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Keralan Fish Curry

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This Keralan fish curry is easy and delicious!

This is one of my favourite Keralan fish curries. In Kerala it is usually made with Kingfish which is difficult to find in the UK. There, it is called Mulagittathu Fish Curry and is known for being a spicy one.

I used cod and found it to be equally as delicious. If you are a spicy food fan, this fiery hot Keralan fish curry is one you have to try.

Make this Keralan fish curry your own…

Although I love a spicy hot curry like this, my family likes their curries a bit more on the mild side. 

So I toned the heat down a bit in the following recipe. There’s no point making a curry that is so spicy no one but the cook will eat it after all. 

Cooking delicious Indian food is all about tasting as you go. Make the Keralan fish curry as the recipe but feel free to top it up with more chilli if you want to turn that zing into a zap.

I used both Kashmiri chilli powder and and Paprika. In the original recipe I learned in Kerala, the recipe was all about the fish and Kashmiri chilli powder. No paprika was used.

This is a bright red curry and using the paprika gave the curry its famous red glow without blowing everyone’s heads off.




Infuse the oil with the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.


Fry the onions for about 5 minutes and then add the remaining ingredients up to the turmeric and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Back when I first started cooking Indian food, I wasn’t all that crazy about seafood curries. I like to taste the seafood without it having to compete with so many different spices.

With this Keralan seafood curry recipe there is no competition. The fish plays a staring role.


Add the fish and simmer, covered for a further 7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

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

Mulagittathu Fish Curry

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 500g cod – cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 ½ tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or coconut oil
  • ½ tsp fennugreek seeds
  • 20 curry leaves plus more to garnish
  • 2 red onions – finely chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
  • 2.3cm (1 inch) ginger - minced
  • 3 green bird’s eye chillies – slith lenthwise
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 generous tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 3 kokums or 2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • Salt to taste


  1. If using kokum, wash and then soak them in 400ml (1 ½ cups) water until needed. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Infuse these ingredients in the oil for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped onions and fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sliced garlic and ginger and fry for a further minute and then add the chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and stir to combine.
  2. Now add the chopped tomatoes and the kokum and the water they were soaked in OR 2 tsp tamarind concentrate and 400ml (1 ½ cups) water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the fish pieces and cook, covered over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. A little more water could be added if you prefer a thinner sauce. Add a handful more curry leaves (optional) and the green chillies and stir them in and then add salt to taste to serve.

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 I hope you enjoy this Keralan fish curry recipe. If you do try it, please don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Friday 19th of March 2021

When do you add the birds eye chillies?

Dan Toombs

Monday 22nd of March 2021

Thanks for noticing, I have amended the recipe. Add them with the curry leaves at the end. Dan

Tim martin

Saturday 18th of May 2019

Hi Dan it would be helpful to know what book you have the recipes in as well Sir ! Hope you and the family are well best wishes Tim

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 29th of May 2019

Thanks Tim

This recipe will be in my fourth book that is out next year. :-)


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