Coconut Fish curry Kerala

Trivandrum Style Fish Curry With Coconut & Fried Shallots – Kerala Recipe

Fish curry with ground coconut & fried shallots…

Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala, India & my hometown. Fish being the staple food of non-vegetarians in Kerala, every district in Kerala has its own signature way of making fish curry. In Trivandrum, fish curry is made by grinding coconut with some simple spices & fish cooked in the ground coconut, towards the end a tempering is also added. One of the delicious fish curry, enjoyed with rice, appam, idiyappam, puttu, orotti, etc.

I’d never dared to alter the recipe, however the other day I also added fried shallots to the coconut & ground them together. After tasting the curry, I felt I should have done this before. The fried shallots indeed gave this fish curry an amazing taste, it was finger-licking delish.


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Trivandrum Style Fish Curry With Coconut & Fried Shallots - Kerala Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 5 People
For grinding coconut
  • Grated coconut- 1½ cups
  • Kashmiri chili powder- 2 tsp (for more spice add regular chili powder)
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Fried shallots- ½ cup
  • Water- 1 cup
For making curry
  • Ground coconut-shallots
  • Water- ½ cup
  • Green chilies, halved- 2
  • Fish pieces- 6 to 8 (I've added Sea Bass fish)
  • Fresh tamarind extract- ½ cup
  • Curry leaves- 8 leaves
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
  • Moringa or drumsticks- 8, cut into 3-inch slices (or add ½ cup diced eggplant or brinjal)
For tempering
  • Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Dried red chilies, halved- 2
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  1. I've added sea bass fish, fish like salmon, pomfret, king fish, sardine, mackerel, sea bream, emperor bream can also be used for making this curry. Shrimp or prawns can also be added.
  2. Clean the fish & rinse under running water. To remove fish odor, add some salt & lemon juice over the fish, combine well & rinse in water.
  3. If using whole fish, cut it into medium-sized slices.
  4. If using fresh tamarind, soak 2-inch slice of fresh tamarind in ½ cup warm water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, squeeze the tamarind well in water to extract the juice. Strain the tamarind extract & discard the skin. Keep it aside.
  5. Cut Moringa or drumsticks into 3-inch slices. If you don't have moringa, can be skipped.
  6. I've used 4 large shallots, slice them & fry in oil till golden in color. Keep it aside.
  7. To a blender jar, add the above-mentioned ingredients 'for grinding coconut'. Grind to a smooth paste. If you like very spicy curry, add regular chili powder instead of Kashmiri chili powder.
  8. Pour the ground coconut into a clay pan or saucepan.
  9. Rinse the blender jar with ½ cup water, add that.
  10. Add halved green chilies, tamarind extract, fish pieces, curry leaves, salt & moringa; gently combine well.
  11. Place the clay pan over medium heat.
  12. If placing the clay pan over the ceramic glass top cooktop, place a trivet- I use the trivet that came with the Instant Pot. Keep the clay pan over the trivet, this way the bottom of the clay pan won't crack.
  13. Close the pan with a lid & cook for a few minutes till the fish has turned soft.
  14. Don't overcook the fish, it can break apart.
  15. After the fish has turned soft, take the claypan off the heat & keep it covered.
  16. For making the tempering, this is a must add, tempering will enhance the taste of this fish curry.
  17. Place a small frying pan over medium heat, add coconut oil or the oil left after frying shallots, let turn hot.
  18. Add mustard seeds, let them splutter.
  19. Add halved dried red chilies & curry leaves, fry for a few seconds.
  20. Immediately pour the tempering over the fish curry.
  21. Keep the curry covered for a few minutes, this way the aroma of the tempering will infuse into the curry.
  22. Enjoy this fish curry with Kerala matta rice, can also be enjoyed with appam, idiyappam, puttu, orotti, chapati, 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...