Easy Kerala Style Spicy Pan Fried Fish or Meen Varuthathu

Easy Kerala Style Spicy Pan Fried Fish or Meen Varuthathu

Easy Kerala Style Fish Fry or Meen Varuthathu is a popular seafood in the coastal region of Kerala and eaten almost everyday. The fish is covered with basic ingredient spices like turmeric, red chilly powder, salt, ginger and garlic before being fried.

Easy Kerala Style Spicy Pan Fried Fish or Meen Varuthathu


Kerala is a state in the south west of India, also known as the ‘Land of Spices’  because it traded spices with Europe as well as with many ancient civilizations. While Onam still remains the most awaited festival of the year in Kerala and is widely popularized as a vegetarian fare, in the northern districts like Malabar, you see significant changes in the diet like a scrumptious spicy fish fry will be graciously served along with other vegetarian dishes like inji curry, avial or thoran . Hence Onam is also bound by geography , and this practice of including fish and meat only prevails in the northern districts.

Easy Kerala Style Fish Fry or Meen Varuthathu
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Non-Veg
Cuisine: South Indian Cuisine
Serves: 3 people
  • 1 fish fillet (you can use any fish like king fish, pomfret, tilapia etc makes 4-5 medium fish pieces)
  • 1 knob ginger peeled, grated or finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder(paprika or cayenne for adding spice, adjust as per your taste)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil or olive oil ( you can use any vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Mustard Oil for shallow fry(You can use any frying oil but mustard or coconut oil add flavor to the fried fish)
  1. Wash and clean the fish with tap water. Pat it dry and cut the fillet into 4-5 medium size fish pieces.
  2. Make slight gashes or light cuts with a knife into the fish pieces so that the masala gets infused inside the fish.
  3. In a bowl, combine ginger, garlic , mustard oil, lemon juice, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and pinch of salt. Apply this masala paste on the fish pieces, both sides. Keep aside refrigerated for 15 minutes.
  4. In a pan, add 1.5 tbsp of oil and when the oil is heated, lower the heat and shallow fry the fish, each side 5-6 minutes or till the fish is light golden on both the sides. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  5. Once the fish is cooked properly, take it out on a plate and serve it hot, along with rice and dal with a slice of lemon. You can also serve as appetizers.


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