A tribute to the tribal community of the Agasthiyar forest near Thiruvananthapuram, Meen Nellika Masala has two special ingredients – dried gooseberries and green peppercorns. Paired with bird’s eye chillies, they infuse the fish fry with floral notes and a lingering sweet-tart aftertaste.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 2 darne of sear fish or black pomfret

For Paste

  • ¼ cup sundried gooseberry (amla)
  • 3 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh tender peppercorns
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 10 fresh bird’s eye chilli
  • 5 shallots
  • 5 curry leaves


  1. Blitz all the ingredients listed under ‘For Paste’, except the coconut oil, into a fine paste.
  2. Heat the cold-pressed coconut oil on a tawa and cook the paste for about 10 minutes. Divide it into two portions and keep one portion on the edge of the tawa.
  3. Place fish on the tawa, cover with one part of the masala and grill. Turn fish over, cover with the remaining masala and cook till it is done.
  4. Serve hot. 
Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew, co-owner and culinary director of Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai and Bengaluru, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for September. His culinary career, which began with the Taj Group of Hotels, has taken him to several countries, where he has learnt many cuisines. After 25 years in the F&B industry, he decided to closely explore the cuisine of his home state, Kerala. For three years, he travelled through the state, researching its food, and working with 265 housewives and 70 toddy shops, some of whom are now part of the restaurant’s kitchen. He has won several accolades in his career, including being adjudged the Chef of the Year at the Times Food Awards, Chennai, in 2018.

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