian Sea.

This fish curry, it’s a combination of fresh fish, coconut milk, spices, and tamarind, resulting in a harmonious balance between tanginess, heat, and creaminess. Each ingredient plays a crucial role in creating a robust and aromatic gravy that elevates the taste of the fish to new heights.

I have to tell you guys, the gravy is finger-licking delish; so rich & creamy. The beauty of this curry is that this can be served not only with rice, but also goes well with kappa-tapioca, appam, idiyappam, puttu, pathiri, orotti & chapati.

I enjoyed this curry with Kappa Puzhukku- Tapioca cooked in coconut, recipe click here

Recipe Courtesy: Spice Eats

Malabar Style Fish Curry | Rich Creamy Fish Cooked In Coconut Milk - Kerala Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 People
  • Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
  • Shallots, chopped- 3 (or add 1 onion, chopped)
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Green chilies, halved- 2
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Tomato, chopped- 1
  • Kashmiri chili powder- 2 tsp (for more spice add 1 tsp regular hot chili powder & 1 tsp Kashmiri chili)
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 2 tsp
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
  • Tamarind juice- ½ cup (2-inch slice fresh tamarind soaked in ½ cup warm water)
  • Thick coconut milk- 1 cup
  • Warm water- ½ cup
  • Fish, cut into pieces- 6 to 8 pieces (sea bass, sea bream, pomfret, king fish, sardines, salmon)
  1. I've taken whole sea bass fish, clean the fish well & rinse under running water, cut into medium-sized pieces. Keep it aside.
  2. You can use literally any kind of fish like salmon, sea bream, pomfret, king fish, mackerel, sardines, etc.
  3. In a bowl, soak 2-inch slice fresh tamarind in ½ cup lukewarm water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, squeeze the tamarind in water to extract the juice, strain the juice & discard the skin. Keep it aside.
  4. Place a clay pan over medium heat.
  5. If placing the clay pan over the glass top cooktop, keep a trivet on the cooktop & then place the clay pan over the trivet, this way clay pan wouldn't crack.
  6. To the hot clay pan, add coconut oil, let turn hot.
  7. Add mustard seeds, let splutter.
  8. Add cumin & fennel seeds, saute for a few seconds; don't burn the seeds.
  9. Add chopped shallots or you can add 1 onion chopped. Season with 1 tsp salt.
  10. Saute for 2 minutes.
  11. Add curry leaves, green chilies & ginger-garlic paste or grated ginger-garlic.
  12. Saute till onions turn golden in color.
  13. Add tomato chopped, saute for 2 minutes.
  14. Add all the spices- Kashmiri chili, turmeric, cumin, coriander powder & ½ tsp salt.
  15. For more spice, you can add 1 tsp regular hot chili powder & 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder.
  16. Combine well, add ½ cup tamarind juice & cook for 2 minutes.
  17. Add 1 cup thick coconut milk, combine well.
  18. Add ½ cup warm water, give everything a good mix.
  19. Let the gravy come to a slight boil.
  20. Add the fish pieces, immerse the fish in the gravy.
  21. Cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes till the fish has cooked through & turns soft.
  22. Don't over cook the fish, it will break apart.
  23. Take the clay pan off the heat & keep it covered for a few minutes.
  24. Enjoy with rice, kappa-tapioca, chapati, puttu, idiyappam, pathiri, orotii, etc.



Thas is the author of Cooking with Thas, a popular food blog with recipes from Indian, American and Fusion Cuisines. She has been blogging since 2009 and been featured in several magazines. Read more...