Meen Vattichathu / Spicy Fish Curry

Meen Vattichathu

  Today I am posting my mom’s special fish curry recipe. She made it almost every week while she was here at Seattle with me. Most of my Keralite friends who tasted it always asked for the recipe. If you are a Keralite you might know how hard it is to replicate a good aviyal or fish curry. In fact, a Kerala cook’s culinary skills are judged by his or her aviyal or fish curry preparation. They both are easy to prepare but really hard to  perfect. Anyways follow this recipe closely and I assure you will get a very tasty fish curry.

  My mom has a few tips for this fish curry – 1) Be generous with coconut oil whenever you cook this fish curry 2) Though fish doesn’t need a lot of cooking time, you need to cook this curry for at least 20 – 25 minutes for the flavors to mingle. 3) Use good quality chilly powder that is medium spicy. 4) Use a manchatti / claypot to prepare this and although you can serve this curry right after its done, it is best to wait for a few hours before serving.

   I have already posted the recipe for fish curry here which is similar to this recipe. I just thought of reposting it again instead of modifying the old recipe. Hope you enjoy this and do let me know if you have any questions.

Meen Vattichathu Recipe / Kottayam Style Fish Curry

Ingredients (Serves 4 – 5)

1. Fish – Around 500 gm (I have used wild salmon. You can use king fish, sardines etc)

2. Coconut oil – 3 – 4 tbsp

3. Mustard seeds – 3/4 tsp

Fenugreek seeds – 1 pinch

4. Ginger – 3/4inch, thinly sliced

Garlic – 5 – 6 medium cloves, sliced

Curry leaves – 1 – 2 sprigs

5. Shallots / big onion – 1/4 – 1/3 cup, thinly sliced

6. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Red chilly powder – 1.5 tbsp (Use good quality chilly powder that is medium spicy or you can use a blend of kashmiri and regular chilly powder)

Coriander powder – 3/4 tbsp

Fenugreek powder / uluva podi – 1/4 tsp

7. Kudam puli / gamboge – 2 – 3 or to taste (Wash and soak them in 1/4 cup warm water for at least 15 – 20 mts. Tear into small pieces)

8. Hot water – 1.5 cup or as required

9. Salt – To taste


1. Make a paste of the turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder in little water(around 1.5 – 2 tbsp) and keep aside.

2. Heat 3 – 4 tbsp coconut oil in a claypot/meen chatti or a deep pan at medium heat and splutter the mustard seeds. Add ginger, garlic and saute until they  turn golden-brown. Add sliced shallots/ onion, curry leaves and saute again until onion turns light golden. Bring down the heat and add the chili–coriander-turmeric paste. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes stirring continuously (take care not to burn it) until the oil separates. Add kudam puli pieces, few curry leaves and stir well. Now add about 1.5 cups of hot water and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes. Check for salt. (If the gravy is not sour enough, add the water in which kudampuli pieces were soaked.)

3. Add the fish pieces and a few curry leaves. Swirl the clay pot to mix everything well.  Bring to a boil and cover with a lid.  Cook for 20 – 25 minutes at low-medium or low flame until the oil separates on top, gravy is thick and coats the fish pieces. Switch off. Add some curry leaves. Serve with rice, kappa puzhukku or even idli/dosa. This tastes best after one day.

Meen Vattichathu

Maya Akhil

Wife, Mother, Blogger and above all, an ardent lover of good food. I cook, serve, and eat with almost the same passion. The divine aroma that fills the kitchen when I cook or bake is simply what keeps me going!

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