Kerala fish curry, without coconut

Now, let me give you the recipe which is cherished by all the (non-vegetarian) coastal residents of Kerala, but mainly by the visitors of “kallu-shaaps”(toddy shop). This is always served with toddy, as a side-dish at the local toddy shops. Its also known as “thalennathe meen curry” or 1 day old fish curry, coz its usually not served as soon as its made, its heated and reheated about 2 to 3 times throughout the day that its made and served the next day, by when it would have turned into a deep red shade and definitely irresistible! It’ll most definitely not come out anywhere close to its authentic taste if prepared in any other form of utensil other than a meen-chatti.

Its a spicy red gravy, which isn’t too thick nor too thin in consistency.. It may look a little scary to the weak-hearted folks. You might think that it’ll claim your tongue, but trust me its not so bad, you’ll agree with me once u try it. My dad for one hates any food that’s even close to spicy (or so he claims). Everytime and every meal that mom makes this curry (any given meal is incomplete in our house without it) dad has to crib that it’s so hot that he gets hiccups (he says so for everything which has more than a pinch of chilly in it, but still licks his plate, when we’re not watching!) but he won’t let a day pass when he would not help himself to a handsome serving of the ‘notorious curry’. So here goes…


  • Fish 1/2 kg cut and cleaned
  • Onion 1 sliced
  • Tomato 1 sliced
  • Green chillies 1 or 2 slit in half
  • Ginger 1 big piece chopped
  • Kashmiri chilly powder 4-5 tbsp (Use the non-spicy one which is just for color and texture, DON’T USE THE SPICY ONE IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED QUANTITY!!  If u do, i will not be responsible for any casualties arising from its consumption… & I mean it!!)
  • Hot chilly powder 1 tsp ONLY, coz the kashmiri chilly will have a bit of spiciness in itself, and we’re also adding green chillies
  • Tamarind almost half a handful soaked in hot water and about 1 tea-cup thick juice extracted (its not a a typing mistake, you’ll actually need so much)
  • Turmeric powder 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar 1 tsp (to balance all the flavors)

The fish, it’s called ‘Uluva-meen’ or ‘Kadambe’ in Malayalam, no idea what its called in English.. you can use any other fish of your choice

For seasoning:

  • Coconut oil 4-5 tbsp
  • Garlic 8-9 cloves, crushed
  • Curry leaves 3 sprigs


  • All the ingredients together (except the fish), crush it well with your hands.
  • Then add the fish. Add about 2 cups of water.
  • Simmer for about 1/2 an hour. By then it would be almost a dark red to orange color, and quite thick in consistency.
  • Add the seasoning ingredients directly to the curry. Close lid immediately. Keep aside. Reheat after about 5-6 hours, repeat again in another 5-6 hours.
  • Serve with rice and a couple of ‘’Kaandhari mulagu’ (bird’s eye chilly) . Mash the chillies into the gravy and there you go!! The kallu shop fish curry or 1 day old fish curry is ready to be served.. Enjoy!!