Malabar Fish Curry Recipe


Malabar Fish Curry is one of the most popular fish curry made in the Malabar coast region of Kerala which predominantly uses coconut as the base for the fish curry. Malabar fish curry itself is made two different ways. The most popular recipe uses sliced onions or shallots, tomatoes, green chillies, julienned ginger and coconut milk. The second version uses freshly grated coconut, tamarind for sour taste and chillies. Learn how to make the Authentic Kerala fish curry from malabar region with step by step pictures and video and check my Popular Fish Curry Recipe on the blog. 

malabar fish curry servedPin

Malabar Fish Curry

Saturday means fish in the house, Hubby like coconut based fish curry than a curry without it. I wanted to try malabar style fish curry for a long time. It is quite easy recipe to prepare. This curry has coconut as a base, so I know my hubby won’t miss his normal curry.  This curry has ginger added, so it has a mild ginger flavour which was pleasant in this curry. I used a white firm fleshed fish in this and it didn’t have much bone at all, so this curry was really good.

For a tasty fish curry, there should be a perfect amount of salt, spice and tart in it. So taste the curry and adjust the spicy, tangy and seasoning to your taste. My hubby always tells me that fish curry should be extra tangy and spicy, Because when you have it with matta rice it will taste balanced. 

About Malabar Fish Curry 

Malabar fish curry is a Popular Keralan fish curry which is usually made with some kind of coconut base. Some recipes uses coconut milk, some recipe uses freshly grated coconut ground into paste. It is originated in Malabar district in the South Indian state of Kerala. This curry is popular in the coastal region of Kerala where seafood is the staple diet. 

Some of the most popular fish used in this curry is Malabar Mathi | Sardine. It adds a delicious taste to the curry when infused with its flavour. 

Malabar fish curry itself is made two different ways. The most popular recipe uses sliced onions or shallots, tomatoes, green chillies, julienned ginger and coconut milk. The second version uses freshly grated coconut, tamarind for sour taste and chillies. 

There are many variety of fish curry made all across Kerala. Each Region in Kerala makes Fish curry differently. I have already shared so many versions of fish curry on the blog. Make sure to check my most popular Fish curry recipe. 

Some of Kerala Inspired Fish Curry

Kerala Meen Curry

Kumarakom Fish Curry

Kudampuli Meen Curry

Nethili Meen Curry

Fish Moilee

Malabar Fish Curry Ingredients

ingredients for making malabar fish curryPin

Fish – for making malabar fish curry, use firm white fleshed fish like seer fish, king fish or any variety. Clean the fish well, add some salt, turmeric and lemon juice and mix well, this helps removing the fishy smell from the fish.

Coconut – Some recipe uses coconut milk, but we use coconut which is made into a paste for this curry. If you want to curry with coconut milk, I recommend you to try my fish moilee.

Turmeric Powder – Most important ingredient which is rich in antibiotic. It adds a bright yellow colour to the curry. 

Chilli Powder – Sometimes I add 4 to 5 dry red chillies to the coconut when grinding. But using chilli powder is the easy option. 

Ginger – Even though ginger is optional, it adds a mild ginger flavour to the curry which is pleasant. 

Green Chilli – This is optional, but I like to add few slit green chillies for flavour.

Tamarind – You can use store bought tamarind pulp or homemade tamarind pulp. Add little at a time, taste and adjust tamarind amount accordingly. 

Shallots | Sambar Onion – sliced onions is fried in coconut oil till golden brown and added in the end for flavour. 

Curry Leaves – no fish curry is complete without a handful of curry leaves. Fish curry and curry leaves goes well together so use a good handful. 

Coconut Oil – add generous amount of coconut oil for tempering which is one of the main ingredients. I recommend using coconut oil. 

close shot of malabar fish curry recipePin

Two Recipe for Malabar Fish Curry (with Grated Coconut & Coconut Milk)

Using Fresh Coconut

Take coconut and turmeric powder in a blender and puree till it is smooth. Add the pureed coconut in a kadai along with grated ginger, chilli powder, salt, tamarind pulp, green chilli and some water. Bring this to a boil, add in fish pieces and simmer for 8 to 10 mins till the fish is cooked. Now make tempering, and Pour into the curry and serve.

