Meen Curry

This fish curry is from the state of Kerala, which is at the southern tip of India. Kerala is also known as ‘God’s Own Country.’ I love this simple yet delicious fish curry, and I like to use salmon for the rich flavor. But feel free to use your favorite fish. This curry tastes sooooo much better the next day. ‘Meen’ means ‘fish’ in Malayalam and the curry is cooked in a ‘meen chatti’ or traditional clay pot kept specifically for this fish curry that is used in villages. Cooking in a clay pot over a wood or coal fire adds a unique aroma overall.


  •  1.5 lbs. of salmon fillets, cleaned and cut (use tilapia or catfish or any other fish you like)
  • 2tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2tbsp. garlic paste
  • 5-6 shallots or 2 large red onions thinly sliced
  • 1 green chili slit
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 2-3 sprigs curry leaves / ‘kadipatta’ (found at Indian stores)
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder (or use less depending on your personal spice heat level.)
  • 3 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp. fenugreek powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • Dry red chilly – 1
  • 2.5 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Juice of 1 lime/lemon if needed

Now the fun begins! 

  • Make a paste of the chili, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric powders in a little water and keep aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a pot or a deep pan at medium heat and splutter the mustard seeds.
  • Fry the dry red chili and add the ginger-garlic paste, shallots or onions, green chili and curry leaves, and sauté until they turn golden.
  • Lower the heat and add the chili–coriander-fenugreek-turmeric paste. Sauté for a minute (take care not to burn it) or until the oil starts appearing on the surface.
  • Now add the 2 cups of hot water, salt and the tamarind paste. Bring it to a boil, and check for salt.
  • Add the fish pieces. If the gravy is not sour enough, add lime/lemon juice.
  • Bring the curry to a boil and cover with a lid. Cook at medium-low flame. Stir gently or the fish will break. It generally takes less than 20 minutes to cook the fish.
  • Cook until the fish gets done and the gravy is medium-thick.
  • Add some curry leaves and coconut oil for extra taste and aroma. If there is a lot of gravy, cook for a few more minutes at medium flame without covering it so it gets a bit dry.

How to serve

  • Serve with hot rice.


Use Kashmiri chili powder to make it less spicy. Found at Indian stores.

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