Karimeen- Pearl Spot Mappas- Traditional Alleppy Style Mappas Recipe

Karimeen Mappas is a traditional fish curry in Alleppy, Kerala. Mappas is a vinegar saturated coconut milk curry prepared with fish or chicken as the main ingredient. It is one of the most popular curry during christmas in Kerala. It is a perfect combination with appam, puttu, rice etc. Pearl spot- karimeen is locally known as karimeen in malayalam. Karimeen was offically announced as the state fish of Kerala in the year 2010. It is the most influential fish in the life style of Kerala. Karimeen has the power to tingle our taste buds and you would surely crave for more. Karimeen is cooked in various ways with varying flavors to attract the tourist and promote their culinary arts. The detailed recipe with step by step cooking pictures follows.


Karimeen mappas is a delicacy in most of the toddy shops/ kallu shappu, houseboats and is prized high for its flavours, taste and nutritive values. The kuttanad region in Alappuzha district is considered the home of this fish species. This dish is a very popular dish among the tourists in Kerala especially in Alleppey regions. Karimeen is also cooked wrapped in banana leaf with spices and grilled. This is popularly known as ‘karimeen pollichathu’. This is my all time favorite fish curry. The popular dishes made using karimeen are ‘ karimeen fry’ ‘karimeen masala’ ‘karimeen pollichathu’ and ‘karimeen mappas’ and the toddy shops and house boats are famous for serving these dishes. Duck mappas is the famous among all the meat mappas while karimeen mappas is the famous within the fish circle.


Tips- Either tomato or vinegar is used for sourness, I added both in small quantities as I prefer the combined taste of both tomato and vinegar, but make sure to add just 1 tsp of vinegar only. Add very small quantity of chilly powder along with coriander powder and turmeric powder, use more green chilies to balance the heat. Small amount of chilly powder only gives the attractive color to the curry. For coconut milk, extract the thick coconut milk first, then extract the thin coconut milk by adding little warm water. The gravy it self is a really tasty one even without fish. So you can use your style or different method to use this recipe with any other ingredients like ladies finger, soya chunks or potato- hope vegetarians hereing me. 


How to Make Karimeen- Pearl Spot Mappas- Traditional Alleppy Style Mappas Recipe

Clean and wash the fish along with little vinegar and salt. Drain out and set aside.


Marinate the fish with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder, 1/2 tsp vinegar and salt. Keep it rest for 10 minutes.

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Heat 2 tbsp coconut oil in a non stick pan and place the fish. Fry it for 2 minutes on one side and try to lift the fish using a spatula. Turn the fish and fry the other side also in low flame for 2 minutes and remove from pan.


Heat remaining oil in an earthern pot, splutter mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.


Then add cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, saute for 1 minutes.


Then add sliced onions, green chilies, curry leaves, crushed ginger and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes in medium flame or until onion turns soft and tender.

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Then add the sliced tomato and saute till tomato becomes soft.

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Then add remaining turmeric powder, red chilly powder, pepper powder and coriander powder. Remember to maintain a low heat.


Saute until the spices raw smell diminishes.


Add thin coconut milk and salt. Let it boil for 3 minutes.

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Add the fish, cover and cook in a low flame for 10 minutes.

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Pour thick coconut milk to the curry and gently swril the earthern pot or stir with a wooden spoon.


Off the flame and drizzle 1/2 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp coconut oil. Garnish with tomato rings and curry leaves. Serve along with Kerala palappam or rice.


Enjoy!! Happy cooking and stay healthy.


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