Three fish recipes

Today, I will share three fish preparations of my grandmother, as remembered by my mother and occasionally prepared at home during my childhood days.

(a) Fish curry

Cooking time: 25 mins

Serves 5


  • Fish (any type) – 5 pieces
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup (thin consistency) + ½ cup (thick consistency)
  • Special curry powder for fish – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (optional)
  • Oil, as required


  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion and curry leaves with fenugreek seeds for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the fish pieces. Mix well and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add ½ cup of tamarind extract and then the 1 cup of thin coconut milk.
  4. Let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the ½ cup of thick coconut milk and if you like, another tsp of the curry powder. Let the curry cook for another 5 mins until the gravy thickens.
  6. Serve with rice.

(b)  Fried fish/ Meen Poriyal or Varuval

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves 4


  • Seer fish/ Arakkula or Malabar Trevally/Paarai meen or Emperor fish/ Vilai meen  – 4 pieces
  • Onion – 2, chopped
  • Crushed red chillies – 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for deep-frying


  1. Clean the fish pieces. Marinate with salt and chilli powder.
  2. Deep fry the marinated pieces and keep aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onions and curry leaves. Add the crushed chilli, cumin and coriander powders.
  4. Add the fried fish and mix. Cook for about 10 mins or nicely combined.
  5. Serve with rice.

(c) Scrambled fish or Sura varai

Time taken: 25 mins

Serves 4


  • Fish, usually shark/ sura – 1 cup (250g), cleaned and chopped pieces
  • Onion – 1, chopped
  • Green chilli – 1, chopped
  • Dried red chillies – 2, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Freshly scraped coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Pepper or Curry powder – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame oil, as required


  1. Boil the fish pieces. Once cooked, cool and then crumble the pieces in a bowl. Add some salt, pepper and turmeric powder and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2tbsp of sesame oil in a pan and sauté the chopped onion, green and red chillies and curry leaves with the fennel and mustard seeds.
  3. Add the crumbled and spiced fish to the pan and mix well. If needed, add a little more oil.
  4. Finally, add the freshly scraped coconut. Combine well and cook for a few minutes before removing from heat.
  5. Serve with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.


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