Spicy Fish Curry with Coconut and Kokum

Coconut, Kokum and Fish forms a formidable bond of gastronomic delight when it comes to the making of a fish curry, that evokes a scent of the coastal air . This spicy fish curry with coconut and kokum just amplifies this above defination of a true Indian Coastal Fish Curry.

Be it the South Indian cuisine or the Malvani, Goan , Konkani or Kerela cusine,each of their signature fish curry boasts of an amalgamation of a beautiful blend of ingredients that sums up to a scrumptious fish curry that loosely can be labeled as coastline identities. Positioned at the Indian stretch of a long coastline adjoining the Arabian Sea, the dishes of these various regions have subtle regional differences but is just a way of incorporation of the spice mix or sometimes just the addition of an extra few flavors that makes it exclusive to its cuisine.

Coconut in most cases is the primary flavor enhancing ingredient, aided by kokum or tamarind, while in some cases it is the  tamarind(or kokum) and tomato base that forms the crux of a runny gravy.The third variation mostly that accrues to the cuisine of Kerala  ;bends towards the importance of using coconut milk for a thick luscious awe inspiring gravy that , will leave your taste buds asking for more.


Most often, the nuances of the ingredients are just a difference of a few ingredients , that which brings in a different taste. But then its also tough to remember each process and its steps of adding the ingredients.

For a beginner, the Malvani versus Konkani versus Goan versus Kerela led curries are way too similar and yet extremely intriguing to the mind, while trying to figure out the minute differences in the blend of ingredients and their technique of cooking .Similar in ways yet different in taste. Minute regional variations that are instilled in their aesthetics that defines their type of cusine .

To steer out of confusion, I generally tend to make my own version that which is the most simplest of all methods and encapsulates the process of making a typical coastal fish curry ; not necessarily relating it to any specific cuisine, but with deep flavors that signifies with the Indian coastal cuisine.

A flavor bursting  fragnant dish , this is a gastronomic delight.Spicy and tangy, the blend of coconut and kokum is a prize winning combo and together they create an applause worthy dish.

A weeknight dish to uplift your mood or a dish that can be the highlight of your house party.Your guests would not know which restaurant you it ordered from.

A restaurant like dish, the flavors run strong in spices .The curry leaves and mustard seeds gives it a dominant flavor, while the kokum and coconut seals its taste as a coastal delight with its tang.

The amount of coconut really depends on your liking.I like a thin curry mostly that pairs well with rice, hence just a small amount. Similarly, the type of tomato will define the amount of kokum that goes into the dish.If your tomato is slightly sour then you need to reduce the number of kokum pieces.

Also , I love adding a readymade fish curry masala that acts like a great enhancer to its deep flavor.If you cant get hands on a pack, no problems , you can go ahead and just add a little more homemade garam massla and roasted whole spices.

You can also use tamarind like the kerela style of cooking, and mostly a lot of households interchange kokum and tamarind in a recipe.However I feel this particular dish works better with kokum.

Am noting down a few points that you need to adhere to if you want a perfect coastal fish curry

  1. ReadyMade Fish Masala imparts a beautiful flavor and accentuates the dish towards a culinary delight.But if you do not have a pack on hand, you can substitute it with additional whole spices and homemade garam masala.
  2. Kokum and Tamarind works fine, although Kokum in this recipe tastes better in bringing out the sourness
  3. You need to adjust the amount of Kokum depending on the tartness of the tomatoes used. If your tomatoes are way too tangy,then you can reduce the Kokum peices
  4. Add water depending on the thickness of the gravy you desire. I like a thin gravy for this kind of a curry

Drop in any type of fish you want, the curry is that versatile to soak in any type of sea fish, be it surmai(Indian Salmon), Pomfret, Kingfish, Mackeral , Prawns, or even Tuna..although in my dictionary Surmai tastes the best because of the taste of the soft fish itself.

Delicately spicy with a a certain tanginess from the kokum, the slight undertone of the ground coconut gives a deep texture to the curry, while the mix of curry leaves and mustard seeds seals it  as a dish that is plated in the roots of the south and coastal region of the country. Do try this out for your next meal perhaps and relish it with some piping hot Basmati Steamed White Rice.

And do show some love by tagging me @indraniskitchenflavours on my instagram and FB account.


You might also love to try out my Kerela Fish Curry with Coconut Milk




Spicy Fish Curry with Coconut and Kokum
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Packed with deep flavors spicy fish curry with coconut and kokum is a fragnant dish that has its roots in the beautiful coastal cusine of India. With flavor from strong spices, it gets its actual charm from the blend of coconut and the tangy kokum and creates a fine runny curry that compliments a plate of white rice
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2
  • Fish 3 to 4 (pomfret/Surmai/Catfish/Salmon/Mackeral/Tuna)
  • Desicated coconut 1 to 2 tablespoon
  • Onion 1
  • Tomato 1
  • Garlic cloves 3 to 4
  • Coriander seeds 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick 1 inch
  • Black pepper 5 to 6
  • Cloves 3 to 4
  • Salt as desired
  • Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • Red chilly powder 1 tsp or more
  • Kashmiri red chilly powder for color 1 tsp
  • Fish curry masala 2 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds ½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves 5 to 6
  • Water 2.5 cups or more
  1. Marinate the fish fillets with little salt, lime, coriander and cumin powder , red chilly powder and keep aside
  2. Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves and black pepper slightly.
  3. In a blender add the roasted spices,desicated coconut, onion, tomato, garlic, turmeric powder, chilly powder and blend to a smooth paste.
  4. Keep aside
  5. In a deep pan, add oil and when smoking hot, throw in the mustard seeds and curry leaves
  6. Just stir and add the grounded paste
  7. Fry until the onions and tomatoes are fried well and does not smell raw
  8. You can add little water if the masala sticks to the bottom
  9. And Kashmiri mirch powder and fish masala and fry well.
  10. Once the masala starts leaving oil from the sides, add water and let
  11. It cook.
  12. Add the fish fillets, salt and cover until the fish is almost cooked
  13. Lastly add kokum and let it cook further for a few minutes before switching off the flame
  14. Enjoy with plain white basmati steamed rice

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