Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Meen Vevichathu
Kerala style fish curry could be made in millions of ways because each household has a recipe of their own! How diverse can we get ? :) This recipe is the way Amma makes Fish Curry at home so it has the Alleppy- Kottayam- Changanaserry style in it and it is DEELICIOUS! I cannot emphasize enough on that because I haven't had many fish curry's which tastes as good as hers.

Now that was the red colour fish curry made with Kokum/Kudampuli. The place I grew up,Kannur, has another take over fish curry. It's yellow in colour and is made with Sambar puli/Tamarind and also has ground coconut in it. Trust me, I can drink that curry and I have done so! It is so tasty but I have never tried my hand at it which I will, very soon! Janu chechy, our maid at home for the last almost 30 years makes the best Kannur Meen Curry/Fish Curry. She is really old and I don't think she can see clearly anymore but when she makes the fish curry, it is just WOW! I also love her 'Pacchadi' and had written it down in my diary as Janu chechy's Pacchadi :-)
Meen Vevichathu

This particular red colour fish curry, which I will refer to as Meen Curry now on is not that easy to master. I think the main problem comes in balancing the 'puli'/tanginess with salt. My first attempt at it was in 10th standard and I produced a decent curry. I don't even remeber how it tasted because along with that curry I had made 33 others too. It was for a competition at the District level from school that I had participated in. We had to cook as many dishes as possible in 3 hours using a Kerosene stove and nutritious ingredients. There was no way that we could use a pressure cooker to speed up the process.It had to be a balanced meal and we had to cook breakfast items, lunch items, 4'o clock tea snacks and dinner items, in 3 hours! I managed to make the most number of dishes (34) which included varitey of Puttu,Fish curries,Sambar,Banana Fritters etc. I don't even remember the list as it was 10 years ago!
Meen Vevichathu
My recent attempt at it for the first time after wedding was a half flop, according to me. I really didn't like the colour of the curry, it was orangish and not the maroon red I wished for. Jobin and his mom said the curry tasted fine but I just couldn't accept that I couldn't cook a basic Meen curry properly! The second time, I paid more attention to it plus Amma's tip of 'sauteeing the masala more' helped tons! I got the beautiful colour and taste since then! So I thought it's time for me to share the recipe and confidence with you all, especially for you guys who are struggling to make a decent Meen curry :-) I know that struggle because I just got over it :-)
Meen Vevichathu
Recipe source: Amma

1.5kg fish (I used King Fish/Neimeen/Aikoora. You can use any fish of your choice)
1 small onion, chopped (If you have access to 'chumannulli'/Shallots use that, maybe 4-5 nos.)
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/Uluva
2 sprigs of curry leaves
11/2 tbsp red chili powder (I use a mix of Kashmiri and Hot chili powder,Kashmiri gives colour to the curry)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp fenugreek powder
4 pieces of Kokum soaked in 1 c warm water (for 10 mins)
1/4 c Coconut Oil (you can substitute it with vegetable/canola oil)
1 c water (optional) for the gravy

Clean the fish thoroughly using salt and vingear and let it drain.
Heat oil and when it is hot add the fenugreek seeds . Let it change colour lightly.
Add the onions, ground paste ,curry leaves and saute till you get a nice aroma (1-2 mins)
Add in the powders and mix well and saute for 5-6 mins till the colour changes to a nice maroon.
Add in the 1 cup water and kokum +water and let it come to a boil.
Add the fish and swirl the pan lightly so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Let it cook till the fish is done. Taste test it.
If you feel it's tangy (a little) , it's okay. Once the fish absorbs it in, it will be perfect.
If you feel it's a lot tangy, remove the kokum pieces from the curry . You can discard them.
This curry tastes better the next day .
Don't refrigerate the curry. Before you go to sleep, re-heat it and leave it to cool.
Next day morning, re-heat the curry again. This way, the gravy might reduce and will end up sticking to the fish pieces, which is heavenly! But if you want gravy, add some water when you boil the curry.

I never refrigerate the curry, I just re-heat it twice everyday till it is over :-)

Verdict: I am person who can live on Meen curry and rice alone and when I asked Jobin if he liked it the same way, he said 'No'! Infact he really doesn't like fish curry at all! I was devastated (exaggerated, I know!)

But remember that half-flop Meen curry I was talking about? He said he liked that curry and I was like,' This one? I made a real sad curry and you like that??'. Now things have changed and he is a convert,if I may say so :-) He likes Meen Curry now maybe not as much as Dal and Ladiesfinger fry!


