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Fish Moilee - Fish curry with coconut milk

Fish Moilee is a Kerela-style fish curry where the fish is cooked in a coconut milk-based sauce. Due to the abundance of coconuts as well as fish, this curry is so popular in Kerela cuisine.

Fish Moilee is popularly named after a lady who modified the fiery hot Kerela-style fish curry into a slightly milder version to suit the palate of the British. This slightly yellowish curry is prepared with just a few ingredients to bring out the mild flavours of white fish. Although the flavour of fish pieces is still prominent in this curry, thick coconut milk, pepper powder and curry leaves give this dish an extra touch.

The colour of the Fish Moilee is slightly yellowish and you can make it with coconut powder or canned coconut milk. The freshness of the fish plays a role in the flavour of the dish. I like to use hake for this curry because its strong, sweet flavour goes wonderfully with the delicate, creamy coconut curry. But you can also use any other white fish such as haddock or pollock.

This simple but tasty curry goes really well with aromatic basmati rice to make a full and


  • 4 white fish fillets (150 -180 g each) such as pollock, haddock or hake, cut into 4 ½ cm cubes.

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 tsp lime juice

  • 1 tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds

  • 8 - 10 curry leaves

  • 2 medium red onions, chopped

  • 1 green chili pepper, cut in half lengthwise (deseeded if you want it milder)

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 300 ml coconut milk


Rub the fish with ½ tsp salt and lime juice and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat, then add the mustard seeds and toast briefly. Once the grains start to pop, reduce the heat to medium and add curry leaves and sauté for about 2 seconds(!)

Add in the onion, stir and cook until soft and translucent. Then add in the ginger paste, garlic paste, chili, turmeric and fish, stir gently and simmer on high heat for about 30 seconds.

Add the coconut milk and the remaining ½ tsp salt and stir through, cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes until the fish is almost cooked.

Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and serve with Basmati Rice .


  • To cook the fish evenly, marinate and cook the fish at room temperature.

  • Fish should not be overcooked or it will break into many small individual pieces.

  • Ghee is never used to cook fish , oil is used instead.

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