Traditional Kerala Style Fish Curry with Tamarind

Fish is a staple in Kerala. And it is usually eaten along with rice. Fried fish or curried, usually makes its way to the menu on special days and Sunday lunches. Fish curry is prepared in different ways in different parts of Kerala. There's the one with coconut milk, then the variation one with tamarind and lastly, the classic fish roast with gravy.

This variation is how usually my grandmom makes it and is best had with kappa or tapioca.


  • 500 gms sardines (8-10 fish)
  • A handful of tamarind soaked in water
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • 3 red chilies
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • Handful of curry leaves

  • Heat some oil in a shallow pan. Saute coriander seeds, red chilies and fenugreek seeds till it turns brown.
  • Grind it into a coarse paste.
  • In a thick bottomed vessel (preferably a mud vessel- as shown in the picture) heat oil, add ginger garlic and green chilies. Cook for two minutes
  • Add the ground masala, turmeric, salt, fish, tamarind and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Let it cook for 10-12 minutes add curry leaves, coconut oil and serve it hot with steamed rice.

Tip: Try it with whole, unpolished red rice or boiled tapioca with it and finish it off with a suleimani (black tea with lemon, mint and basil) .


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