Recipe – Fish Stew/Fish Moilee/Meen Moiley

Recipe – FISH MOILEE (Fort Kochi style) (Meen Moilee/Fish Stew)

I do different variations of Fish Moilee and it tastes good all the time; today, am sharing a simple, delicious, easy and quick-to-make recipe prepared in Fort Kochi (Kerala) style

Fish Moilee (Meen Moilee) is a traditional Kerala cuisine. It is hugely popular and loved by many across Kerala. The word ‘moilee’ means stew. Here, the fish is delicately cooked in coconut milk, minimal spices and lemon juice. To get an authentic taste, use fresh firm white fish, fresh coconut milk and good quality black pepper gives this curry a unique taste and texture. If you are a lover of mild subtle flavours, definitely, you will enjoy this dish. It’s my favourite and I always have an extra serving of rice with it.

In this method, frying the fish is optional. Most of the time I make it without frying; it is done to retain the shape of the fish and make it tasty to your palate. If using small pomfret, it can be made whole without frying. Fish Moilee can also be made with prawns too. Do not cook the fish for too long and the tomato should be al dente when preparing this dish.

I have used an earthernware pot (mann-chatti). Making of fresh coconut milk is mentioned in my Alleppey Fish Curry post. Fish Moilee tastes best when prepared on the same day. Serve it with hot steamed rice. Goes well with appams too. A heavenly feast:)

Fresh fish simmered delicately in creamy coconut milk, touch of turmeric, zesty lemon and an additional kick of freshly ground black pepper.

Prep time : 20 mins, Cooking time : 20 mins, Cuisine : Kerala, Serves : 4, Author : Gloria


12 fillets of king fish or pomfret or any firm white fish

1 medium sized onion finely sliced

4 big garlic flakes or 6 small garlic finely sliced

1” ginger julienned

4-5 green chillies (seeded/de-seeded and slit lengthwise)

few curry leaves

1 medium sized tomato sliced/quartered

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup thick coconut milk (first extract)

½ cup thin coconut milk (second extract)

1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

oil (preferably coconut oil)


Clean fish nicely with salt and vinegar. Cut it into medium sized pieces. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Marinate the cleaned fish with salt, pepper powder and little turmeric powder. Lightly fry the fish for two minutes, flipping it once on both sides. Reserve. This process is optional.

Heat oil in a pan and tip in mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Saute until it turns soft and transparent.

Add turmeric powder, salt; stir to mix and add second extract of coconut milk. Hand-squeeze lemon juice and slowly bring it to boil on low-medium heat.

Once oil emanates on top, add the fish. Cover and cook swirling in between. Reduce heat and add tomato, crushed pepper and simmer for a minute or two.

Now, add first extract of thick coconut milk. Do a taste-test and adjust seasonings, if needed. Switch off heat. Allow it to rest for sometime. Serve it with hot steamed rice or appams.



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