Using Coconut Milk

Heat coconut oil, temper with mustard, curry leaves. Add in sliced shallots, green chillies, chopped ginger, curry leaves, tomatoes and saute. Add in chilli powder, turmeric and mix well. Pour in tamarind pulp, 1 cup water and bring it to boil. Add fish pieces and simmer. Once fish is cooked, finish with thick coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

malabar fish curry recipe with ricePin

How to Make Malabar Fish Curry (Stepwise Pictures)

Coconut Paste

1)Take freshly grated coconut in a blender. Add in turmeric powder and grind into a smooth puree. Add little water at a time and grind into a paste.

Pro Tip: If you are not using red chilli powder and grated ginger in the curry. You can add few dry red chillies and a small piece of sliced ginger into the coconut and make into a paste.

grind coconut to fine pastePin

Make Curry base

2)Add the coconut paste into a kadai or clay pot. Pour enough water to form the curry.

add water to malabar fish curry recipePin

3)Add in chilli powder, grated ginger and mix well.

add chilli powder, ginger to malabar fish curry recipePin

4)Add in green chillies which are slit. Season with salt and mix well.

add green chillies and saltPin

5)Add in tamarind pulp and mix well. You can taste this curry at this point, adjust tamarind and salt accordingly.

add tamarind and mix wellPin

Making Malabar Fish Curry

6)Bring this coconut mixture to a full boil. Once it starts to boil you can add in the fish pieces.

bring the malabar fish curry to full boilPin

7)for making malabar fish curry, use firm white fleshed fish like seer fish, king fish or any variety. Clean the fish well, add some salt, turmeric and lemon juice and mix well, this helps removing the fishy smell from the fish.

add fish pieces and mixPin

8)Simmer the curry for 5 to 8 minutes until the fish is cooked and the flavours penetrate into the curry.

cook malabar fish curry on low heat till fish is cookedPin

Tempering

9)Heat coconut oil in a small tadka pan. Add in mustard seeds and allow it to pop.

heat coconut oil for tempering. add mustard seedsPin

10)Add in sliced shallots, curry leaves and fry till golden brown. You can add few green chillies and juliened ginger at this point.

add sliced shallots and curry leavesPin

11)Pour this tempering into the curry and mix well.

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12)Thats it. your Malabar fish curry is ready to serve.

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13)Enjoy with hot rice such as Kerala Matta Rice.

malabar fish curry ready to servePin

Variations

The most popular recipe uses sliced onions or shallots, tomatoes, green chillies, julienned ginger and coconut milk. Second version uses freshly grated coconut, tamarind for sour taste and chillies.

Here is a simple recipe for Malabar Fish Curry with coconut milk

Ingredients Used

  • 300 grams fish pieces
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 10 shallots, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced in wedges
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 3 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tsp turmeric, salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk

How to cook malabar fish curry with coconut milk

Heat coconut oil, temper with mustard, curry leaves. Add in sliced shallots, green chillies, chopped ginger, curry leaves, tomatoes and saute. Add in chilli powder, turmeric and mix well. Pour in tamarind pulp, 1 cup water and bring it to boil. Add fish pieces and simmer. Once fish is cooked, finish with thick coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Expert Tips

  • Instead of adding chilli powder and ginger separately in the curry, you can add few dry red chillies and a slice of ginger with coconut when grinding. 
  • Use coconut oil for tempering for better flavour and taste.
  • You can add 3 peeled shallots when grinding coconut. 
  • More green chillies can be used if needed.

More Fish Recipes for You to Explore

📖 Recipe Card

Malabar Fish Curry Recipe

Malabar Fish Curry is one of the most popular fish curry made in the Malabar coast region of Kerala which predominantly uses coconut as the base for the fish curry. Malabar fish curry itself is made two different ways. The most popular recipe uses sliced onions or shallots, tomatoes, green chillies, julienned ginger and coconut milk. The second version uses freshly grated coconut, tamarind for sour taste and chillies. Learn how to make the Authentic Kerala fish curry from malabar region with step by step pictures and video and check my Popular Fish Curry Recipe on the blog. 

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Rate

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 275kcal

Equipment

  • Clay pot or Cooking pot

  • Blender

Notes

  • Instead of adding chilli powder and ginger separately in the curry, you can add few dry red chillies and a slice of ginger with coconut when grinding. 
  • Use coconut oil for tempering for better flavour and taste.
  • You can add 3 peeled shallots when grinding coconut. 
  • More green chillies can be used if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servings | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 635IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg

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