Ayala / Mackerel Fish Curry (Kerala Style)

For me food is all about memories! Every unique food takes me back to the place where I have tasted or tried. I tasted Ayala fish curry for the first time years back at Alleppey in a small hotel somewhere near the boat jetty. When I moved to Kochi this had become my staple Sunday lunch. I miss Kochi and the sweet Malayalam a lot these days. When I made this curry nearly after 2 years, it was so nostalgic and Laddu (my pet kitten) loved the smell of the curry and all around the kitchen sniffing. Laddu is no more now and this post is in memory of him and my Kochi days.


  • Ayala / Mackerel Fish – 1/2 kg
  • Kodampuli (Pot Tamarind / Malabar Tamarind) – 3 to 4 nos
  • Coconut – 1/2 cup
  • Shallots (small onion / chinna vengaayam) – Handful / Approx 10 to 15
  • Tomato – 1 medium size
  • Ginger – 1.5 inch piece
  • Garlic cloves – 6
  • Sesame Oil/ Coconut Oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Chilly Powder – 2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 4 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds (Vendhayam / Uluva) – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves – 1 Spring


  1. Clean the fish well along with turmeric and rock salt and keep it aside.
  2. Wash the kodampuli twice to remove the impurities and soak it in 1/4 cup of hot water at least 1 hour before.
  3. Extract Coconut Milk with 1/2 cup of warm water and keep it aside.
  4. Make a coarse paste of Ginger and Garlic and keep it aside
  5. Cut the shallots and tomatoes to the required size.
  6. In the heavy bottom pan, add 2 tbsp of oil, add Fenugreek seeds, when it turns slightly brown, add the shallots and saute till translucent (not golden brown).
  7. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute it till raw smell goes off.
  8. Add tomatoes and saute again till the tomatoes turns mushy. ( You can add little of salt here so that tomatoes gets cooked faster).
  9. Add chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, required salt and saute the mixture till raw smell of the masala goes off.
  10. Now add the soaked kodampuli as it is. Do not extract pulp. Just add the soaked kodampuli along with that water.
  11. Add 1/2 cup of water and let the mixture boil for 2 to 4 minutes.
  12. Add the fish now and allow it to cook for 3 to 5 minutes ( Fish will cook very easily so don’t cook for long time).
  13. Add the coconut milk after 3 minutes of above step and let it cook in low flame for 3 more minutes.
  14. Now the fish should be almost cooked, before switching off the stove add 1 teaspoon of cooking coconut oil and add the curry leaves directly to the Fish Curry


  • Last step is purely optional but please try that you will love the taste and aroma of the fish curry though not a big fan of Coconut Oil
  • Do not skip or replace Kodampuli as that’s the main ingredient which gives flavor to the curry.
  • In Telugu this is called Kannangadatha.

Looking for Fish names in Telugu? Just check out the below link.


Struggling to find your favourite fish names in Tamil? Click the link below.


Few other languages for references


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