Fish Molee (Fish Curry in Coconut Milk)

Fish Molee is a unique Kerala Fish Recipe which has coconut milk as the main ingredient. Unlike the traditional Kerala Style Fish curries, this recipe doesn’t use Tamarind and is not spicy. It is an excellent side dish for Appam, Bread or Roti. I had Fish Molee for the first time when I was a kid, at some Kerala Christian Wedding and I instantly fell in love with it. Then I pestered my Mom to make it at home, until she finally managed to get the recipe. Now, she makes it every time I go home 🙂

Kerala Fish Molee

Kerala Fish Molee

Here is the recipe for making Fish Molee/Moli. I make Fish Moli for Christmas, Easter and other special occasions. It is best to use Fresh Fish while making Molee. You can use Seer Fish, King Fish, Pomfret or Pearl Spot for making Fish Molee.

Fish Molee

Fish Molee


  1. Boneless and Skinless Fish fillets – 10 to 12 pieces (I have used King Fish and Tilapia)
  2. Cinnamon Sticks (Patta) – 2 half inch pieces
  3. Cardamom (Elakka) – 2
  4. Fennel Seeds (Perum Jeerakam) – 1/2 tsp
  5. Sliced Onion – 1 big
  6. Slit Green Chillies – 4 or 5 (Alter according to your spice tolerance)
  7. Chopped Ginger – 2 tsp
  8. Chopped Garlic – 4 cloves
  9. Sliced Tomatoes -1 medium
  10. Curry Leaves – A sprig
  11. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  12. Black Pepper Powder – 1 tsp
  13. Fresh Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
  14. Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
  15. Thin Coconut Milk – 2 Cups
  16. Thick Coconut Milk – 1 Cup
  17. Vinegar – 1 tsp
  18. Oil – 2 tbsp
  19. Salt – to taste

For Marinade

  1. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  2. Black Pepper Powder – 1 tsp
  3. Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  4. Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  5. Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp
  6. Salt – to taste


  1. Marinate the fish fillets using the above ingredients and keep it aside for half an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish fillets lightly. Do not wait for the fillets to brown. It should be fried very lightly around 50%. Remove the fillets from oil and keep aside.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in another wok. Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom and fennel seeds and saute for a minute.
  4. Next add the sliced onions and saute till translucent.
  5. Add the slit green chillies, thinly sliced ginger and garlic pieces and saute for a few minutes.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute well until pulpy.
  7. Next add 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp pepper powder, 1/2 tsp red chilly powder, 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder and stir fry for a minute.
  8. Pour 2 cups of thin coconut milk along with some salt. Simmer the coconut milk for 5 minutes but do not boil it.
  9. When the coconut milk is hot, add the lightly fried fish fillets and cook covered on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes till the gravy starts to thicken. Be careful not to boil the gravy or else the coconut milk can separate.
  10. Finally, pour 1 cup of thick coconut milk and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tsp of vinegar. Garnish with more curry leaves.
Fish being shallow fried for fish molee

Fish being shallow fried for fish molee

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17 comments to Fish Molee (Fish Curry in Coconut Milk)

  • Lishaajish

    Wow!!!!! this is yummy
    I tried this @ home & it tasted superbbbbbbbbbbbb.
    A grt non-veg dish for any occasion. Good..really gud……….

  • Sherin

    been trying ‘molee’ recipes.This one definitely a keeper. Live away in another country so used a fish called Baramundy . Don’t know the name in our lingo :)Also added curry time should go easy on garam masala..may be a pinch. YUMMMMMMMMM .Thank you.Everyone go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Btw in Kerala we mostly use something called ‘kokum’, not tamarind.
    Good day.

  • abin too like it…so now i am going to prepare this …but without Cinnamon Sticks & vinegar….now i can’t predict how it will be…anyway thanks for the recipe

  • Shon

    Tried and it tastes good, but one thing when I tried to boil the thin coconut milk along with the fish fillets, the milk got separated. But after when I added the thick coconut milk, I could see a little change. Please suggest.

    Hi Shan,
    Try simmering the fish in the coconut milk instead of boiling it. Cook on low heat and the milk shouldn’t get separated. I use Canned Coconut Milk and I guess that’s why it has never separated. Hope this helps.

  • Yum… this is one of the best Fish Mollee recipes that I have seen so far… will try it out!!

  • tinu

    This is a great recipe i tried it but instead of vinegar can we use kokum for sourness. Am i correct? Pls give me a suggestion.

    Hi Tinu,
    I haven’t tried Fish Molee with any other souring agent other than vinegar & tomatoes. By Kokum, I guess you meant Fish Tamarind (Kudam Puli). Kerala Fish curry is normally made with Kudam Puli but I don’t think it is used for fish molee.

  • Rincy Paul

    Hi I tried it . It was my first dish in ma home….. thanks…..

  • GK

    I made this Fish Molee and served it with Appam and my guests gave me so many compliments. Thank you so much!

  • Jacob

    Good Recipe..Tried it and came out well.

  • Today I tried it and it was super……

  • Veena

    I love ur fish molee recipe. I have made it so many times and my whole family likes it. Thank you!

  • Sherry

    Great website. Thanks for putting all recipes that i’ve always wanted together.
    Made Fish molee today. I have a recipe but for a change tried this. Came out well. Though I think it needs a bit more pepper or the sweetness of the coconut milk comes out strong. Keep up the great Website!

  • Angi

    This is a keeper for sure! Made it for Easter breakfast n it was a hit! Thanks 🙂

  • Joe

    yummy and mouthwatering. Thanks for the recipes

  • Terry

    This is such a lovely recipe. Made it and it instantly reminded me of being back in Kerala. Making it again this week for my girlfriend who will love it.
    Thank you again

  • farheena khan

    It turned out beautiful.. thank u so much for posting this recipe.. i omitted the vinegar though.. wanted mild sourness.. definitely a keeper.

  • Maria

    Hi Jisha,

    I prepared fish moilee for the first time and came out excellent. For a long time I was looking for the authentic recipe. Finally I am happy with this one.

    Please share with us a nice beef curry recipe if you have.



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