Kudampuli, or Malabar tamarind, is a souring agent with excellent therapeutic value. In Kerala, we use it frequently in curries to great effect, and this fish curry is proof. Eat it with boiled tapioca or boiled red rice – you will be following the common Keralite practice of pairing a vegetarian dish with a non-vegetarian one.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 1/2 kg fish, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Guntur chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shallots, sliced
  • 10 garlic pods, peeled
  • 2 pieces kudampuli (Malabar tamarind), soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 20 minutes
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, cut into long strips
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a pan or an earthen vessel. Once it is hot, add mustard and fenugreek seeds and allow the mustard to crackle. Next toss in the curry leaves.
  2. Drop the peeled garlic, ginger and shallots into the pan and sauté until the shallots turn light golden-brown. This should take around 7-8 minutes.
  3. Reduce the flame, add turmeric, Guntur chilli powder and Kashmiri chilli powder.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of water and allow it all to cook for a while.
  5. Once the raw aroma of the masalas is gone, mix in kudampuli water along with salt and allow it to boil for a while.
  6. Finally, slip in the fish, and let cook for at least for 10 minutes on slow flame.
  7. Remove from fire and let it rest for 1 hour, before transferring to a serving pot.
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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