Kerala Coconut Fish Curry

'Meen' is fish, and this fish curry from the Indian state of Kerala is called 'Meen Moilee.' Kerala (from the word keral, meaning coconut) is one of the most beautiful states of India, with its backwaters and pristine beaches, Kerala is the land of coconuts.

Now you may wonder what is 'Moilee'? Molly was the wife of a British officer, and she was stationed in Kerala along with her husband during British Raj in India (early 1800s to 1947). The story goes that she was tired of eating spicy curries, and therefore had requested a mild curry. Her chefs came up with this recipe, and named it after her.

This fish curry uses coconut milk, curry leaves, and turmeric as its base. Now, you may not be able to find fresh curry leaves unless you go to the Indian store, and if you are not close to an Indian store, you can simply avoid using curry leaves. Use a fresh flaky white fish, such as halibut, cod, mahi mahi. Sustainably sourced fish (wild caught) would be best for this recipe. Make sure the fish is skinless and boneless.

The bright yellow color of this curry comes from turmeric. I use good quality turmeric that I buy from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also use fresh turmeric in this recipe, I just find it difficult to work with, as it stains everything it comes in contact with.

Traditionally, fresh coconut is used for this recipe, and this coconut is broken, grated, pureed, and strained to obtain coconut milk. You can choose to do this, or use a can of Thai Kitchen coconut milk (I highly recommend this brand) or Trader Joe's organic coconut milk.

A simple fish curry calls for good quality fresh ingredients. Enjoy!


Serves: 2


2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 green chilis, slit OR 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

7-8 curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup regular coconut milk, preferably Thai Kitchen brand

2, 6 oz fillet of cod/mahi mahi/halibut, skinless and boneless

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro 



In a 3 qt saucepan over medium heat, add coconut oil, onions, and salt. Saute for 5 minutes.

Add green chilis, garlic cloves, and curry leaves. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add ground turmeric and saute for 30 seconds. Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, and gently slide in fish pieces.

Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until fish pieces are cooked.

Garnish with cilantro and the fish curry is ready to be served.

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