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Malabar Fish Curry

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So easy and delicious… Malabar fish curry needs to be on your ‘must-try’ list!

Have you ever tried a homemade Malabar fish curry? If not, it’s time you did. I think that one of the most valuable things I learned during my visits to southern coastal India is the low-fat way they cook up amazing seafood curries.

Hardly any oil is required as many of the aromatic ingredients are simply boiled in water to produce a delicious sauce.

Although you can use tamarind concentrate instead of kokum for this recipe, it is traditionally made with kokum and that’s the way I like it most.

Malabar fish curry

What is kokum?

Like tamarind, kokum offers a unique and delicious sour flavour to a curry. It’s weird stuff really but really tasty too.

Usually, it’s just rind of the kokum berry that is used to flavour a sauce. The sour, dried rind is simmered in water with other spices and ingredients giving the sauce an amazing flavour.

The dried kokum once cooked are edible but I wouldn’t recommend biting in to one. Just let them work their magic into the sauce.

Simmering coconut mixture

Simmering coconut, turmeric, kokum and chilli powder.

simmering malabar fish curry

Simmering the sauce to pick up the sour flavour of the kokum.

Adding the fish

You want to add the fish just before serving. Then cook it through and serve topped with the tarka.


The tarka is very important to the flavour of this Malabar fish curry. It is really simple to make and only takes seconds.

The hot oil, herbs, onions and mustard seeds are poured over the cooked fish curry. Then stirred in.

You won’t believe the difference it makes to the flavour. So good!

Making the tarka

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, followed by the curry leaves.

Stirring in onions

Stir in the chopped shallots or onion.

Tarka added to Malabar fish curry

So good!

Finished Malabar fish curry

Dig in!

The finished Malabar fish curry is delicious served with rice. This time I used Matta rice which is one of my favourite varieties.

Looking for other seafood curry ideas? Try some of these…

Hake Curry
Keralan Prawn Curry
Sri Lankan Halibut Curry
Pan Seared Salmon in Saffron Sauce
Salmon Curry with Broccoli and Coconut

Yield: 4

Malabar Fish Curry

Malabar fish curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 150g (11⁄2 cups) fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder

  • 2 tbsp minced ginger

  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped

  • 3 kokum peels or 2 tsp tamarind
  • concentrate
500g (1lb 2oz) cod or other meaty fish
  • like halibut or ling, cut into
  • medium chunks

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
3 shallots, thinly sliced Salt, to taste


  1. Blend the coconut and turmeric into a
    fine paste or powder and set aside. Bring 500ml (2 cups) of water to the boil in a pot, preferably a clay pot if you have one.
  2. Add the coconut mixture, chilli powder, ginger, green chilli and kokum and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the fish and simmer for a further 7 minutes with the pan covered, or until the fish is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the fish or it will fall apart.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium–high heat. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds and
    when they begin to crackle (after about 30 seconds), reduce the heat to medium and stir in the curry leaves and shallots and fry until the shallots are soft and lightly browned.
  5. Pour over the curry. You can leave it as a garnish or stir the infused oil into the curry. Check for seasoning and season with salt if needed.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 18g

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