South Indian Fish Curry Recipe (Meen Kulambu)

Want the perfect fish curry recipe South Indian style with a delicious coconut gravy and a hint of spice and tartness? Here’s the best step by step South Indian fish curry recipe below, also known as Meen Kulambu in Tamil

To be honest, I never really liked fish curry as a kid. I absolutely hated fish and everything to do with it! I think it was mainly because of fish bones and being scared to swallow one. I think most of us would have faced that fear, right?

Anyway, as I grew up and started changing my taste palate, I started eating fish slowly starting with varieties like Hammour, Salmon, and Sea Bass, and now…well, I almost eat all types of fish!

So, let’s get started and make this easy fish curry Indian style!


How to Make a Fish Curry| Chettinad Fish Curry?

To start with, you will have to make a coconutty sauce by blending in shredded coconut, onions, tomatoes, and garlic.

Then, add your spices to a pan with oil and let it sizzle. Also, add thinly sliced onions and green chili and saute the mixture until the onions turn translucent.

Now, add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder along with salt. The spices are so important in every Indian curry and are the deciding taste factor. Add some more chili powder if you prefer a spicy curry.

To this mixture, add the blended paste of coconut and let it cook for around 15 minutes.

During this wait, heat a small bowl of water and add tamarind to it. Squeeze the ball of tamarind to extract its juice into the water.

Add this tamarind extract into the curry and cook for about 30 minutes. A little tanginess to the curry will ensure that you don’t get the smelly taste of fish.

After about 30 minutes, you will notice that the quantity of the curry would have reduced to half. Now, add your clean and sliced fish pieces into it and cook for 15 minutes more until you see the fish has fully cooked.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice

Which fish for curry should you pick? 

The best fish for fish curry is Kingfish or Mackarel because it is fleshy and you will be able to slice pieces well. You can also use Barracuda or Pomfret but it is also better to use fish with the least amount of bones so it’s easy to eat

Can I make South Indian fish curry without coconut?

This recipe for Indian fish curry uses coconut. If you are allergic or do not like coconut, the alternative is coconut milk powder. Take 1 cup powder diluted in half a cup of water.

To ensure a rich gravy in this case, add 1 big tomato with the onion and spices for frying on a pan.

South Indian Fish Curry Recipe Step by Step


Fish Curry South Indian Style

Sarah & Safiyah
How to make fish curry in a delicious coconut sauce!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • Pot hollow enough to hold gravy
  • Standard Blender


  • 1 kg fish
  • 1 cup coconut shredded
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 big tomatoes
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chili sliced into half
  • 1 small lemon sized tamarind soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin or jeera powder
  • 1 tsp cumin or jeera seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7-8 curry leaves
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish


  • In a mixer, add coconut, 2 onions, tomatoes, garlic and blend to make a fine paste
  • In a pot, add oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion, and green chili and sauté till the onions become translucent
  • Then add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and salt
  • Add the coconut paste to the pot and mix well
  • Let it cook on low flame for 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl add tamarind in hot water and squeeze it to remove its juice in the water
  • Add the tamarind water to the curry and let it cook for around 30 minutes
  • When the mixture reduces to half, add fish and cook for 15 minutes
  • Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice
Keyword Fish Recipes, Seafood


Other Indian recipes with fish: There are quite a few recipes for fish that you can learn and make. The Southern part of India is closer to coastal areas so you will find fish prepared in various ways. Another common dish is a yellow fish curry made with coconut and turmeric, or Goan fish curry is also very popular.

This coconut fish curry resembles Kerala fish curry which may have minute changes depending upon the household

How to prepare Fish Curry for presentation?

Like most Indian dishes, I like to garnish my curries with coriander leaves. This adds a nice pop of color and also gives it a fresh taste.

This king fish curry pairs well with steamed rice or dosa.

If you’re a starter, this is probably the best fish curry recipe you can find as it is super easy to prepare.

Hope you enjoyed this Fish Indian Curry recipe. Do tag us in your creations on Instagram or drop us a message here. We’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Signing off now! xx

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