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Keralan Fish Curry

This one’s a big hit in our family. The wholesome spices make it so flavourful and so nourishing at this time of year. Full of protein too so a winner in my eyes.

Can be made in advance and reheated so great for days when you need to come in and have something ready. Don’t be put off by the ingredients list. Once you’ve made it once, it’s super easy to make.

Fish Paste for the grilled fish

  • 5 frozen or fresh cod/haddock loins. Check the packet for various cooking times

  • 1 tbsp oil

  • Juice of one lemon

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of chilli

  • Pinch of turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp minced garlic/ 1 clove minced

For the curry base

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 1 small chopped onion

  • 2 inch piece fresh root ginger peeled and grated

  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped or minced

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds

  • 4 dried hot chillies (or other dried mild red chillies)

  • 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 ½ inch stick cinnamon or dried cinnamon

  • 5 green cardamom pods, seeds only

For the curry sauce

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 2 green bird's-eye chillies, slit lengthways or to taste

  • 2 tomatoes blended or 100ml passata

  • 150ml thick coconut milk

  • chopped fresh coriander, to garnish

  • salt


  1. Make a paste for the fish and rub over the cod loins evenly. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Grill the fish in the oven over medium heat until nearly cooked through. Turn midway so that it is cooked evenly. Once cooked, take out of the oven and leave aside.

  2. Whilst the fish is cooking make the curry paste. Place a frying pan over a low heat and add the ghee, followed by 1 small chopped onion until light golden brown, add the ginger and garlic. Fry for about a minute, then add the remaining base ingredients and fry for 5–6 minutes, or until lightly coloured. Leave to cool, then transfer to a blender, add 3–5 tablespoons water and blend to a fine paste. Set aside.

  3. To finish the Keralan fish curry, place a pan over a medium heat and add the ghee. When hot, add the chillies and let them sizzle for about 10 seconds. Stir in the blended tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the spice paste and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring well, until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the coconut milk, stir well and simmer for a couple of minutes. Gently add the fish loins and Serve immediately or can be gently reheated when it’s time to eat.

  4. Serve with steamed rice, naan or rotli and salad.

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