Malabar spice box : Meen Curry

The southwestern coastline of India approximately from the south of Goa to the tip of Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) is referred to as the famous Malabar coastline. Lined with coconut trees, abundant seafood and a myriad of food cultures dot this piece of land.

Me and teeny  tiny coconuts

I had the pleasure of visiting my husband’s hometown of Calicut/khozikhode located in this famous belt this past month which lies in the state of Kerala in India. Khozikhode is a typical Indian beachtown. Humid, balmy weather in the mornings, cool and breezy in the evenings.

As any Indian town/state; this general area has it’s own identity when it comes to food and culture. “Malabar” style of cooking is predominant here. Right from the chilled “Sulaimani”, a spiced black lemon tea with believe it or not Arab influenes to the omni present coconut in almost every dish, “Malabar” cuisine is sure to tantalize your tastebuds.


Here is my rendition of a fabulous fish dish aptly named “Malabar” fish curry, my first of many discoveries which I’m thrilled to share with you.

 To serve 2-3 generously;

1-1.5 pounds of boneless fish cut into cubes( tilapia, king fish, pomphret)

2 cloves of garlic smashed
1/2″ ginger peeled and grated
1 med. sized onion chopped fine
2 med. sized tomatoes chopped fine
1 Tbp tomato paste
2 green chillies chopped
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp of tamarind paste (more as desired)

1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

1/2 cup of coconut milk or 1/4 cup of coconut cream

Heat a tbsp of oil in a shallow pan for a couple of minutes. Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds and let sputter for a minute without burning it. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, onions , tomatoes and half of the curry leaves. Sautee for 3-4 minutes till onions turn translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 4-5 minutes to develop some flavor. Add the tamarind paste and 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the fish pieces one by one. Gently mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the curry leaves. Mix well. Cook for about 10-12 minutes till the fish is white and flakes easily with a fork.

Season with a couple of drops of coconut oil before serving. (Optional)

Restaurant’s version
My version.. pretty close eh ?