Kerala Boatman’s Fish Curry

The most popular way to experience the Kerala backwaters is on a houseboat (a.k.a Kettuvalloms). You will have the opportunity to reside in a houseboat floating over the beautiful Alleppey and Kumarakom backwaters…all the time enjoying tasty mallu cuisine! The Kerala Boatman’s fish curry is served on these houseboats. It’s a pungent fish curry for those who enjoy that flavor, and if you would prefer a less intense flavor, you have the option of adding some coconut milk. In Kerala, this is best eaten with tapioca or rice. This was prepared in a traditional meen chuttey (earthen fish pot) which adds to the flavor of the fish curry! Hope you try this out:)


  • Prep time – 15 minutes
  • Cook time – 15 minutes


  • Fish (Medium Sized Pieces) – 1/2 kg
    • I use Salmon, but you can use any firm-fleshed white fish also
  • Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds  – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chilli – 2
  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Pearl Onion or Small Onions (Sliced) – 1/2 cup
  • Ginger (chopped) – 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic (chopped) – 1/4 tsp
  • Kashmiri Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
    • Mix the turmeric powder in 1 tbsp of Water. Set aside
  • Water – 1 to 1.5 cups
  • Tamarind – small lime sized ball
    • Take the tamarind and soak it in 1/2 cup of luke warm water
    • Squeeze the tamarind in this water until you have a thick tamarind juice. Let the tamarind pulp rest in this liquid for few minutes
    • Strain the liquid out and use this in the fish curry
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut milk – 1/4 cup (OPTIONAL)


  1. Heat coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chilli and curry leaves
  2. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the small onions, ginger and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown
  3. Add the chilli powder and turmeric water. Saute until the oil separates
  4. Add water, salt and the tamarind juice. Let the mixture come to a boil
  5. Add the fish pieces and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and mix carefully to avoid breaking the fish
  6. Then turn off the stove and pour a fresh tsp of coconut oil on top
  7. Ready to serve:) Meen curry 4

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thehungryballer says:

    Delicious ! Absolutely mouthwatering this looks….
    Thanks for Posting !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alishasulfi says:

      Thank you very much☺️ Hope you try it out sometime…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thehungryballer says:

        I hope the same too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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