Meen Moiley

October 30, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

A traditional fish stew from the South Indian state of Kerala. —Aysha | The Malabar Tea Room

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aysha lives in Kerala, India where she and her mother write the blog, The Malabar Tea Room.
WHAT: A traditional, coconut-based Indian fish stew with a bite.
HOW: Marinate sea bass filets in turmeric, lime juice, and chile powder, then sauté onions with fragrant spices like ginger, garlic, and green chiles. Cook the onions and sea bass in a mixture of water and vinegar, then add coconut and curry leaves before serving. Finish with a squeeze of lime for one more burst of flavor.
WHY WE LOVE IT: While "Hot fish stew!" does not usually make us run to the test kitchen as quickly as fresh cookies do, this one caught our attention: The fragrant curry and ginger drew us over, the bright yellow broth hooked us in, and the tender sea bass made us reach for second helpings. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the curry:
  • 250 grams fresh sea bass fillets, cut into 2-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 green chiles, cut lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • one 1-inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small tomato, cut lengthwise
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • A squeeze of lime
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade, then rub onto the fillets. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan or wok over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until light brown. Add the chiles, garlic, and ginger and sauté for another few minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Next, add the flour and sauté until combined. Pour in the water, vinegar, and turmeric and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add fish, tomato, and salt. Cover and cook for about 7 minutes, or until fish is cooked.
  5. Add the coconut milk and curry leaves. Bring to a boil again and turn off the heat. Add a squeeze of lime right before serving. Serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susanna
  • QueenSashy
  • Poornima Krishnan
    Poornima Krishnan
  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
    Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
  • Ethan M. Rasiel
    Ethan M. Rasiel
An Indian food-writer with a penchant for cookbooks with obscure ingredients, Aysha spends most of her time adapting recipes from the world over in her small-town south-Indian kitchen with her mother, and recording the successful experiments at When not tinkering about in the kitchen, she can be found reading up on possible Game of Thrones theories that will bring back Jon Snow.

23 Reviews

Susanna January 5, 2018
What kind of red pepper is best to use? Is cayenne too hot?
QueenSashy May 28, 2016
This is one sublime dish and a forever-keeper. I made it with sea bass, but also with cod, monkfish and snapper, they all work like a charm, because the base is so spectacular. Thank you for the great recipe.
ham April 9, 2016
I cannot express what a great pleasure this dish was for me and my fellow fish stew enthusiast. While simple to prepare it is incredibly harmonious and, very simply, delicious. Many thanks for one of my most loved recipes from Food52.
Aysha |. April 16, 2016
thank you so much for your kind words, you've made my day <3
NC July 13, 2015
this looks fantastic and quick to prepare. always looking for new fish dishes that are out of the ordinary. i will probably try this with basa since that is readily available and can stand up to being simmered without falling apart. I will let you know how it goes!
Aysha |. July 17, 2015
please do!
Poornima K. May 8, 2015
Would this work well with boneless fillets? The sea bass pieces in the pics seem to have bones in...?
Aysha |. May 11, 2015
Yes it would! I'd reduce the cooking time however, by two or three minutes.
Sini |. April 11, 2015
This looks amazing!
Aysha |. May 11, 2015
Thank you :) I hope you try it!
Heather April 8, 2015
What is the best kind of chillis to use?
Poornima K. May 8, 2015
Thai ones, or finger peppers. Smaller & thinner = hotter. Or deseed and use for falor but minimal heat.
love2cook January 6, 2015
Is there an alternative to "1 sprig curry leaves"? That is something that I can't find.
Aysha |. January 6, 2015
handful of cilantro, finely chopped! however, you would add this at the very end, as a garnish.
Alexis November 3, 2014
How much garlic?
Aysha |. November 3, 2014
2 cloves, crushed! Thanks for spotting that Alexis, it's been added in!
Ethan M. November 3, 2014
What tomatoes? They're not in the ingredient list. When does one add the vinegar and turmeric? It sounds delicious, but in serious need of an editor.
Aysha |. November 3, 2014
Ethan, thanks for bringing that to my notice, I've edited the recipe with the changes. I hope you try the recipe!
whitebreads November 3, 2014
Just wondering the same things.,,
Aysha |. November 3, 2014
Hi, I've made a few changes to the recipe, I hope it clears up your questions!
Shalini November 3, 2014
And the flour? Do you thicken the sauce with it?
Shalini November 3, 2014
Also, a question: Do you add the water in step 2? Thanks!
Aysha |. November 3, 2014
Hi Shalini. The water goes in soon after the flour. Which goes in after the ginger and garlic. Sorry about the confusion, I've fixed the recipe with the changes! Let me know if you have any more questions :)