Keralan Coconut Milk Fish Curry (Meen Moilee)

This creamy fish curry is a showcase of the unique cooking style of Kerala on the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka. Due to the region’s tropical location, the cuisine is defined by a an abundant use of hot chili pepper, fragrant whole spices, and naturally sweet coconut milk that differs from the heartier of the north.

This dish is made with a mild white fish like catfish, halibut, sea bass, or cod. There is also a version of this dish called Chemeen Moilee that uses shelled shrimp instead of fish.

Meen Moilee - Keralan Coconut Milk Fish Curry

Meen Moilee – Keralan Coconut Milk Fish Curry

"Molly" is a mild and creamy curry that is easy to make and delicious to eat. Coconut milk can be found easily at local markets or online. The mild fish and creamy coconut milk makes this a wonderful dish for even the fish adverse. Using shrimp instead of fish and eliminating the chilies can make it even milder. Serve with a fluffy white rice to soak up the addictive sauce.
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large skillet



  • lb Firm white fish fillets, skinless
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric powder, divided
  • ¼ tsp Red chili pepper powder (Sub: cayenne powder)
  • Kosher salt

Cooking Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Coconut or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Fresh green chilli, cut into thin slivers
  • 12 Curry leaves
  • 1 medium Red onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin across the grain into crescents
  • tsp Ground cumin
  • 14 oz Can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz Can coconut milk


  • Marinate Fish – Cut fish into bite-sized chunks and put them in a plastic sealed bag. Rub chunks with half the turmeric, chili powder, and a little salt. Set aside.
  • Cook Fish – Heat 2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In order, stir in each of these ingredients for about 10 seconds each: fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, green chili, and curry leaves. Add onions with a sprinkle of salt and stir fry until until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle onions with remaining turmeric powder, cummin, and stir fry a few seconds.
    Add a pinch of salt and mix in chunks of fish. Add canned of diced tomatoes with its juices. Gently stir fry until the fish is cooked through but not dry, 5-7 minutes.
  • Finish Dish – When fish cooked through, remove pan from heat. Stir in the coconut milk and transfer to a warm shallow bowl to serve. Garnish with a few curry leaves and serve alongside rice.


  • Any white fish steak that won’t break apart when stirred can be used. Shrimp or a mix of seafoods can be used as well.
  • The sauce can be refrigerated or frozen in advance and added just before the tomatoes and fish when cooking. 


Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg

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