Malabar Fish curry (also known as Malabar Meen Kari/Meen Chaar)

This recipe as the name suggests is a delicacy from the Malabar belt of North Kerala. This spicy fish curry is an authentic dish which is relished with rice in South India. The tamarind, in the curry, adds to the tangy flavour of the dish. Some also use ‘kokum’ which is a spice indigenous to India, used in curries as a substitute for tamarind in curries. The kokum imparts a smoky flavour and also adds to the colour of the food. The mild coconut milk, in turn, balances the sourness. Relish this coastal dish with steamed white rice or brown rice; it also compliments the famous dish ‘Malabar Parotta’.


  • ½ kg fish (preferably sea fish)
  • 1 coconut(use half for milk extraction and other half for the grating)
  • 2 big onion
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 2 cm ginger piece
  • ½ garlic pod
  • 3 small onion chopped(madras onions)


  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • Small ball of tamarind or use kokum pieces (6-8)
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ bunch coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp aniseed
  • Few curry leaf
  • 1 big tomato(chopped roughly)
  • 2 tbsp oil


  • Clean and cut the fish into big slices.
  • Peel garlic and grate ginger and grind to paste.
  • Soak tamarind in water.
  • Extract milk from ½ of the coconut and keep aside.
  • Grate the rest of the coconut and roast with aniseed, chopped onions and few curry leaves in 1 tbsp oil till coconut turns brown. Grind this mixture with very little water to form a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the small onions and fry. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté.
  • Now to the ginger-garlic paste add tomato, green chilli (slit), fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, chilli powder turmeric powder and salt. Sauté for few minutes. Add a little water if required.
  • Put in the fish pieces gently and stir gently without breaking the pieces.
  • When the fish is almost done, mix the coconut paste along with coconut milk and add it to the dish.
  • Finally add some curry leaves and coriander leaves. Let it boil once and remove from fire.
  • Serve hot with rice, malabar parottas, dosas/idlis or Indian flat breads.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4-6

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