Meen Curry is truly an emotion. Specially this kerala meen curry is lip smacking delicious with Kerala red rice. This fish curry is made with onions, ginger, garlic, and few whole spices and spice powders which is cooked in coconut oil. Make this the authentic way with kodampuli or use regular tamarind to create a red viscous curry sauce. Serve it with matta rice or kappa for sensual experience. Learn how to make this Kerala fish curry recipe with step by step pictures and video.
Coming from the coastal town of Tamilnadu, We used to have fish at least three times a week. Every Saturday hubby buys fish for lunch, he insists me is to make this meen kuzhambu which is our hometown recipe. When I am not in the mood for fish curry with coconut, I make this kerala style meen curry. Sometimes I even explore other fish recipes like Goan Fish Curry, Anchovies Fish Curry and my favorite Fish Curry.
About Kerala Meen Curry
Kerala Meen Curry is also know as "Meen Vevichathu" in kottayam side. It is a spicy and delicious kottayam fish curry which is mainly tamarind based and taste so delicious. This meen curry has no coconut, tomatoes, coconut milk or anything. A few whole spices and spice powders. But the main ingredient, unique sour ingredient in this recipe is a tamarind called as kokum | kudampuli. But you can use regular tamarind which is what I used.
This curry will taste so delicious when it is had the next day. So make sure you leave some left to reheat the next day. This curry taste delicious with kerala matta rice, masala tapioca, or kappa puzhukku.
Watch Kerala Meen Curry Video
Meen Curry Ingredients
Fish - for fish curry you can use any variety of fish. Usually fish with bones still intact adds flavour to the curry. But if you prefer boneless you can use them too.
Coconut Oil - This recipe need coconut oil for flavour and taste. So don't skip it.
Whole Spices - fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds is added in hot oil purely for flavour.
Ginger, Garlic - crushed ginger and garlic added to the curry imparts so much flavour.
Onions & Curry leaves - instead of onions your can use finely chopped shallots. make sure it is finely chopped so it melds into the curry.
Spice powders - the thickness for this curry comes from the spice powders added. So use good amount of kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder. Final sprinkling of fenugreek powder and black pepper powder enhances the taste of the curry.
Tamarind - Traditionally kokum is used, but you can use tamarind as well.
Tamarind Vs Kudampuli
Kudampuli is also known as kodampuli, malabar tamarind, gambooge or fish tamarind. It is also called as Garcinia cambogia and has lots of health benefits in them.
In this recipe for kerala fish curry you can use either tamarind or kudampuli. I have used tamarind because it is easy to find by everyone.
Fish curry can be made with wide variety of fresh fish which is available in your place. This recipe can be customised and adapted to your preference. I have made this recipe over 100 times now and used many variety of fish, everything turned out great. Here are some options which I can share. You can use Sardines, Seer fish, Tilapia, Salmon, Anchovies.
Which Oil to Use
I strongly recommend you to use coconut oil. Like most kerala recipes coconut oil gives the nutty fresh aroma to the fish curry.
Roasting Spice Powders
Since this curry doesn't have coconut, The thickness is achieved from spice powder. So you have to use good amount of the spice powder in this also roast it really well for flavour.
Like all tamarind based dishes. This curry gets even more flavourful as it stands. So make this a day in advance. Reheat the next day and serve with rice.
How to Make Kerala Meen Curry (Stepwise Pictures)
1)Start by soaking tamarind. I took some tamarind and soaked it in some warm water for 10 minutes. Squeezed it with my hands and extracted tamarind extract. Traditionally kokum is used, but you can use tamarind as well.
Heat coconut oil in a clay pot. It is also called as manchatti. For authentic taste, You have to cook this curry in claypot for best taste. But you can use regular kadai or pot as well.
2)Add in mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in hot oil. Let the seeds crackle in oil.
3) Add in finely chopped garlic and ginger. Stir fry ginger and garlic for 2 minutes.
4)Add in curry leaves and finely chopped onions. Instead of onions you can use shallots of sambar onion.
5)Add in slit green chillies and stir fry for a minute.
6)Saute the onions till golden brown. If you cover the pot with a lid then the onions is cooked faster.
7)Add in salt and turmeric powder.
8)Mix well. Now the onion mixture is cooked.
Roasting Spices for Meen Curry
9)Now comes the spice powders. You need to add a good amount of spice powders. This curry gets its thickness from the spice powders since it has no coconut or coconut milk added. So add a good amount of chilli powder. I used kashmiri chilli powder, because I can add more chilli powder without being too spicy. Add in coriander powder as well.
10)You have to take your time to toast the spices with the onion. Roast it for at least 5 to 6 minutes till the spices gets toasty and aromatic.
11)After 5 minutes of roasting, the spices looks dark in colour and well toasted. This step is important, so don't skip it. By this time the onions must have turned golden brown and the spices are well roasted.
Making Fish Curry
12)Now add in tamarind extract and water. This meen curry flavour profile is spicy, tangy and salt balanced. Don't add too much water all at once. Add little a time and you can always adjust it later.
13)Bring this curry to a full boil. Once it starts to boil, let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat. Add salt to taste and mix well.
14)Now add in your fish of choice. You can add any variety as you prefer. here I am using paarai meen.
15)Once fish is added in, reduce the flame and cook on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. This ensures the fish absorbs all the sauce and gets cooked.
16)Fish is cooked completely and oil has separated from the curry.
Finishing Touches for Meen Curry
17)Take it off the heat, sprinkle with fenugreek seeds powder and black pepper powder. This is completely for flavour.
18)Kerala meen curry is ready. Make sure the curry sits for few hours before serving for the flavours to meld together.
19)This is how it looks once the curry has sit for few hours. The flavours gets much better as it rests. Enjoy kerala meen curry with hot rice.
More Fish Curry Recipes,
📖 Recipe Card
Meen Curry | Kerala Meen Curry | Kerala Fish Curry Recipe
- 250 grams Fish (any firm white fish)
- 5 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 6 cloves Garlic chopped finely
- 1 inch Ginger peeled, chopped finely
- 2 sprig Curry leaves
- 1 large Onions peeled and finely chopped
- 2 slit Green Chilli
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 2 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 lemon size Tamarind
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seed Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
- 2 cups Water
- Heat oil in a earthern ware kadai. Add in mustard and fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle. Add in ginger and garlic. Stir fry for a minute.
- Add in onions, curry leaves, green chillies and Saute this for 3 mins or so. Cover and cook for faster cooking. Now add in salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
- Now lower the flame and add in kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder. Saute this on low heat for around 5 mins. The spices will get toasted and colour will darken.
- Now add in tamarind pulp and water. Add in salt and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add in fish and mix well.
- Cook this partially covered for 8 to 10 mins on medium high heat. The fish will be cooked by this time.
- Now take it off the heat and add in a big pinch of fenugreek seed powder and pepper powder.
- Now take it off the heat and cover with a lid. Let it sit for 2 to 4 hours for the flavours to develop. You can serve immediately as well, but it will taste wonderful if it sits for a while.Now serve this with boiled tapioca or rice.
If you have any questions not covered in this post and if you need help, leave me a comment or mail me @[email protected] and I’ll help as soon as I can.