Kerala-style Coconut & Vegetable Curry

Yeap, this is another one of those spontaneous posts  when I invent a dish, forget to take the photos because I’ve eaten it too quickly, decide it’s worth sharing, and then go and post it! Just like now!

This gorgeous coconuty curry is loosely based on a recipe for Fish in Coconut Milk (Fish Molee) by Camellia Panjabi (50 Great Curries of India). What I loved about this recipe, apart from the fact that is coconut-based, is the emphasis on the wet masalas (onions, chilies, ginger and garlic), with mere hints of whole spices (black pepper, green cardamom, clove). I made it this weekend with fish, and loved it, so I made it again today, changing it quite a bit. Firstly, I used vegetables instead of fish, and cashew nuts to add some protein. Secondly, I used 12 green chilies (instead of 6), but with seeds removed, because I wanted to get the maximum chili flavour as well as the heat. Speaking of which, the heat was quite interesting. Medium hot, but well distributed throughout the curry, because the chilies melted into the curry (you can discard the skins, but I left them in). As a result, the heat was lovely and warm, but not aggressive. Then, I changed the quantities of spices a little by adding 1 more cardamom pod, and one more peppercorn, along with using 18 instead of 6 – 8 curry leaves. I also added a hint of garam masala to the dish, and lemon juice. In the original recipe, the fish was marinated in lemon juice and turmeric, but since I didn’t use the fish, I added the turmeric and lemon juice straight to the dish!

And the verdict? What can I say, we loved it! You try it, and let me know what you think!




Kerala-style Vegetable and


 Coconut Curry



SOURCE: adapted from the recipe for Fish in Coconut Milk (Fish Molee) by Camellia Panjabi (50 Great Curries of India)



CUISINE: Indian – Kerala

SERVES: 2 hungry people



1 tbsp ghee, or vegetable oil

1 large or two small yellow onions, sliced 

12 green finger chilies, slit in half, and seeds discarded

6 x 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped or grated 

5 medium cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 -1 tsp turmeric, or more to taste

3 small plum tomatoes from a tin, mashed with a fork

3 black peppercorns

1 clove

3 green cardamom pods, bruised

18 dried curry leaves

150 ml coconut milk

1 sachet of creamed coconut (50 g, I think. You can use only coconut milk though, just add another 100 – 150 ml)

1 – 1 1/2 tsp ground almonds (optional)

a pinch of ground black pepper

freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon or lime (or less, according to taste)

2 medium courgettes

2 small carrots

a handful of cashew nuts

1/2 tsp garam masala



1. Heat the ghee in a medium pan, and when it’s hot enough, add the onions. Fry until they start to brown stirring occasionally, being extra careful so they don’t burn.(I normally chop the garlic, chilies and ginger while the onions are frying.)

2. When the onions are browned, add ginger, chilies and garlic, stir well and fry for a few more minutes, until the garlic starts going golden.

3. Then add the whole spices and curry leaves and stir for 10 s. Then, add the turmeric. Stir once, and add the tomatoes. Keep stirring for 2 – 3 minutes, until a thick paste is created.

4. Now add the coconut and continue cooking on low heat for 10 – 12 minutes. The onions will fall apart, and create a thick coconut paste.

PLEASE NOTE: If using coconut milk, add the coconut cream from a non-shaken coconut milk can at this stage, and after the past is cooked, add the thinner milk that’s left in the can.

5. When the paste is done, add about 3 – 4 dl water to it, depending on how soupy you want it (see the note about serving). Then, add the almonds if using, lemon juice and ground pepper; cook for a few minutes.

6. At this stage, I brought the mixture to boil, added the cashews and the vegetables, and took it off the heat while I cooked the rice. I put the lid on the curry, to capture the flavours! When the rice was nearly done, I reheated the curry, and added the the garam masala to it. This way, the vegetables stayed fairly crunchy.

I made my curry rather soupy, and served it with Thai jasmine rice, which worked really well. The rice is slightly glutinous, so it soaked in the sauce, and it was absolutely gorgeous! I also sprinkled it with fresh coriander. Yum!!!



Other courgette curries on Maninas:

A simple courgette curry

Other coconut, non-vegetarian curries at Maninas:

Coconut Chicken Masala

Hariyalli Chicken

For other Indian recipes at Maninas, click HERE, or check out the Recipes by origin page.  ___________________________________________________

Leave a comment


  1. this was my favourite curry when i was a carnivore. i would love to make this again, in the veggie avatar.

    Hi Bee! Please do! I’d love to see your version, too! 🙂


  2. Sounds super, I fancy a curry now!

    Me too! It was super! Gosh I’m hungry now!


  3. I love using this same cookbook as a starting point for inventing other curry combinations. This one looks great!

    Hi Lydia! Welcome to my blog! 🙂 great to see you here! I am actually planning to make another dish from this book tonight – chicken and pistacchio korma! have you tried it? I’ll see how it goes tonight!


  4. This sounds delicious. I have an affinity for all coconut curries, so I shall store this recipe in my to-try list…
    There’s a Kerala food restaurant in Tokyo called Kerala Bawan. If you ever visit, you should try ’em!


  5. Nice one..i am going to try this today



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