Meen Mulakittathu ~ Fish in Spicy Gravy

I have already shared my version of Meen Mulakittathu before, the only thing is that I made it with sardines, so called it Mathi Mulakittathu. That has always been the way that umma makes, and how I learned to make from her. Since we don't like too much of spice or sourness, her version is apt for our taste.

During a casual talk, my colleague shared with me the way his wife makes the mulakittathu. I have already shared my tried recipes of hers here and here. The mention of the use of shallots made me feel that I must try it out. I love anything cooked in loads of shallots, though frankly speaking, I try to keep out of it mainly because of the laziness of peeling and slicing/ chopping them. But then this recipe was so irresistable that I had to try. And I am so happy I did! This was just so good with rice, I must say... Even the kids loved it as it was not highly spicy. Yes, do increase the level of red chilli powder to make it even more hot!

Meen Mulakittathu ~ Fish in Spicy Gravy
Serves 4


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup shallots, sliced
3 green chillies, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
3/4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
3 pcs gamboge (kudampuli), soaked for 30 minutes in 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup water
Salt to taste
4 small mackarel, cleaned and cut into half
Curry leaves for garnishing


Heat coconut oil in a man-chatti (earthern pot), allow the mustard seeds to splutter. Add the fenugreek seeds and fry briefly. Add the shallots and chillies and cook on low flame, stirring occassionally till the shallots wilt. Add the tomato and cook till the tomatoes are all mashed up.

Add the powders and fry briefly till a bright red color appears. Smash the gamboge and dispose off the mash. Pour the gamboge water, along with extra water and salt and allow to boil. Now add the fish and cook for 10 minutes with a closed lid or till the fish is done. Sprinkle the curry leaves and keep on closed lid for sometime. Serve warm with rice or kappa puzhukku - delish!


1. You can add dried red chillies at the intial stage along with the fenugreek, but I preferred using green chillies.
2. Add more chilli powder for more spiciness, mine was just fine for us and the kids!
3. You can use any fish for this curry. I feel sardines would taste awesome!
4. You can very well use tamarind instead of gamboge, follow the same procedure.
5. Since I didn't want to add additional coconut oil, I just added the curry leaves as is. For extra flavor, you can sprinkle some more coconut oil, or temper - heat coconut oil, fry a couple of chopped shallots till brown, then fry curry leaves and add into the curry.

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