Kottayam style fish curry - meen curry

Main Dish
8 servings
20 min
25 min


Number of serving: 8
1 kg fish, sliced and cleaned

2 teaspoons mustard powder

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

2 tablespoons ginger, julienned

1 bulb garlic, each garlic pod sliced into two, lengthwise

10 shallots, sliced lengthwise?

?4 pieces kudam pulli/fish tarmarind/gamboge (sun dried and smoked to a black colour)

2 tablespoons red chili powder

2 sprigs curry leaves

To taste, salt

As required, water

2 tablespoons coconut oil


  • Soak the kudam pulli in a cup of water for atleast 15 minutes.
    Add two tablespoons of water to the chili powder, and make a thick paste.
  • Heat oil in a mann chatti or earthen pot. (Meen curry is always made in an earthen pot in Kerala, which contributes to the flavour of the dish. But you can use a normal non stick pan if you do not have an earthen pot). When the oil is almost smoking hot, add the mustard seeds, followed by the fenugreek seeds.

    Once the mustard seeds have stopped spluttering, add the shallot slices and fry for a minute. Add ginger, and saute till the onions slices are golden brown.
  • Add the chili paste and saute on a low flame for a minute. (Expect to sneeze and cough at this point.) Add the kudam pulli along with water, the sliced garlic, curry leaves and one more cup of water. Mix well. Add salt, followed by fish pieces.
  • Once the curry comes to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered till fish pieces are completely cooked.
  • Do not use a spoon to stir the curry while it is cooking because the fish is very soft. Instead, you can swirl the pot once in a while.
  • The fish curry tastes better the next day, enough time for all the flavours to be absorbed into the fish. Infact, as a rule, fish curry to be served at marriage receptions, is made the previous day itself.
  • Enjoy your fish curry with plain rice or brown rice.


Kottayam Style Fish Curry - Meen Curry, photo 1Kottayam Style Fish Curry - Meen Curry, photo 2Kottayam Style Fish Curry - Meen Curry, photo 3


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