Kerala Style Fish Molee (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew)

4 from 20 votes

Kerala Style Fish Molee (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew, Fish Moile) is a rich and creamy Kerala-style fish curry where fish is cooked in a subtly spiced coconut-based gravy. Serve it with appam or steamed rice for a hearty meal (gluten-free).

Fish molee served in a bowl.
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About Fish Molee

Kerala -Style Fish Molee (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew, Fish Moilee) is a rich, creamy, and mildly spiced fish stew prepared with coconut milk, tamarind paste, tomatoes, green chillies, and spices.

The use of green chilies and pepper gives the curry a subtle heat, coconut milk gives it a creamy and rich texture, whereas curry leaves give it a distinct aroma.

This curry is slightly yellowish in color and is quite popular in Kerala households.

Traditionally, it is served with appam. You can also serve it with Kerala parotta, dosa, or steamed rice.

This fish molee recipe is gluten-free and can be easily doubled or tripled.

Do check out my Kerala Chicken Stew recipe too. It is also mild in taste but very flavorful.

Here are more fish curry recipes that you may like

History Of Fish Molly

Fish Molee is a popular Kerala-style fish curry dish that originated in central Kerala. The recipe to make it is believed to have been developed during the 15th century when the Portuguese were ruling this part of the country.

Legend has it that the traditional Kerala fish curries were very spicy for the Portuguese officials, and hence a woman named ‘Molly’ toned down the spice level by adding coconut milk and replaced red chillies with mild green chilies. This resulted in the dish being known as ‘fish molee’.

Ingredients

Fish molee ingredients 1
Fish molee ingredients 2
Fish molee ingredients 3
Fish molee ingredients 4

Fish – I like to make this curry using Surmai (Seer Fish, King Fish) as it has a single bone, is very flavorful, and is much easy to eat but you can use any fish of your choice to make it.

Use boneless fish or boneless fillets, that’s totally up to you.

To Marinate The Fish – You will need turmeric powder, freshly squeezed lime juice, black pepper powder, and salt.

Oil – Use coconut oil for the traditional taste. If it’s not available, then use any cooking oil.

Coconut Milk – You will need both thick and thin coconut milk. If making it at home, the first extract is thick milk and the second extract is thin milk.

If using canned milk, then mix 1.7 oz (50 ml) of it with 5 oz (150 ml) water to make thin coconut milk.

Whole Spices – You will need whole spices like cloves (laung), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), and cinnamon sticks (dalchini).

Spice Powders – Fish molee curry is spiced with basic spice powders such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, red chili powder, and Kerala garam masala.

If Kerala style garam masala is not available, then use your regula garam masala.

Curry Leaves – Use fresh and green curry leaves for a beautiful aroma.

Tamarind Paste – The addition of tamarind paste adds a slightly tangy taste, that makes the fish molee curry even more delicious.

Green Chillies – Adjust the green chilies depending on the spice level you need in the curry.

Others – You will also need brown mustard seeds, onions, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh tomatoes, and salt.

How To Make Fish Molee

Marinate The Fish

Rinse 1 pound (500 g) of fish steaks well with water and drain well.

Mix together

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

on a large plate.

Add the fish to the plate and coat well with the spices. Keep aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Fry The Fish

Heat 3 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, arrange the fish in a single layer and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Transfer the fried fish to a plate and keep it aside.

Make The Curry

To the remaining oil in the pan, add

  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 whole green cardamoms
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 3-4 green chilies (slit into half)

and fry for 3-4 seconds.

Add

  • 2 cups of thinly sliced onions
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

and cook until the onions turn pinkish.

Add

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder

and cook for 8-10 seconds.

Reduce the heat to low.

Now add 6.7 fl oz (200 ml) of thin coconut milk and 1 tomato (cut into rounds) and cook for 20-30 seconds.

Add 1 cup of water and mix well.

Add the fish pieces back to the pan and shake the pan to coat them with the curry.

