Kerala Red Fish Curry

Kerala Red Fish CurryThis classic Kerala fish curry is cooked in an earthenware pot that is called a “manchatti” in Malayalam. When I moved to Washington, my mom gave me a small manchatti which I used to cook the fish curry that you see in the picture. You can use any fresh, fleshy fish of your choice to make this dish. The curry tastes best the day after cooking it.

There are many variations to this dish as there are Malayalee homes! I say that because my red fish curry tastes a little different from my sister’s version. I use Kashmiri chillies to give it its bright red color and hot dry red chillies to give the dish heat. You can reduce the number of chillies to suit your taste buds. My son, likes his fish curry to be hot so the curry I make is very spicy.

Kerala Style Red Fish Curry
1 pound fish (any fleshy variety that you like)
14 dry hot red chillies
14 Kashmiri chillies
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 pinch fenugreek seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
3 pieces of Malabar tamarind (puli)
2 cups water
salt to taste

In a small pan add the chillies, coriander, and fenugreek seeds and roast them over medium low heat. When they smell fragrant, remove, cool and powder in a spice grinder. Soak the Malabar tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and dry on a paper towel.

Place the manchatti or pot on medium high heat. Add coconut oil and when the oil is hot add mustard seeds. When they splutter add curry leaves, ginger, garlic, shallots, and the Malabar tamarind. Fry for about 30 seconds and then add the powdered spices. Immediately add 2 cups of water and salt. Stir well and when it boils add the pieces of fish. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until the pieces are done and the gravy thickens.

10 thoughts on “Kerala Red Fish Curry

    • Hi Molly,
      Kerala red fish curry is easy to make so I’m glad you are going to try it. Thank you for your comment and visit again.

  1. Hi Aunty Maggie,
    This looks so delicious! If I have some of the good homemade chili powder, can that substitute for the first steps of frying and powdering the spices? Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes!! My husband will be so happy if I try them out at home.

    • Hi Nina,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, you can use the good chilli powder that you have but I would suggest that you dry roast the whole coriander and fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and powder it. It will add a lot to the fish curry! All the best.

  2. Hi Maggie Aunty,
    I’ve been following your blog regularly. When I was kid I thought your were one of the best cooks I knew :) and always enjoyed eating at your place with Jyoti and Sanjay. I’m definitely going to make this recipe but was wondering if you could share a recipe for kappa as well?
    Thank you.
    Madhavi (your little neighbor from Manipal) :)

    • My sweet Madhavi,

      I am delighted to hear from you. Thank you for writing and for following my blog. It was wonderful to see you and your little baby at Sanjay’s wedding in MA.

      Yes, I will share a kappa recipe with you soon. We had some wonderful times in Manipal and it was great to have you as a neighbor. I remember the delicious mango pickle your mom used to share with us. Do give her my love when you write to her.

      Keep in touch and I love hearing from you.
      Aunty Maggie

        • Oops, sorry Madhavi. My mistake. How is Nilima? Please give her my love as well. Thanks so much for responding so quickly. It was truly wonderful to see you.

          • Aunty, I made the fish curry and it came out very tasty. And it was very easy to make. Definitely saving this and will make it more often. Thank you.

          • Dear Madhavi,

            So glad to hear that you tried the fish curry recipe and that it turned out well. I love hearing comments like this. You made my day!

            Take care and have a wonderful day.

            Aunty Maggie

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