KrithisKitchen said...

Delicious meen curry.. Want some hot steamed rice now...


Justbeanme said...

WOW!!! Cant wait to try this!!

Justbeanme said...

BTW nice header.. as always

Priya Suresh said...

The picture itself makes me hungry..

Plateful said...

Meen vevichathu is a favorite in my home, eps if it's heavily flavored. Fiery and tangy, that's a delightful combination, elle? Beautiful shots!

archana said...

Now you are killing me, i can absolutely live on fish curry and rice for the rest of my life. Love the color, Ohoooooh !!

divya said...

Woww that's a marvelous fish curry, finger-licking curry for the sure,am hungry now..

Unknown said...

fish curry yummm!!....looks wonderful..I am sure u are good at it now...But mayb I alos like daal with okra more if given choice! :))
but surely urs looks very yum!!

Rose /Magpie said...

Oh this looks sooo yummy! Love meen curry especially with Kappa!

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Delicious looking curry :)

Neenu M N said...


Bharathy said...

Jai Ho Kottayam Red fish curry!! :)..I have blogged mathi mulakarachathu which is still treating many malayalees world wide! :)
Lovely curry, Ria.My fav fish curry!!!

Seema said...

The colour of the curry is simply scintillating. Please do post your Janu chechy's Meen curry. We recently had a trip to Wayanad and tasted fish curry there with Coconut and tamarind in it. We liked it sooo much. I speculate it must be a close relative of your Kannur Meen Curry.


Anonymous said...

Yummmy!!!!Reeeeee.......surely i'll try dis. even i am upset with d color of my curry .lemme try ur tip by sauteeing d masala more.
BTW I remember ur 10 std 'COOKERY SHOW'.i was waiting der most of d time since d aroma was haunting me upstairs as well as to taste ur multi processed FOOD.I remember u gav me cabbage thoran, egg thoran plus u made puttu even........by d time BELL rang,ghee :-( !!!

Anonymous said...

we Indians are truly diverse! My mom and my Aunty once made two fish curry using same ingredients but different direction/method and guess what they taste totally different :)
First time in your blog and it looks super beautiful..so much to learn from you!

Reshmi said...

this looks really tangy n delicate...superb..

Zareena said...

Wow!!! Ria, you made 34 dishes with in 3 hours and that too when you were studying 10th!!! Where no one would try to enter the kitchen at such an young age. Great. I loved the redness in your curry.

My Kitchen Antics said...

i think im a pseudo mallu..i hate fish and if ever i make the fish curry i use the ready mix.a! i know i know...thats really sad..
the colour is fab!

Finla said...

First I drooled in FB and here I am drooling again. Wish I had this fish curry with heaps and heaps of rice :-)

Malar Gandhi said...

Oh man, meen vevichadhu luks incredible...simply irresistible...awesome color:)

Swapna said...

Just the same way I make meen curry... The Kottayam style :)... Lovely pic as always!

Cool Chic Style Fashion said...

Delizioso ♥

Anonymous said...

This fish curry description and the photographs made me drool.
I have to try this at home for sure.
Kerala style..

You have a beautiful blog. Enjoyed going through some of the entries.

webdework said...

Wow... They look delicious. I've never tried making them myself but have heard a lot about them. Now this goes on my favorite list :-)
Indian Recipe Book

anon said...

This looks so good! You have a lovely blog, and I always like seeing new ways (for me) of cooking fish. Thanks!

Rani said...

Hi Ria!

This is the first time I visited ur blog. Now I'm going to try out a few of ur recipes.

Unknown said...

Hai Ria ,

why r u using Kokum ........... cos it will give a different taste .......normally in Kerala we use Kudampuli .............

Ria Mathew said...

Suby, I always thought Kokum was the English word for Kudampuli :D I use Kudampuli for this curry. It's just now, that I realised that it's Gambooge and not Kokum :)

shiny said...

hi ria, i will be tying ur recipe for the first time.. thanks fro the recipe..
i had a doubt.. is there no need fro coriander powder (malli podi) in this recipe..
plus i think u forgot salt

Unknown said...

wow, wow wow yummy want to try this delicious fish curry :)

Diva-licious! said...

Tried this curry today with kerala porotta. Added a teensy bit more chilli powder though. it was awesome. just like the one mum makes at home. Thanks Ria :)

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