Kerala Fish Curry

Spicy and delicious South Indian curry. Fresh Salmon steak cooked in a spiced shallot, tomato and tamarind based gravy.

You can make this recipe in Instant Pot too but do not use pressure cook, just keep on ‘sauté mode’ and use glass lid to close while cooking.

Using shallots instead of onion gives the gravy a richness. Kashmiri Red chilly powder is commonly used in Indian dishes to give the bright red color and it has less heat compared to regular Red chilly powder. You can buy them at any Indian grocery stores or you can use paprika instead.

I have used frozen ginger garlic cubes in this recipe to speed up the cooking process. Click here to see how to make frozen ginger garlic cubes.

Ginger Garlic Olive oil cubes

—-Kerala style Fish Curry—-

Course: Side dish

Cuisine: Indian

Yield: 5-6 servings

Cooking time:30 mins

  1. Coconut oil- 2 tbsp.
  2. Salmon steak with bone-1 1/2 lb
  3. Shallots sliced-10-15
  4. Medium Tomato chopped-1
  5. Lemon sized Tamarind/Brindle berry-2
  6. Curry leaves-1 stem
  7. Ginger garlic cube- 2
  8. Black Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp. ; cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
  9. Salt- 2 tbsp.
  10. Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
  11. Kashmiri red chilly/Paprika-2 1/2 tbsp
  12. Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tbsp.
  13. Cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
  14. Fenugreek powder- 1/4 tsp
  15. Water- 2 cups


  • Clean and cut the fish into medium size pieces. Marinate them in some turmeric and salt.
  • Wash the brindle berry/ tamarind and soak in 1/2 cup water.
  • Chop the tomatoes, peel and slice the shallots and leave some small shallots whole unsliced, wash and keep the curry leaves and thaw the frozen ginger garlic cubes.IMG_8796
  • Heat a stainless steel pan, add the ginger garlic cubes and some extra coconut oil.IMG_8807
  • On medium heat, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the hot oil.IMG_8818
  • When the mustard and cumin seeds start spluttering, add fenugreek seed powder and curry leaves.IMG_8824
  • After a minute of spluttering, add the shallot slices.IMG_8827
  • Sauté the shallots for about 2 mins, until they are lightly pink and translucent.IMG_8830
  • Now, in goes the chopped tomatoes.IMG_8839
  • Sauté the tomatoes and shallots for another 3 minutes on medium heat until they are soft and cooked and oil starts separating from the mixture.IMG_8850
  • Meanwhile prepare a thick spice paste with all the spices and salt along with few tbsp. water.
  • Lower the heat and pour in the spice paste to the tomato shallot mixture and stir until well combined. You can add few drops of water to combine the masala.
  • IMG_8859
  • Sauté the masala until the raw smell of the spice leaves and the mixture comes together.IMG_8875


  • On medium heat, add 2 cups water and the tamarind pieces. Let it come to a slow boil.IMG_8878
  • Now reduce the heat and add the cleaned fish pieces.IMG_8880
  • Let the fish cook in the curry for about 5-10 mins on medium heat. Check in between and gently turn the sides of the fish pieces. Make sure you dont break the fish pieces.
  • Once the fish pieces are cooked and oil separates to give a bright red color gravy, swirl the pan and do not stir. Turn off the heat. Keep the pan on stove top, covered with a lid.
  • This curry tastes best when it sits covered in the pan for a day or overnight which allows the fat from the fish and the goodness of tamarind and masalas to come together.
    Best served hot with Yuca a.k.a. Tapioca(Kappa)/ white Rice.

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