All over Kerala, South India, you’ll find varying versions of meen molee, which is just the most delicious fish curry you’ll ever taste (‘meen’ being the Malayalam word for fish). The recipe doesn’t come with a huge list of ingredients either, so it’s very easy to replicate at home.
During my four months in this beautiful Indian state (a few years ago now!), I ate some wonderful food, mostly vegetarian, but also some super fresh fish dishes. Meen molee was always one of my all-time favourites.
Recipes for Keralan fish curry frequently contain tamarind and tomatoes (I love these versions too), alongside the staple ingredient of coconut milk. This recipe today actually contains neither tamarind nor tomato, but is still an authentic fish curry.
You can use dried curry leaves for this dish, which are readily available in Asian stores. We prefer to buy them fresh from our local Nepali store and then freeze them.
It’s from Atul Kochar’s wonderful book Simple Indian (published by Quadrille) which I highly recommend. It’s a great introduction to South Indian cooking, with a modern twist, offering recipes that are uncomplicated and work every time.
Our household was struck down by colds and flu this week, and this – along with my mum’s magical chicken soup (I really should post that recipe too) – helped clear the airways a bit!
Meen molee (Keralan fish curry)
Around 600g of firm white fish (we use cod loin) or salmon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp coconut oil
Six red or green chillies, sliced in half lengthways
1.5 tsp turmeric and half tsp salt
Handful of curry leaves
Salt to taste
400ml coconut milk
Coriander for garnish
Cut the fish into large chunks and rub the salt (half tsp) and turmeric (half tsp) into the flesh. Set aside.
In a pan heat the coconut oil and fry the onions, chillies and garlic for around 5 minutes. Add the curry leaves and continue to fry until the onions are translucent.
Add the remaining turmeric and pour in the coconut milk and stir until well mixed and heated through. Add the fish chunks and simmer gently for around 5 minutes until the fish is cooked.
Serve with rice, and some coriander to garnish.
It’s really that simple!