Easy Coconut Fish Curry Indian Style

Kerala coconut fish curry made with ginger, garlic, onions in coconut sauce; tangy, spicy and tasty; best served with rice

Kerala coconut fish curry
Total Time (Mins): 
Prep Time (Mins): 
Cook Time (Mins): 

White fish: 200 gm
Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 tbsp
Turmeric: ¼ tsp
Kashmiri Red Chili powder: ½ Tbsp
Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Coconut: 100 gm (scraped)
Water: 2 cups

Yellow Onion: 1 large
Ginger: 2 inch/ 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Garlic: 3-4 cloves/1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Malabar Tamarind: 1 large (soaked)
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: ½ tbsp
Green Chili: 1
Turmeric Powder: ¼ tsp
Coriander Powder: ½ tbsp
Black Pepper Powder: 1 tsp
Dried Fenugreek Powder: ¼ tsp
Sugar: ¼ tsp
Curry leaves: 6-7
Coconut oil to drizzle: 2 tbsp (optional)
Water: 1 ½ cup
Vegetable Oil: 3 tbsp
Earthen vessel to cook (optional)
Salt to taste


Cooking Method: 
Frying, Boiling
Skill Level: 

1) Marinate the fish in ginger-garlic paste, spices and vegetable oil for 30 min

2) Grind the coconut in 2 cups of water

3) Grind onion, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste

4) Soak the Malabar tamarind in ½ cup of water for 20 min

5) Heat vegetable oil in an earthen vessel or a deep bottom non-stick pan

6) Add sliced green chili and curry leaves. Fry for 1 min.

7) Add ginger, garlic and onion paste. Fry on a medium heat till it attains light golden brown color and is aromatic. It starts leaving the sides of the pan when done (approx 5-7 min).

8) Lower the heat. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder, sugar, and salt. Fry for 3-4 min. Remember, salt is added while marinating so add accordingly.

9) Add ground coconut paste, Malabar tamarind (split before adding) and 2 tsp of its soaked water

10) Bring to a boil on high heat. Add more water if curry is thick. Simmer for 10 min on low heat.

11) Add marinated fish and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 min.

12) Add coconut oil. Mix gently. Cover and simmer for 5 min.

13) Remove from heat

Common Mistakes: 

Do not overcook the fish. Stir the fish gently or it breaks apart.


1) Kashmiri red chili powder is less spicy and adds color to the curry

2) For great fish curry, more quantity of ginger and less of garlic is generally preferred

3) The taste of the curry intensifies on keeping as the fish absorbs flavors better. Prepare the curry 4 hrs in advance and re-heat before serving for maximum taste.

4) Boil the curry before adding the fish. The flavor from the tamarind blends well with the curry.

5) Fry the masala for rich texture and taste

Alternative Ingredients: 

1) Substitute Malabar tamarind with tamarind pulp (1 tbsp) or 1 large ripe tomato

2) Substitute onion with 8-9 shallots



Serve hot with Rice, Bread or Indian naan/roti

Dish Type: