Meen Thala Curry with Coconut Paste

Kerala Style Meen Thala Curry with Coconut Paste- Amma’s Recipe and Tips for making Spicy Fish Head Curry

The fish head curry is well known among the Kerala circles, especially in seafood restaurants and kallu shap/ toddy shop. I have already shared a pure toddy shop style meen thala curry before. Today I am going to share a entirely different recipe, that my amma used to make with fleshy fish like tuna, king fish etc. But I have substituted it with fish head, that’s the only change. Try this delicious mouth watering recipe and serve with kappa or with piping hot red boiled rice. The detailed recipe with step by step cooking pictures follows.

Meen Thala Curry- Fish Head Kerala Style

This is a very traditional recipe of Kerala, so prepared in manchatti, I have used here my black manchatti it gives a appealing contrast of red curry and black background. I love this so much and do not necessarily need anything else with rice.

Meen Thala- Fish Head Curry- Kerala Style Recipe

Tips- I have used here more kashmiri dry red chilies and very few dry red chilies to bring down the heat. If you want you can substitute with normal dry red chilies more. The taste of the curry depends the quality of fresh fish and fresh coconut paste. While roasting dry red chilies maintain a medium-low flame, do not allow it to change its color, only chilies should turn crispy. You can add bit of coconut oil while roasting, oil fried chilies have a brighter and fresher aroma compared to dry-roasted red chilies. Here I have used very big king fish head, so cut it into pieces, If you got medium fish head you can use whole too. Washing the fish head pieces is very important, washing with salt and wheat flour is must, it removes the smell of the fish. Rub the fish head pieces very well and wash in running water. Drain out completely and set aside.

Kerala Style Meen Thala Curry

How to Make Kerala Style Meen Thala Curry with Coconut Paste- Amma’s Recipe for Spicy Fish Head Curry

Wash and clean the fish head pieces, drain out completely and set aside.(read tips above before making the curry)


In a frying pan dry roast fenugreek seeds and set aside. 


In same pan, pour 1 tsp coconut oil then add kashmiri dry red chilies and normal red chilies, fry for few minutes or until chilies are crispy. 

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Keep the flame very low and add coriander powder. Give it a good mix and off the flame. Let it cool down, set aside for few minutes.

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Transfer roasted fenugreek seeds and red chilies to a dry blender and Grind well. Do not add water. 

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Then add in grated coconut, 7 shallots and grind the mixture with sufficient water, make it as fine paste. Set aside for later use. 

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Heat a clay pot with remaining coconut oil and pinch of fenugreek seeds. 


Add in the sliced shallots, curry leaves and ginger. Fry till the shallots turns slightly brown. 

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Add in sliced tomatoes and turmeric powder. Saute until the tomatoes are soft and slightly mushy. 

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Add in the ground coconut mixture and saute in oil for few minutes, until oil floats on top of the mixture. 

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Add tamarind juice, salt and needed warm water, combine well and boil for few minutes. 

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Put the cleaned fish head pieces and cook the fish over medium flame until the gravy thickens and the fish is cooked. Adjust salt and sour, after checking. Serve along with rice and kappa puzhukku/ mashed tapioca.

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Enjoy!! Happy cooking and stay healthy.

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                      Ready To Serve.

Meen Thala Curry- Fish Head Kerala Style

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