This fish molee is a delicious and simple fish curry from the part of India that I come from: Kerala. Kerala is known for fish dishes and for dishes that include coconut in one form or another: coconut oil, coconut milk, chopped or grated coconut, etc. Fish molee curry has both fish and coconut. It’s one of the milder curries, but full of flavor. Ladle it on a mound of white rice and you’ll want to lick the bowl clean. Curry leaves should be available from a South Asian grocery store but feel free to omit them if you can’t find them.
You can make the curry mild or spicy by adjusting the amount or type of chili pepper you use. Fish Molee is a fairly quick dish to put together for a weeknight, provided you have the ingredients on hand.
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cups onions - thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp garlic - minced
- 1 Tbsp ginger - minced
- 1 green chilli - split in half lengthwise (the type of chilli depends on spice level you desire)
- 10 curry leaves - optional
- 1 cup tomato - chopped
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 lbs firm fish fillets - cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 thin slices tomato
- Fresh cilantro leaves - optional
- Heat a large frying pan with oil over medium heat and add the cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a few seconds till heated.
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli and curry leaves (if using) and fry until the onions are translucent.
- Add the tomato and fry until the tomato becomes soft and separates from the oil, about 10 minutes.
- Add coriander, cumin, turmeric and black pepper and stir for 1 minute.
- Push the tomato mixture to the sides and carefully place the fish pieces in a single layer in the middle.
- Using a spoon, gently smear the spice paste over the fish.
- Combine the coconut milk with water and pour over the fish.
- Gently swirl the pan to allow the coconut milk to mix with the fish.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked. (Do not stir the dish, since the fish is very fragile).
- Carefully transfer the fish pieces to a serving dish and pour the sauce over the top.
- Garnish with tomato slices and cilantro leaves, if using.
- Serve over white rice.