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Celebrate Curry Week with a Keralan Curry

9th Sep

Curry may be a favourite dish in the UK, but many of the curries served here aren’t Indian at all – they’ve been adapted by curry houses to suit the British palate. The word curry means ‘sauce’ rather than the dish itself, and in India a sauce will be specifically made for each meat, unlike the British tradition of swapping proteins, such as chicken, lamb or vegetable Biryanis, for example.

Indian curries are based on a complex mix of spices and herbs, along with ginger, onion and garlic. Curry dishes in Southern India often include leaves from curry trees and coconut milk to give a creamier finish. Kerala is known as the "Land of Spices" from its spice trade with Europe and many ancient civilizations dating back to around 3000 BCE, and you’ll find plenty of cardamom, black pepper and Huli Pudi (sambar powder) used as spices.

To celebrate Curry Week, we've compiled three delicious Keralan recipes to showcase this unique South Indian cuisine.

Keralan Fish Curry

Keralan Fish Curry

A traditional fish dish with cocum (Malabar tamarind) and local spices 
Gluten-free, dairy-free


250g fish (cubed)   
30ml coconut oil   
2g fenugreek seeds    
100g sliced onion
1 medium tomato
5g ginger (julienned)
5g chopped garlic
5g green chilli
1 sprig of curry leaves  

10g chilli powder       
5g coriander powder     
3g turmeric powder        
100ml water                             
3 x dried Cocum (Malabar Tamarind, or 2 tbsp of tamarind pulp)
50ml coconut milk          
Salt to taste


For tempering:
15ml coconut oil
2g mustard seeds
10g sliced shallots
5g dried red chilli
1 sprig of curry leaves


  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds. Sauté the onions, ginger, garlic, green chilli and curry leaves until light brown
  • Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for a minute. Add water, cocum, fish cubes and salt. Cook for ten minutes, then add the coconut milk. Do not let it boil.
  • For tempering, heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds until they start to crack. Add sliced shallots, dried red chilli and curry leaves and sauté until it turns a golden brown colour.
  • Mix with the curry and serve hot.

Spice spotlight 

Malabar Tamarind - Native to India, the fruity and sour taste of tamarind merges well with the heat of chillies and gives South Indian dishes their dark colour and hot and sour character.


Cardamom Vegetable Korma

Vegetable Curry

Assorted vegetables cooked with coconut and cardamom


30ml coconut oil          
200g mixed vegetables  
5g ginger             
5g garlic    
5g green chillies  
100g onion                     
1 sprig of curry leaves  
1g turmeric powder  
2g cardamom (whole) 
30ml coconut milk  
Salt to taste

Coconut paste

100g grated coconut   
2g cardamom   
15g shallot                        
1 sprig of curry leaves



  • Mix together the coconut paste ingredients and set aside.
  • Cut the vegetables into small cubes. Heat the oil in the pan and add the cardamom, chopped ginger, garlic, green chilli, onion and curry leaves and sauté well.
  • When the onion softens, add the turmeric powder, coconut paste, vegetables, water and salt.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer for a few seconds.
  • Garnish with curry leaves.

Spice spotlight 

Cardamom - One of the world’s most expensive spices, cardamom has an intense spicy-sweet flavour and a great aroma. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties and is great for helping with digestive problems.

Chicken Kurumulaku
Keralan Chicken Curry

A rich Kerala speciality highly flavoured with pepper


250g chicken
1g cardamom 
3g cloves    
1g cinnamon stick   
150g onion                 
5g ginger     
5g garlic       
3g green chilli        
1 sprig of curry leaves

75g tomatoes, sliced  
10g turmeric powder     
5g chilli powder       
5g coriander powder    
5g fresh black pepper, crushed   
2g garam masala     
2g fennel powder   
50ml coconut milk   
45ml coconut oil          
Salt to taste



  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add whole cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, sliced onions, garlic, ginger, green chilli and curry leaves. Sauté until the onions turn dark brown.
  • Add the turmeric, chilli, coriander and garam masala powders. Sauté for a minute and add tomatoes and salt. Cook until the tomatoes can be mashed.
  • Add the chicken and cook on a slow heat until tender.
  • Add the pepper and coconut milk and cook till it reduces.
  • Finish with fennel powder and serve hot.

Spice spotlight 

Black pepper - This common kitchen condiment is not only flavoursome but also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps provide relief from respiratory disorders, coughs and colds.

If you love Indian food, why not tempt your tastebuds with our Keralan Culinary Adventure, and travel around South India sampling delicious home-cooked delicacies.