Thursday 9 March 2017

Malabar Style Meen Curry | North Kerala Fish Curry | Kerala Fish Gravy without coconut

North Kerala Style Sardine Fish cooked with pounded shallots, tomatoes and tamarind pulp

This is one gravy that is a family favorite and is devoured by all very happily especially with kappa (tapioca). Now I'm wondering why it took so long for me to post it here :) Maybe I was waiting for a manchatti (earthen vessel) to get a decent & authentic looking pic. Now that is another way of flaunting my new manchatti ;) We were planning to buy one for a long time but the frequent location changes and the difficulty of finding a good potter and a vessel delayed it. And finally it's here !

Ad back to the recipe, this is a hot and tangy fish curry that can be had with rice (esp. matta) and kappa puzhungiyathu (boiled and mashed tapioca) and even idly (I like that combo but not Deeps ;)) The chilly and tamarind ratio that I have used here is in accordance with the taste buds of the family. You can always adjust them to suit your preferences. This recipe does not call for coconut. Do try out and let me know how it turned out !

Recipe Source: Amma

Serves: 3-4 persons

I Took: 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

I Used:

Fish (I used sardines) - ½ kg
Small Onions/Shallots - 25-30 nos (Mine were really small)
Tomato - 1 no
Tamarind - A goosberry sized
Ginger - An inch piece 
Garlic - 4-5 nos
Red Chilly powder - 2 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Coconut Oil - 2-3 tbsp
Mustard  - ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds - ½ tsp
Salt - As Needed
Curry leaves - A sprig

The Way:

1. Clean the fish and cut them into small pieces as required. Add little salt and turmeric powder and keep aside 

2. Soak tamarind in 1.5 - 2 cups of warm water and leave aside for 15-20 minutes. After that extract the pulp out of it and keep aside

3. Peel the shallots, ginger and garlic. Chop the ginger roughly to small pieces. Grind the shallots, ginger and garlic coarsely in a mixer. Just a pulse or two is sufficient. Do not make a paste.

4. Chop the tomatoes to 6-8 pieces. Similar to the shallots, grind them also coarsely in a mixer

5. In a bowl, take the red chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Add 2-3 tbsp water and make a paste and keep aside.

6. In an earthen vessel/kadai/pan, heat the coconut oil. Splutter mustard and fenugreek. Take care not to burn. 

7. Now add the coarsely ground shallots and salt and saute for 3-4 minutes till they turn slightly brown

8. Now add the masala paste and saute. Let the raw smell of the masala go away. Saute occasionally so that it does not get burnt

9. Once done add the coarsely ground tomatoes and saute. Let it cook for around 2-3 minutes

10. Then add the curry leaves. And then the tamarind pulp. Check salt and add if required

11. Let it come to a boil. Now reduce the flame and add the fish pieces. Let it cook for about 10-12 minutes (as required for the fish) and the gravy reduces to a thick consistency as required. Lastly add a tbsp of coconut oil and remove from flame 

Serve with rice, pappad and fish fry ! 



  1. That sauce looks really really GREAT!

  2. this pot is the perfect one for this fish curry...

  3. Nice recipe Chitz....using clay pot makes it so authentic

  4. wow... that is so tempting for a south Indian... looks so delicious


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