Monday, 26 July 2010

Coconuts and Kerala

On travels far into the night, past oceans shimmering and waves spilling, we landed in Cochin, a glorious place. I was blown away by her bustling roads, racing rickshaws, constant humming crowds, intense smells and total brightness. Welcome India, on the other side of the world, it felt like another world. London a distant past. The musty odours whispering were a quiet reminder of the rainy season, just passed. I love Kerala, located on the South Western coast of India, AKA Gods own Country, it's a spice dreamers dream come true, and I was totally spellbound.

We all have special moments when our thirst is quenched, in a truly ambrosia way, when thirst is deep and more than thirst. My moment came after what seemed like an endless drive through smokiness, to a place up in the hilltops, Leela Leela! Lovely Leela, a hotel where you’re greeted with a fluffy, wet white facecloth, and a freshly cut coconut, that upon sipping, my mouth felt like it was Christmas time, what a gift. 

The Keralan Fish curry recipe I’d like to share is an adaption from several recipes I’ve tried and tested. I’ve come up with a beautiful rendition, that will keep you feeling fresh and light, its delightful. The sunshine colour comes from the turmeric, which has a peppery and bitter taste, its musky sweet ginger fragrance filters through the air in Kerala, all places have a scent, and when I smell turmeric I'm back in Kerela. Almost magical for its potent goodness, for centuries the Chinese and Indians have been using turmeric for medicinal purposes, it's an anti-inflammatory and helps with menstrual problems, so great news for ladies. Toothache, wind, bruises, chest pain all are helped by this wonder spice. Anyone who suffers from stiff joints, must tuck into turmeric, it will bring relief and improves liver function. Don't be put off by the number of ingredients, spices are the jewels in the crown and once you discover flavours you like you'll be sprinkling them on top of scrambled eggs and other delights. So bring on the Keralan curry, I like to eat it with wholewheat noodles, they mop up the coconut sauce nicely, though brown rice is lovely too. Wash it down with some chilled coconut water to boot. The booty’s in the curry, a true turmeric treasure.


Monk fish 250g, cut into four chunks
Talapia or Line caught cod, 250g, cut into four pieces
Turmeric 2 tsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Ground coriander 1 tsp
Rice wine vinegar 1tbsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Onion 1 chopped
Chilli 1 green finely chopped
Garlic 3 cloves bashed
Ginger root 2 tsp finely chopped
Coconut milk 1 tin
Greek yogurt 1 tbsp
Limes 2 juiced
Sweet freedom 2 tsp
Coriander 1 bunch roughly chopped

·      Alternatively for the garlic, ginger and chilli try the Gourmet Herb brand.

MIX spices, rice wine vinegar, half the oil in a bowl.
HEAT remaining oil and fry onions, chilli, garlic and ginger for five minutes.
STIR in spice mix.
POUR in coconut milk, Greek yogurt and lime juice.
SIMMER for ten minutes.
TASTE and season to you liking.
ADD fish, place on lid and cook for a further 10 minutes until fish is cooked through.
SCATTER over the coriander leaves and enjoy, served with noodles or rice, whatever you prefer.


  1. I have a net friend from Kerala and he said that fish curry is his all- time favourite dish, I will try your recipe, It looks easy to make, and really yummy!

  2. Please do. I'd never tried it until a couple of years ago and now it's a firm favourite. Let me know how it goes!? Happy cooking!

  3. You have inspired me to cook this, it looks so good. I am making my shopping list now.

  4. Thanks Lesley. The smell of turmeric brings me back to the beautiful land of Kerala whenever I cook this. I hope you enjoy the dish.


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