Fish Curry in Coconut Gravy- Fish Cooked with Drumsticks-Moringa- Kerala Fish Curry

thrissur style fish curry

Kingfish cooked in a delicious coconut gravy…

I’ve already posted many South Indian recipes for making fish curries. In South India, fish being one of the staple foods can be cooked in different ways, in fact, each district in Kerala has its own signature ways of making fish. Fish curries can be made with roasted coconut or coconut milk or without adding any coconut.

In my hometown, there are 3 popular ways of making fish curry: fish cooked in roasted coconut gravy, fish cooked in ground coconut without roasting the coconut, and fish curry made by cooking in onion/tomato & spices (without the addition of coconut).

This is a slightly different kind of fish curry, an easy-to-make yet delicious fish curry that can be served with rice, idiyappam, appam, chapati, orotti, etc,

For more fish curry recipes, click here.

fish in-coconut gravy

Preparation Pictures

My cooking range is a ceramic flat top, luckily the clay pan is surviving well on it. It’s recommended to place the clay pans over the flame burner.

fish curry

fish in coconut gravy

Fish in Coconut Gravy - Kerala Style Fish Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 People
To grind
  • Shallots- 2 or 4 small/pearl onions
  • Green chilies, chopped-2
  • Ginger, chopped- 1 inch slice
  • Garlic, chopped- 2 large cloves
For cooking
  • King fish, cubed- 8 pieces (or use salmon or pomfret)
  • Morniga or drumsticks, cut into 3 inch long- 10 (optional)
  • Coconut Oil- 1½ tbsp
  • Kashmiri or regular chili Powder- 1½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ⅛ tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  • Crushed fenugreek seeds- ¼ tsp
  • Coconut milk- 1 cup
  • Water- ¼ cup
  • Tamarind extract- ¼ cup, 2 inch fresh tamarind soaked in ¼ cup warm water
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Salt- 1½ tsp
For tempering
  • Oil- 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Shallots or pearl onions, chopped- 3
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
  1. Clean the kingfish well under running water, you could also add salt and lemon juice to remove any fish odor. You can also use salmon or pomfret for making this curry.
  2. In a blender grind the above mentioned ingredients "to grind" to a smooth paste, keep aside.
  3. Soak the fresh tamarind in warm water for 5 minutes, combine well in the water, strain the extract. Keep the extract aside and discard the skin.
  4. Place a claypot or saucepan over medium heat, add oil.
  5. Add the ground paste, saute for a few minutes in oil till the raw smell goes away.
  6. Add curry leaves, combine well.
  7. Add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and crushed fenugreek seeds, combine well and saute for a minute. For less spice add Kashmiri chili powder.
  8. If adding Kashmiri chili powder, curry will have a nice vibrant red color.
  9. Add coconut milk, season with salt.
  10. Let coconut milk come to a slight boil.
  11. Add tamarind juice, combine well.
  12. Add fish pieces and drumstick (if using).
  13. Gently combine well, cook covered over medium heat for 15 minutes until the fish has cooked.
  14. If the gracy is too thick, add ¼ cup warm water to thin down.
  15. Taste and add more salt or chili powder (if you like this curry to be spicy).
  16. Open the lid, cook for 5 more minutes till the gravy thickens.
  17. Don't stir the curry frequently as this will cause the fish to break apart.
  18. Take the pot off the heat and keep covered.
  19. Place a small frying pan over medium heat, add oil.
  20. When the oil turns hot, add mustard seeds let it splutter.
  21. Add small onions.
  22. Saute till onions turn golden brown.
  23. Add fenugreek seeds & curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
  24. Add the tempering over the fish curry, keep it covered for sometime.
  25. Serve the curry along with rice, kappa (Tapioca) chapati, pathiri, orotti, puttu etc.
  26. The fish curry tastes more delicious the next day.
Adding drumstick or moringa is optional.
Pomfret, Sardines, Anchovies, Mackerel can also be added.