MEEN KARI (Fish Curry)

Today, if we crave a fish curry, many of us just go to the local supermarket or cold storage, pick up our fish of choice, and we’re ready. But in the days before refrigeration and easy road transportation from the coast of Mangalore or Kerala, it was the Mapilla traders who supplied fresh fish to homes and to the weekly shandy (market) held in small towns and villages in Coorg.

They brought with them a taste of the coast, in the form of sea fish like sardines, mackerel and dried fish and shrimp. Locals eagerly looked forward to the arrival of the “Meen Mapille” with his baskets of fish, and the preparation of a delicious, spicy fish curry paired with akki otti that was sure to follow! Hemalatha Nachappa shares her ‘Meen Kari’ recipe.




½ kg Fish
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
½ tsp Cumin
2 Red Chillies
1 inch Ginger
3 pods Garlic
1 medium size Onion
5-6 tbsp Coconut (grated)
8 grains Fenugreek
1 pinch Mustard
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
1/2 tbsp Kachampuli
Salt to taste

For tempering:


1 tbsp oil

1 pinch Mustard

½ small Onion, finely chopped or sliced

1 small sprig Curry Leaves

To finish:Fissh Curry

A few drops of Kachampuli

1 large Green Chilli


Clean and wash the fish. Marinate the fish with salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and kachampuli. Keep aside for half an hour.

Heat a little oil in a pan. Add coriander seeds, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, onion, red chilli, mustard, coconut and fry. Turn off the stove when the spices become slightly brown. Take care not to burn it. Let it cool and then grind to a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard. When it splutters add the curry leaves and onion. When the onion turns slightly brown, add the ground masala and water. When it starts boiling add the marinated fish. Add salt and kachampuli (3-4 drops) to taste. Slit a green chilli length wise and add to the curry just before turning off the stove.



  1. says:

    August 8, 2014 at 3:16 am

    My husband used to love fish curry I made, but recently has an aversion to it!! He still loves the crab curry I make and prawns.I will try afresh with your recipe.Hope to revive his taste for fish curry!!

  2. Shalini says:

    August 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

    Hi Aslesha, this is an excellent recipe- definitely worth trying. Please do share your crab and prawn curry recipes with us!

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