Fish moilly (malay fish curry)

This dish is a traditional Kerala take on Malay fish curry.

Per Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavours of India: “Noted for its abundance of fish, Kerala cuisine is fragrant with coconut and spices. The recipe for Fish moilly is particularly delicious.

Kerala, which nestles along India’s south-western coast, has a warm, sunny climate and rich tropical greenery. The name means “the land of the coconuts”, and these are prized not only commercially, but also in the kitchen. They are an important ingredient in many Kerala dishes, like this delicious fish dish. Traditionally made with seer fish – kingfish steaks – it works as well with cod steaks or halibut or haddock fillets. In Kerala, this dish is served with rice, but you may serve it with boiled potatoes and a salad.”

About 1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 lb (450g) fish steaks or fillets, cut into 2 inch cubes
4 Tbs. coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 medium large red onion finely sliced
6 fresh hot green chilies finely sliced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded
About 30 fresh curry leaves, if available
7 fl oz (1 cup) coconut milk, well stirred from a can or fresh
2 Tbs. lime juice

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the turmeric together. Rub over the fish. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large wide, non-stick pan or wok over a medium heat. When hot add the onion, chilies and ginger. Stir once or twice. Add the curry leaves. Stir and fry for three to four minutes until the onion is soft.

Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and 5 fl oz (3/4 cup) water. Mix well. When the mixture boils add the fish. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

Add 3/4 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat down. Cover and simmer for four to five minutes, spooning the sauce over the fish and shaking the pan gently to prevent sticking.

Add the coconut milk, shake pan and add more salt if needed. Cover and simmer for a further three to four minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the lime juice.

Shake again and remove from the heat, then serve.

Mizhukku puratti (Vegetable fry)

green beans – 1 inch lengths – 2 cups
plantains or green bananas – cubed – 1 cup
salt to taste

Lots and Lots of oil (just kidding – 3 teaspoons oil)

Soak the plantains in warm water and turmeric. Drain well and cook with salt.

Cook the beans separately in a little water. ( Zap it to save time – add a half cup of water and salt, cover and mwave it at high for 4 to 6 minutes).

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the beans (drain off any water left), Stir for a minute and then add the plantains. Stir till nice and browned.

hint: This curry may be made with any cooked vegetable.
Source: Maya Nair

Cabbage Thoran

chopped cabbage – 3 cups
turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
green chilies – 2 or 3
des. or fresh coconut – 1/2 cup
garlic cloves – 3
onion – 1 small (optional)
urad dal – 1 teaspoon
mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
oil – 1 teaspoon
salt to taste

Chop the onion. Heat the oil on medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the urad dal and curry leaves. Then add the onions and saute till browned. Now add the cabbage, turmeric powder and salt. Stir for a while, lower the heat and cook covered for five minutes. Crush the garlic and cumin seeds and add to the cabbage along with the green chilies and the coconut. Stir for a few more minutes and remove from heat.

Source: Maya Nair


Green bananas or plantains (nenthrakkay) – cubed
turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
chili powder – 1 teaspoon
cummin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
mustard seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
urad dal – 1/4 teaspoon
coconut, grated – 1/2 cup (may substitute des. coconut)
coconut for garnish – 1 tablespoon
black pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
curry leaves – a few
salt to taste
oil – 1 teaspoon

Soak the cut plantains in warm water mixed with half teaspoon turmeric for ten minutes.

Drain and cook the plantains with the remaining turmeric and salt. Grind the coconut well with cumin and add to the cooked plantains. Let it simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and pop the mustard seeds. Add the urad dal and the coconut reserved for garnish and stir till browned. Add this mixture to the eriserry and mix in the curry leaves.

