Kerala Red Fish Curry

For a delicious and distinctive Indian fish dish try Mehernosh Mody's recipe for an authentically flavoured Keralan curry
By Mehernosh Mody
Kerala Red Fish Curry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 30 mins soaking
  • Effort: medium



  • 2 pieces kodampoli, (dried Keralese fruit found in South Indian shops), optional
  • 500 g monkfish tail fillet (or cod, turbot or halibut fillet), cut into 12 pieces
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, plus extra for marinating
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp red chilli paste
  • 400 ml water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1/2 Spanish onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp peeled and finely sliced ginger
  • 1 tbsp peeled and finely sliced garlic


1. If using kodampoli wash it in two or three changes of water. Set it to soak in 50ml of warm water for at least 30 minutes.

2. Rinse the fish, pat dry with kitchen paper and rub in salt and turmeric. Set aside to marinate.

3. Dry-roast the fenugreek seeds for a few seconds in a small frying pan, then grind. Be careful not to over-roast the seeds as this will make them bitter.

4. Mix the fenugreek, chilli paste and half a teaspoon of turmeric together with 50ml of water, forming a paste

5. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan. Put in the mustard seeds and, when they pop after a few seconds, add the curry leaves, onion, ginger and garlic and fry until the onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the fenugreek paste and fry, stirring, for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Add the soaked kodampoli plus its soaking water and season with salt to taste.

8. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens a little.

9. Add the monkfish and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes until the fish is just cooked through, taking care not to over-cook the fish.

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