Malabar Fish Curry / Thenga Aracha Meen Curry / Fish Curry with Coconut Paste

This is a famous and very common fish curry in Malabar area and more specifically Thalassery and Vatakara area. This is prepared using fresh coconut paste along with buttermilk or raw mangoes. Tastes better with raw mangoes. Coconut should be ground as smooth as possible to get a better taste.

My brother is a vegetarian, so my mom used to prepare a vegetarian version of this curry. Just go with the same procedure and do not add fish. We named it as meen-thakkali (meen means fish and thakkali means tomato) as the main ingredient is tomato and not fish in the veg version! This veg version too gets almost the same taste (of course not exactly same ;-)) as Malabar fish curry.


  • Avoli/Black Promphet : 500g
  • Tomatoes : 3 nos.
  • Green chillies : 3-4 nos.
  • Ginger (small pieces) : 3-4 teaspoons
  • Curry leaves : 5-10 leaves
  • Salt : 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk : 1 cup (sour) : This can be replaced with raw mangoes. Take 1/2 a cup of sour cut mangoes.
  • Chilli Powder : 4 teaspoons
  • Turmeric : 1 teaspoon
  • Grated coconut : 3 cups
  • Water : 5 glasses

Step 1:
Cut fish to small pieces and wash thoroughly and keep it aside.

Step 2:
Grind coconut by adding chilli powder, turmeric and 1-2 cups of water and make a very smooth paste.

Step 3:
Cut green chilli length wise and tomatoes to 4 pieces as shown in the picture and keep it aside.

Step 4:
In a big vessel (mud vessel would be the best) add tomatoes and green chillies from step 3. Also add ginger, curry leaves and salt. Add ground coconut from step2, butter milk (or raw mangoes) and also rest of the water and mix well. Check the salt, if it is fine, add fish pieces also from step1.

Step 5: Keep the vessel from Step4 on a medium flame and gently stir if it boils and brims up. You may need to cook for 10-15 minutes or till the gravy is thick. If you use mud vessel, you can switch off the fire little early as the cooking will happen with the heat that remains with the mud vessel.


Yummy mild and tangy fish curry is served best with rice.



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I love cooking and trying out various recipes, and also to come up with ways to achieve good results in reasonable time and effort ? All of the recipes I post here were tried out by me at least 2-3 times (if not a few dozen times) before I was happy with a simple method which gives me good results. Hope you enjoy making these dishes. Would be thrilled if you let me know in the comments how your experiment went. If you have recipe requests for any Malabar dishes, please contact me and I’ll make every effort to get the recipe, try it out and post it here.

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