Source: Maya Nair


Shallots or pearl onions – one cup
large onions – 2
garlic cloves – 2
grated coconut – 1 cup
coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
methi seeds – 1 teaspoon
tamarind extract – 1 tablespoon
chili powder – 1 tablespoon
turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
oil – 2 teaspoons
salt to taste
curry leaves – a few

Peel and chop the large onions fine. Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a frying pan and add 1/2 cup of the chopped onions. saute well and when browned, add the curry leaves, coriander seeds and methi seeds. Stir for a few more minutes and remove and keep aside. Wipe the pan and add the coconut. On a low heat, dry roast the coconut till brown (not burned).

When it is cool, blend the coconut with the onion mixture adding a half cup of water. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and remaining onions and shallots and stir till browned. Add the tamarind extract and 1/2 cup water and salt.

When it starts to simmer, add the blended paste and cook on a low fire for 20 – 30 minutes.

Source: Maya Nair


moong dal – 1 cup
turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
cumin seeds, crushed – 1 teaspoon
garlic clove, crushed – 1 (optional)
desiccated coconut – 1/2 cup
(optional) curry leaves – a few
salt to taste

Dry roast the moong dal on medium heat for ten minutes. Cook it with sufficient water and turmeric.

Grind the coconut with a little water and cumin seeds.

Add to the boiling dal along with the curry leaves and salt.

Source: Maya Nair


tuar dal – 1/4 cup
masoor dal – 1/4 cup
tomatoes – 1 16 oz.can or 4 large tomatoes
tamarind extract – 1/2 teaspoon
black pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon
saunf – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
whole red pepper (dry red chili) – 2 or 3
chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
hing powder – 1/2 teaspoon
methi seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
garlic cloves – 3 cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
coriander and curry leaves – a bunch salt to taste

Cook the dal well with sufficient water. Add the tomatoes,salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and tamarind extract.

Crush the cumin and garlic and add to the rasam with the black pepper.

Simmer for a few minutes and add the hing powder. Heat a little oil in a fry
pan and pop the mustard seeds.

Add the methi seeds, saunf, and curry leaves after removing from the heat source and add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Source: Maya Nair

Sambar II

half cup tuar dal or yellow split peas
2 onions
10 or 12 medium okra – (fresh or frozen)
3 large (or one can) tomatoes (optional)
quartered tamarind extract (available in Indian stores)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder (more if manaassukhum illa)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon methi powder
1/2 teaspoon hing powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon methi seeds
1/4 teaspoon veg. Oil
1 tablespoon salt to taste
4 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
a few curry leaves

Cook the dal with chopped onions, turmeric powder, chili powder and sufficient water.

Cut the okra in two inch pieces and saute them in a frying pan with one teaspoon oil till dry and slightly browned.

Mash the cooked dal with a wooden spoon and add the salt, coriander powder, methi powder, hing and the tamarind extract.

Simmer for a few minutes and add the tomatoes and okra and half of the coriander leaves. When the vegetables are cooked, heat oil in a fry pan with a splatter screen or a lid and pop the mustard seeds.

Remove pan from the fire, add the curry leaves and methi seeds. Add this seasoning to the sambar and garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves.

Hint: Other vegetables that can be added to sambar are potatoes (which do not freeze well), shallots, pearl onions (available frozen), cucumber, Indian or oriental eggplant (baingan), beans, carrots, lima beans or squash.

Source: Maya Nair, modified.

Aviyal II

1 lb. Potato or kadachakka (bread fruit), cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp. chile powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. garam masala
3 oz. coconut milk (optional)
1/3 onion, cut into small pieces
2 green chile (optional), cut long
oil, salt, mustard seeds
Curry leaves (optional)

Heat oil, fry mustard seeds, add onion, green chile & curry leaves, stir until it turns light brown. Then add salt, all the powders and masala, stir until it turns brown, then add coconut milk and veg., stir well, cover it and cook until well cooked. (If not adding coconut milk, add a cup of water instead). It is ready to serve! (In fact, it should be made by roasting coconut and all the spices, and blending them very nicely, but it is not easy to do it here. So I made up this version.)

You can cook kadala too the same way. For kadala, you can use just the garam masala and chile powder only. Either way, it tastes good.

Source: Mareena Yesudas