Kanyakumari Style Varutharacha Fish Curry | Varutharacha Meen Curry | Fish in Roasted Coconut Gravy

Varutharacha Fish Curry
Varutharacha Fish Curry – “Ribbon fish cooked in coconut paste which gives the curry a wonderful flavor so that the spiceness is balanced out”

When the love for food is simple and simple is good..

As kanyakumari lies on the coastal borders of India, seafood have always been predominant source for the ardent food lovers. Fish curry recipes are very common and is usually made from a variety of fish like Seer fish, Ribbon fish, Tuna, Sardines, Pomfret and many other as well to create wonderful delicacies.

Today’s recipe, Varutharacha fish curry is my Mom’s signature recipe.. Amma makes this more often, may be like, atleast once in a week.. But the taste varies each time with the fish she makes it… Varutharacha fish curry is a tamarind based curry simmered with coconut/shallots paste. The addition of coconut and shallots gives a nice aroma and light sense to it. The curry is so simple to make as it is made in one pot. Today, I have used Ribbon Fish (Belt fish / hair tail, also called as vaalai meen/ வாளை மீன்) for the curry.

This goes perfectly with steamed rice accompanied with thoran and kerala aviyal to make the meal more special.

Author: Nathiya Adiseshan
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 45 to 50 mins
Serves : 2 to 3


  • 2 Ribbon Fish (வாளை மீன்), cleaned and cut
  • 1 cup Tamarind Extract
  • 2 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam/Methi)
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds (Kadugu)
  • 2 Shallots, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil

To grind

  • 1 cup Coconut, grated
  • 3 Shallots, peeled
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 2 garlic pods
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeeragam)
  • 1 teapoon Black pepper (Nalla mizhagu, kuru mizhagu)
  • 2 tablespoon RedChilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder

How to make Fish Curry Recipe

  1. To begin making the Varutharacha fish curry recipe, wash the fish and season it with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan (preferably manchatti), heat two tablespoons of oil on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle.
  3. Add in grated coconut, shallots, garlic, curry leaves, black pepper and saute until the coconut turns golden brown.
  4. Add in turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder and mix well.
  5. Allow it to cool. Grind it to a smooth paste.
  6. In the same pan, add in tamarind extract, ground coconut paste and a sprig of curry leaves and bring it to boil.
  7. Place the marinated fish pieces gently on the curry.
  8. Add appropriate amount of salt and give the curry a good stir.
  9. Cover the pan with lid leaving some gap on the sides to avoid the gravy spilling all over.
  10. Cook till oil floats on top.
  11. In a tadka pan, heat oil and crackle the mustard seeds, curry leaves and shallots. Pour this over the curry.
  12. Switch off the flame.
  13. Serve the Kanyakumari Style Varutharacha fish curry along with steamed rice, kerala aviyal and thoran to enjoy your sunday lunch with comfort food.

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Special note:

  • Coconut oil, Curry leaves and shallots are the key ingredients for the rustic flavour of the dish.
  • Allow the curry to cook in a low to medium flame, if not you will end up with a looser runny curry.
  • This curry tastes best with Tuna, Sardines too. Give a try.



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