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Keralan style fish curry

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

I would love to go to India, in particular the southwestern coast - Kerala. The landscape and food sounds like a technicolour dream. In Kerala, the dishes are light and fresh, flavoured with turmeric, ginger and mustard seeds. Coconuts grow everywhere so dishes are thickened with coconut milk & cream. This is my take on a Kerala style curry, it's very mild with perfectly just cooked fish and flavoured with tons of delicious spices. Add chilli if you can not forgo the heat.


Serves 4

Spice mix

  • 2 tbl mustard seeds

  • 1tbl turmeric

  • Tbl fenugreek

  • Tbl garam Masala

  • 2tsp ground cardamon

  • A thumb of ginger grated

  • 1tbl ground ginger


  • 2tbl vegetable or coconut oil

  • 1 tin of coconut milk (full fat)

  • 1 fish stock cube - dissolved in a little water

  • 2 tbl coconut cream

  • 1 tin of tomato

  • 2 limes juiced

  • 3 small or 1 large white onion

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 yellow pepper

  • 3 white fish fillets of your choice (I used sea bass)

  • As many prawns as you can spare (frozen or fresh)

To serve

  • Parsley

  • Spring onion

  • Lime juice


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F

  • Thinly slice white onions

  • Finely chop garlic

  • Slice the yellow peppers

  • Heat oil in a deep wok style pan

  • Fry the onions & garlic on a low-mid heat with the dry spice ingredients, add a little extra oil to stop the spices burning

  • Cook the onions for a good 10-12 mins until softened

  • Add the peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes

  • Add the grated ginger

  • Add the tin of tomato, and stock cube dissolved in water

  • Cook for 5 minutes

  • Add the coconut milk/coconut cream - you could even add grated fresh coconut for an extra coconutty flavour

  • Taste and adjust any seasoning as required

  • Put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes

  • Wrap the fish in a tin foil parcel, add limes, oil, salt and pepper and put on a baking tray in the oven for just 10 minutes (you may need to adjust this if you have big pieces of fish) - you want the fish to be ‘just about cooked’ about 5 minutes off cooked perfectly so it can finish off cooking in the steam of the hot curry

  • Take the lid off the curry and turn the heat down, then place the raw prawns on the top of the curry, carefully along with the whole pieces of fish - be careful not to break it up and don’t stir it in

  • Put the lid back on the curry, make sure the hob is on the lowest setting and leave for 5 minutes, remove the curry from heat and test the cooking of the prawns but cutting on in half to check

  • Take curry off heat, sprinkle with parsley, add lots of pepper, finely chopped spring onions and the juice of a lime

  • Serve with rice or naans!

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