Easy and Spicy recipe for traditional kerala fish molly. Meen molee made with coconut milk. A very popular fish stew.
We love coconut based curries in our house. Long time ago, I saw this recipe for Kerala fish molly in a WGBH show made by Chef Sanjeev. On the show, Chef told how his mother would apply turmeric mixed with milk on him when he was young for good skin. I remember my mom doing the same to me when I was young. The yellow colour would not go even after taking bath. I used to go to school with a yellow skinned face. All the girls at school came with a yellow skin. It was a Friday ritual. Good old memories. I fell in love with the way he made this curry. Kerala Fish molly or meen moilee as its called is a traditional stew popular in Kerala. Fish molly is a very very easy to make recipe which can be put together in less than 30 minutes. Here is how to do an awesome Kerala style fish molly or fish stew.
I like to use coconut oil for Kerala Fish Molly. If you do not like coconut oil, you can substitute any vegetable oil.
Heat coconut oil in a pan and add in very finely chopped ginger and curry leaves. Fry for a minute.
Add in the finely chopped onion and garlic. Add in the chopped green chilli. If you want a spicy stew, add more green chillies. Its totally up to you as to how spicy you want the stew. Adjust the quantity of the chillies accordingly.
Fry till the onions are soft. No need to brown the onions. Add in the finely chopped tomatoes and the salt and fry until the oil floats on top. It will take about 5 minutes in medium flame.
Add in a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of chilli powder. Fry for 30 seconds. Add in a cup of water and let it come to a boil. Once the water boils, add in the fish. I like to use king fish for fish molly. Let it simmer for 5 minutes in medium flame. Do not stir. The fish might break.
Reduce the flame to low. Add in the coconut milk.
If using store bought coconut milk, Add 250 ml of store bought coconut milk plus 250 ml of water.
If using fresh coconut milk, add in 500 ml of the fresh coconut milk. ( I used first pressed and second pressed coconut milk combined). To know how to make coconut milk, click here.
Add in the lime juice and the vinegar. Let the stew simmer for 5 minutes on a very low flame. Its important to have the flame on low as the coconut milk might curdle on a very high heat.
Switch off and serve hot with with basmati rice. Kerala fish molly is ready. Traditionally its served with appam or idiyappam. I like it with rice. It is fish molly with rice for me.
Kerala Fish Molly
South Indian Kerala style Meen moilee, fish molly/molee. A very mild coconut milk based fish stew.
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- 500 grams fish steaks ( I used king fish)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 2–3 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 inch fresh ginger, very finely chopped
- 2 onion, finely chopped
- 3 green chillies, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 500 ml fresh coconut milk or 250 ml canned coconut milk
- Juice of one small lime
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Heat coconut oil in a pan and add in very finely chopped ginger and curry leaves. Fry for a minute.
- Add in the finely chopped onion and garlic. Add in the chopped green chilli.
- Fry till the onions are soft. No need to brown the onions. Add in the finely chopped tomatoes and the salt and fry until the oil floats on top. It will take about 5 minutes in medium flame.
- Add in a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of chilli powder. Fry for 30 seconds. Add in a cup of water and let it come to a boil. Once the water boils, add in the fish. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the flame to low. Add in the coconut milk.
- If using fresh coconut milk, add in 500 ml of the fresh coconut milk. ( I used first pressed and second pressed coconut milk combined).
- If using store bought coconut milk, Add 250 ml of store bought coconut milk plus 250 ml of water.
- Add in the lime juice and the vinegar. Let it simmer for 5 minutes on a very low flame.
- Switch off the flame and serve hot.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: South Indian, kerala
17 thoughts on “Traditional Kerala Style Fish Molly, Meen Molee, meen moilee”
Does cod fish work for this recipe?
And also, can I skip the vinegar?
Yes will work. If you want to skip vinegar, add some other acid lime lime / lemon juice to balance.
Is Apple cider vinegar a good substitute for vinegar?
Yes you can use apple cider vinegar.
Thank you, appreciate the quick response!
I have a feeling that the ingredient list should say 2 CUPS onion. I followed the recipe and it was onion city. Going to try again with way less onion.
Can you add some goan recipes like goan fish curry etc? Looking forward to it..
Will do soon Arvind! thank you!
As you come across as someone who puts a lot of effort into getting the recipe right,I thought I should add this note.In fish molly, we almost never ( I’m being careful as there could be one or two out there that uses ) use turmeric or chilli powder.This is a recipe from central Travancore and there are variations in other parts of Kerala but they aren’t called Fish molly.The closest one is fish mappas which looks similar to the dish you have got here.
And we also usually fry the fish with a light marinade before adding it to the sauce.
Good to know. Thank You.
Hey! Where can I get the receipe for fish Molly without tuners can or chilly powder? Google is full of receipes that have turmeric and chilly in their fish Molly!
Roy said it. The original central Travancore fish molee is always without chilly and turmeric.
As per Roy the people of Central Travancore makes Fish Molee without Turmeric and Chilli. Without Turmeric and little chilli it is not Fish Mollee, (Those who do not like spice do not use Chilli). But for Fish Mollee Turmeric is the main ingredient also it is good by health wise also. The ingredients and the the process of cooking by Kannamma – Suguna is perfect. In Central Travancore the fine Fish Mollee is a Royal Item. The Organic Coconut milk is fantastic for nice gravy and for good taste also. King Fish, Salmon and even Karimeen is also highly recomm-ended. Kannamma’s cooking instructions are very helpful mainly for South Indian Dishes. Thank You.
Thank you. Glad you liked it!
Never use King Fish to make Kerala fish curry of any type. Use fish like Mackerel or Malabar Trevally etc. These fishes have strong flavors unlike King Fish which is mild in taste and hence will not flavour the gravy well. Love your cooking website, has to be one of the best around.
Will definitely try the fish molly with your suggested fish and will let you know. I have always used king fish or salmon. Thank you Mallu for your suggestion.