Saturday, 24 February 2018

Thenga aracha meen curry- Fish simmered in hot and sour coconut mango gravy

Thenga aracha meen curry recipe -Fish curry simmered in hot and sour coconut gravy....

When somebody asked about my favorite dish, I will surely tell, it is steamed rice with fish curry or mashed tapioca with fish curry. I am sure, not only me, most of the malayalies are like this...right? So today we will see a super tasty hot and sour fish curry with mangoes, yes, mangoes, an extra glance to the fish curry.,,

"Thenga aracha meen curry" is a typical Kerala dish made of coconut and fish. Thenga means coconut and arachathu means pasted and meen is fish in malayalam, so this is fish cooked in coconut paste. In Kerala from north to south , east to west, there are different varieties of fish curries, with unique taste and flavours. This is one of them.

In my home, my mom makes the typical Ernakulam style fish curry with coconut milk and gambooge (Kudambuli or coccum), but this curry, it's something different, I tasted this when I visited my valiyamma at Trivandrum. At the first bit, I was really delighted, a very tasty dish with balanced taste. But instead of mango, she used gambooge. Yes, of course, we can make fish curry with gambooge and also with tamarind.

In this recipe, as I already told, I used mangoes, but there is one problem, I can't give the exact amount of mangoes as it depends entirely on its sourness. More sourness, less the amount and vice versa. So always do taste, then use. If you have added less mangoes, you can adjust it. If you feel to add a little more, just add it and boil again for two to three minutes. that's all.

Here is the recipe, the rest of the things, we will discuss in the step by step section, but still, I want to repeat one thing, amount of mango and chili powder is on your hands, please adjust according to your preference. Always try to saute the spices completely before you proceed to the next step.

Video in Malayalam

Video in English


Thenga aracha meen curry recipe

Author: Anju Aneesh
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Kerala
Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes


  • 250 gram fish
For gravy
  • 10 shallots, cleaned
  • 4 to 5 green chili
  • 1" piece ginger
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 small raw mango, peeled and chopped
  • 5 to 6 fenugreek seeds / a generous pinch of fenugreek powder 
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil as needed

To grind
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
To temper
  • Coconut oil as needed
  • 1 to 2 springs of curry leaves
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped

Direction of preparation of thenga aracha meen curry

  • Take shallots, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a mixer jar or in a mortar and pestle. I have taken 4 green chilies but remember, we will put chili powder while grinding. If you add too much chili at this stage, then you will need to compromise in chili powder and will not get the the the colour. The dish should be orange yellow and you have to adjust the amount accordingly.
  • Crush a bit, one spin will be enough. Do not make a fine paste.  If crushed too much, it will take more time to saute, chances of sticking to the bottom and so on. Better to use a mortar and pestle especially if you are a beginner. Otherwise, just give one spin (there will be pulse button on your mixer grinder and turn the knob in reverse direction).
  • Heat enough oil in a pan, preferable in a clay pot, two to three tablespoons, Add fenugreek seeds (uluva/methi seeds), If you crushed them too fine, you may need some more oil to prevent sticking and burning taste. s
  • Add the crushed spices (step 1) and curry leaves. Saute till the raw smell leaves and the shallots turns brown. Do stir in between and keep the flame low. 
  • Meanwhile, take 1 cup of grated coconut, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, and 2 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder in a mixer grinder. I added 2 teaspoons of kashmiri chili powder also to gain the color. If you like spicy curry, then increase the amount of chili powder and then kashmiri chili powder is not necessary, you will get the color with chili powder itself.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water. 
  • Then grind into a very fine paste, the consistency of this coconut paste determines the consistency of the curry. So grind till smooth. 
  • Add this to the sauteed onion and saute on low flame till the raw smell of the coconut and spices leaves. The color will be a bit darker and will be thicker .Note: If you feel any difficulty in sauteing like this, you can add the spices directly into the sauteed masala instead of grinding with coconut. 
  • Stir it continuously so as it does not stick and burn. After a few minutes, its color will be a bit darker, you will get cooked smell, and the oil will also start to separate from it. 
  • To this add 2 cups of water, mango pieces, and salt. The amount of mango depends on its sourness. If too sour, take only a small amount.  
  • Let it boil completely for a few minutes on high flame. Then reduce the flame and add the fish pieces.
  • Swirl and shake the pot by holding on both sides with a thick cloth. Then Cook covered on simmer till the gravy thickens and the oil separates. 
  • Once ready, we can make tempering by spluttering half teaspoon of curry leaves in coconut oil. Once the mustard seeds started to crackle, add curry leaves and chopped shallots. Saute till the onion turns brown.
  • Pour this over the curry and keep covered for another 10 to 15 minutes so that the flavors infuse into the curry completely. 
  • Serve with steamed rice.


  1. The amount of mango depends on its sourness, so adjust accordingly. 

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