Cover the pan and cook the curry for 10 minutes, shaking the pan a few times in between.

Finally, add

  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) of thick coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ teaspoon Kerala garam masala

and mix well. Cook on low heat until the curry comes to a gentle simmer.

Do not overcook otherwise the curry may split.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Pro Tips By Neha

Make sure to add the coconut milk to the pan only when the heat is reduced to low. It may curdle if the heat is high.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make coconut milk at home?

To make it at home, grate a fresh coconut using the medium hole of a box grater or a coconut grater. You can also use a food processor to grate it.

Now add the grated coconut to a blender along with 1 and ½ cups of water and blend for a minute. Strain this mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a nut milk bag. This is the first extract or the thick milk.

Now transfer the coconut again to the blender and add 2 cups of water. Blend again for a minute. Strain the mixture again. This is the second extract or the thin milk.

Serving Suggestions

This Kerala fish curry is best relished with appams, or steamed rice. You can also serve fish molee with piping hot Kerala Parotta, Dosa, or Idiyappam.  

Storage Suggestions

Fish Molee can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days, in an air-tight container. Reheat in a pan or microwave, until nice and hot.

You Might Also Like

Kerala Style Fish Molee (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew, Fish Moile) is a rich and creamy Kerala-style curry where fish is cooked in a subatly spiced coconut-based gravy. Serve it with appam or steamed rice for a hearty meal.
4 from 20 votes

Kerala Style Fish Molee Recipe (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew)

Kerala Style Fish Molee (Meen Molly, Kerala Fish Stew, Fish Moile) is a rich and creamy Kerala-style curry where fish is cooked in a subtly spiced coconut-based gravy. Serve it with appam or steamed rice for a hearty meal.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

To Marinate The Fish

  • 1 pound fish slices (500 g, I used seer fish steaks but you can use any fish. )
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For The Curry

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3-4 cloves (laung)
  • 2 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 10-12 whole curry leaves
  • 3-4 green chilies (slit into halves)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 7 fluid ounces thin coconut milk (200 ml)
  • 1 medium tomato (cut into rounds)
  • 10 fluid ounces thick coconut milk (300 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ teaspoon Kerala garam masala (or normal garam masala)
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Instructions 

Marinate The Fish

  • Rinse fish steaks well with water and drain well.
  • Mix together turmeric powder, lime juice, black pepper powder, and salt on a large plate.
  • Add the fish to the plate and coat well with the spices. Keep aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Fry The Fish

  • Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, arrange the fish in a single layer and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
  • Transfer the fried fish to a plate and keep it aside.

Make The Curry

  • To the remaining oil in the pan, add cloves, green cardamoms, cinnamon, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies, and fry for 3-4 seconds.
  • Add onions, ginger, and garlic, and cook until the onions turn pinkish.
  • Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, and black pepper powder, and cook for 8-10 seconds.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Now add thin coconut milk and tomato and cook for 20-30 seconds.
  • Add 1 cup of water and mix well. Add the fish pieces back to the pan and shake the pan to coat them with the curry.
  • Cover the pan and cook the curry for 10 minutes, shaking the pan a few times in between.
  • Finally, add thick coconut milk, tamarind paste, and garam masala and mix well. Cook on low heat until the curry comes to a gentle simmer.
  • Do not overcook otherwise the curry may split.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

You will need both thick and thin coconut milk. If making it at home, the first extract is the thick milk and the second extract is the thin milk.
If using canned milk, then mix 1.7 oz (50 ml) of it with 5 oz (150 ml) water to make thin coconut milk.
Make sure to add the coconut milk to the pan only when the heat is reduced to low. It may split if the heat is high.

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 201mg, Potassium: 730mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 605IU, Vitamin C: 66.7mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 3.2mg
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13 Comments

  1. Is this spicy? I want to make it for someone who doesn’t eat spicy food. Do I just leave out the green chilies?