South Indian fish Molee recipe

Fish Molee is a popular dish in South India, commonly served at large family gatherings, particularly at weddings.

Molee means ‘stew' and the fish is marinated in a spicy coconut mixture.  It is served with palappam (a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk).
Cooking fish Molee with palappam
Fighting over our freshly made Fish Molee with palappam

Ingredients to make south Indian fish Molee

  • 500g of white fish (like haddock) cut into small 4cm pieces
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh crushed ginger
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 sliced green chillis
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 4 cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 sliced tomatoes
  • Half teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • around 4 tablespoons of tamarind fruit
  • 150ml of boiling water
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for cooking (alternatively use canola or vegetable oil)
Stefan cooking Fish molee
Stefan cooking South Indian fish molee during our home stay in Kochi, Kerala

How to make south Indian fish molee

  1. Prepare the tamarind juice: place around 4 tablespoons of tamarind fruit in a bowl and with enough water to cover. Squeeze the fruit in the liquid so it comes off the stone, disregard the stones and let it rest.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.  Cook uncovered on a high heat until they start to pop.
  3. Add the curry leaves, chopped onions and sliced green chillis and continue to cook uncovered but on a medium heat.
  4. Once the onions start to soften (after around 5 minutes), mix in the chopped garlic, ginger, half teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of chilli powder, around 4 tablespoons of the tamarind liquid (adjust according to preference) and a teaspoon of salt.
  5. Cook for a further 2 minutes on a medium heat, uncovered.
  6. Reduce heat to a low simmer and mix in half of the coconut milk (100ml) and 150ml of boiling water.  Cook for 2 minutes on a low heat.
  7. Add the pieces of fish and continue to cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
  8. Add 1 of the sliced tomatoes and the remaining 100g of coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes on a low heat.
  9. Remove pan from heat, garnish with the remaining 2 sliced tomatoes and serve hot with palappam.
Freshly made South Indian fish molee
Stefan proudly showing off his freshly made fish molee

About the author

Hi there! We are Stefan and Sebastien, Greek/French couple behind the travel blog Nomadic Boys. Since we met in 2009, we have been travelling all around the world together, visiting over 100 countries.

Our mission is to inspire you, the gay traveller, and show you that you can visit more places in the world than you thought possible, by providing a first-hand account of our travel adventures, to help you plan a fun and safe trip.

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