Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.~Rabindranath Tagore
Oh my goodness, this fish! So much flavor happening here, friends! It hails from Southern India on the western coast and really packs a punch. If you love bold flavors and love fish, this recipe is for you.
Served with Indian lemon Rice, it is the perfect combination.
What is Kerala Fish?
- Kerala is a coastal state on the Malabar Coast the southwestern edge of India. Here, fish and seafood play a more significant role in Indian cuisine (which is traditionally vegetarian) due to its proximity to the ocean.
- Kerala Fish is most often prepared in coconut-based stews and curries. Sometimes it’s fried.
- This recipe is a little twist on traditional Kerala “Fish Fry” utilizing the oven or grill.
Kerala Fish Ingredients:
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds white fish (black cod, sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi, escolar, ono, wild cod, haddock, etc.) whole filet or pieces-thicker cuts are best here!
- garlic cloves
- curry leaves
- chili powder
- yellow curry powder (optional)
- coconut oil (or ghee) or olive oil
- tamarind paste water (or lime juice)
How to Make Kerala Fish (see detailed recipe below)
Here is a basic overview of how to make the Kerala-Style Fish (Detailed instructions are provided in the recipe box below!)
- Preheat the oven or grill
- Make the paste using a food processor
- Coat the fish with the paste
- Roast or grill
- Squeeze with Lime!
Types of fish to use: Here I’m using Black Cod, but other white fish like sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi, escolar, ono, wild Alaskan cod, haddock -whole filet or pieces, work well too. Thicker cuts are best here!
After you spread the flavorful paste on the fish, then either bake it or grill it.
We loved this Kerala Fish served with the Indian Lemon rice… which I will post tomorrow!
If you are a fish lover and appreciate Indian flavors- this recipe is for you.
Wait to make it until you can locate fresh curry leaves– it is the signature ingredient here, so don’t try to replace it. Happy cooking!
1 – 1 1/2 pounds white fish (black cod, sea bass, halibut, mahi-mahi, escolar, ono, wild cod, haddock, etc.) whole filet or pieces (thicker cuts are better here)
- 2 shallots, sliced ( 1/3 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 12 curry leaves
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind water (or lime juice)
- Preheat oven to 375F. (see notes for grilling)
- Pat dry fish, remove any bones, and place on a greased or parchment-lined sheet pan
- Make the paste: Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, pulse again, and repeat, until it becomes a cohesive, thick, paste. It doesn’t need to be smooth. To make tamarind water mix 1 teaspoon tamarind paste with 2 teaspoons water ( just add both to processor)
- Brush the Kerala Paste on the tops and sides of fish.
- Bake until cooked through (12-18 minutes depending on thickness), then broil for a couple of minutes if you like, to get the top golden.
- Optional: In a skillet, sizzle a few fresh curry leaves in ghee for 20-30 seconds until crisp, and spoon over the fish for a pretty garnish.
- Place on a banana leaf if you like and serve with lime wedges, Indian Lemon Rice or Basmati Rice and Raita.
If using very thin fish like tilapia or similar, I recommend pan-searing it on the stovetop in a little oil, so you can “cook the paste” without overcooking the fish.
GRILLED: Feel free to grill the fish ( if it is a fish that will hold together). Grill over medium heat. If grilling a whole filet, lay it down skin-side down on a well-greased grate ( marinade side up). Cover, and cook through until flesh is flaky (test with a fork) 9-15 minutes- time will vary depending on thickness. Using two big metal spatulas place on a platter. If grilling individual, skinless portions, brush both sides with marinade and cook each side 3-5 minutes or until cooked through and flakey.
I’ve also used this flavorful Kerala Paste on chicken before grilling or pan-searing, and on tofu, before baking. Super tasty.
The Curry leaves really elevate the dish (in my humble opinion). Yes, I know they are harder to find. When you do find them, buy extra to freeze so you have them on hand. 😉
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