Kerala red fish curry (Meen Curry)

The red fish curry has been an all time favorite. It goes perfect with rice or with kappa (tapioca). I introduced my spouse to this and he fell in love with it. And also learnt to make it. Now, fish curry translates to only this one for him!

A guest post from Stalin-


To non-Keralites, this is one scary looking curry, because the color red hints to them that it is extremely spicy. However, fear not, the use of Kashmiri Chilli powder known for it’s bright color and less spice ensures that isn’t the case.

It’s pretty simple and easy, once you try it a couple of times, you’ll find your groove to make it perfect, every single time you make it.


For the paste

3 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/4 tbsp Turmeric powder

1/4 tbsp Black Pepper powder

3/4 cup Water

Salt to taste

For sauteing

3 tbsp Coconut oil

10-12 Curry leaves

3 Green chillies (halved lengthwise)

1 pod of Garlic (cut into long thin slices)

2 inch block Ginger (finely minced)

8-9 Shallots/ Pearl onions (cut into long thin slices)

For soaking

1 Kudampuli (Malabar Tamarind/ Cambodge)

1/2 cup Water


350 gm Fish (non-white meat fish- sliced)

3-4 cups Water


1. Wash the Kudampuli well and soak it in 1/2 cup of water for 10-15 minutes.

Soaking the tamarind helps it soften up and release it’s flavor.

2. Mix the ingredients for the paste in bowl and set aside

Now we move onto sauteing-
3. Heat the coconut oil in pan on medium flame/heat

4. Now add the ingredients listed for sauteing in the order that it is listed. (Use a gap of 30 seconds between each)

5. You can add a pinch of salt to hasten the process. Saute them till you see the shallots/ onions turning a light brown.

6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the paste set aside in step 2.

The heat is kept low at this point so that the waft of smell from the chilli powder cooking doesn’t irritate your lungs.

7. Saute the paste till you see a slight color change to a darker red, and the mix by now will clump into a single ball, which is the expected consistency.

8. At this stage add the remaining water little by little stirring all the while, so as to dilute the paste and mix it in well without any clumps.

We make a thinner gravy at home, you could also keep this thicker by halving the amount of water you use.

9. Increase the heat back to medium and bring the gravy to a boil.

10. Strain the soaked tamarind

11. As soon as you see the gravy bubbling add the fish and the Tamarind into it.

You definitely want to avoid stirring with ladles from this point, to avoid breaking the fish.

If you do feel the need to stir it, lift the vessel off the heat (use the handle or a kitchen towel so that you do not burn yourself) and give a slight swirl and place it back on the heat.

12. Cook for another 5-7 minutes till the fish is cooked.
Once cooked, turn off the heat.

Let the curry sit for a while (10 minutes at the minimum). Patience is key.

The curry is at it’s best after it has rested for a day.

Taste and add salt as needed. If you feel there is enough sourness, remove the tamarind.

Enjoy with rice or Kappa (tapioca)

(Health notes : Besides being tasty, this curry contains a lot of amazing ingredients

Fish – marine collagen which is good for skin and hair

Garlic – lowers unhealthy fats

Turmeric , ginger – anti – inflammatory

Pepper – increases turmeric absorption by the body)

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