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Keralan Fish Curry

This Keralan Fish Curry combines perfectly spiced pan fried fish with a rich, creamy mustardy, coconut based curry sauce that quite simply tastes of happiness. We used cod but you can go for whatever fish you have to hand. I think it is one of the finest recipes I have ever created and it is now on a regular rotation in our house. It goes well with either basmati rice or flat breads (we went for a home made garlic naan). Also, the method for pan frying the fish goes for any fish, whether with a curry or not, it is a great way to give fish an extra depth of flavour and a bit of a kick.


For the curry sauce

2 Tablespoons Ghee

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennell seeds

1 Large Onion, finely sliced in half rings

2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 tablespoon English Mustard

250ml fish stock (can use vegetable or chicken if you don't have it)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 birds eye chillies, halved lenghtwise

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander + extra for garnish

1 tin coconut milk (not light coconut milk)

For the fish

2 cod fillets (or whatever fish you have)

3 tablespoons rapeseed oil

30g butter

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

handful fresh coriander, chopped

2 birds eye chillis, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2 people


  1. Start by heating the ghee on a medium to high heat in a large heavy bottomed pot

  2. Add the bay leaves, nigella seeds and fennel seeds and fry for about 30 seconds

  3. Add the onion and fry until starting to brown, about 5 minutes, make sure not to burn

  4. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli powder and turmeric, stir and fry for a further 3 minutes

  5. Add the tomato, stir and fry for about 5 minutes

  6. Add the english mustard, stir and fry for a further 3 minutes

  7. add the fish stock, salt, birds eye chillies, sugar, garam masala, chopped coriander and coconut milk. Stir well and simmer until the sauce has thickened (10 minutes or so, taste the sauce to see if it needs more seasoning before serving)

  8. While the sauce is simmering away, get on to your fried fish. Combine the salt, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, chillies, garlic and one tablespoon of the oil in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine paste

  9. Rub the marinade into the fish fillets

  10. Put a non stick pan on a high heat and add the rest of the oil and butter

  11. As soon as the butter melts, fry your fish. if it is not very thick it will only need a couple of minutes either side, try not to overcook it. If its thicker maybe a bit longer

  12. Spoon the curry sauce onto a plate, place the pan fried fish fillet on top and serve with freshly made naan bread or rice along with the lemon wedges for people to squeeze over the fish

  13. Garnish with a little chopped coriander and enjoy!

The raw ingredients

Almost browned onions

Adding the mustard to the tomato and onion

the fish marinade

the marinaded fish

frying the fish

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