Friday, August 3, 2007

Mathi Mulaku-arachathu/Sardines in Red Curry.

A simple fish curry that's very much associated with the Christian houses of Kottayam,I would say.Sardines known as Mathi or Chala is well known as the ‘poor man’s fish’ as it is economical , nutritious and of course delicious in dishes.

A traditional recipe of Kerala prepared in Manchatti(Flat earthern pots) with a fresh catch of Sardines brought right to the doorstep of any home;this red hot curry is made perfectly using Kudampuli. ..Mulaku meaning chilly and arachathu referring to grinding.As it may sound, the curry doesn’t require any grinding part.I love having the red curry,the second day, licking away till the last drop, so spicy that the fumes would come out of my eyes and ears, tongue jutting out with watery nostrils..:).. my alltime favourite.

The basic gravy is somewhat similar to meen mulakuchar or meen mulakittathu.

Well, I am aware of the fact that most of you may not expect me coming up with a Non-veg recipe…and Sorry, my dear vegan friends..


1/2 kg Fresh Sardines
3-4 pieces Kudam puli(see picture)
Salt-to taste

To Temper,

3 tbsp Coconut oil( a little too much,but you need it :)
½ tsp each of Mustard and fenugreek seeds
4 pods of Garlic, cut into juliennes
1” piece Ginger, cut into juliennes
3 Shallots/Ulli, cut into juliennes
2 Green chillies,slit lenghtwise
A tsp Dhania powder
2 tbsp Red Chilly powder
A sprig of Curry leaves


1. Clean and cut the fish into 2 pieces each. Discard the head part of each.

2. Rinse and soak the kudampuli in half a cup of warm water.Too big ones are to be slit into smaller pieces.

3. Heat coconut oil in a kadai, splutter the mustards and brown the fenugreek seeds.Sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger pieces, green chillies and the curry leaves till the aroma fills the air.Add the dhania and the chilly powder, blend them in oil for just 3 to 5 seconds taking care not to char.At this point the oil should look watery and Bright Red along with the tempered ingredients. add 2 cups of water, immediately.

4. Add the puli as such(no need to extract the pulp) and let it boil.

5. Transfer contents to a flat manchatti/earthern pot and add the fish pieces.Simmer the gravy for a few minutes till the fish pieces turn soft and the oil separates.

6. The curry tastes better if prepared at least 4 hours before serving and the best, the second day. Goes well with hot rose matta rice or kappa puzhukku.

Recipe courtesy-Mary, our sweet maid in Ktm who is serving us for a very long time.


  1. what a nice spicy way to eat sardines. I love them, learnt to eat them in the Algarve, bbqed by fisherman. yum yum
    can you tell I am a gourmand!!

  2. Sauce looks firce,I love it!:)
    I had a Catholic friend who would cook fish curry and dig out for fish heads to eat,her fave.I would run the other way! As a 12yr old I was still 100% vegetarian!!:D

  3. I am drooling over that fresh fish pic. i will try it but can it be doen with any other small fish ?

  4. amazing amazing!! here is to my sister's love for fish! cheers :)

  5. We love sardines...the curry is very droolworthy :)

  6. Yummy I love this curry too with rasam or kachiya moru !

  7. Never prepared this fish type. After seeing yours tempting to prepare. Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. oh yummmmm... mathi... I am missing it sooooo much :( it looks soooooo good...

    So u are cooking non-veg at home now? coverted the hubby? :D , I guess mathi is the wrong way to go, if that was your intention... only the hard core non-vegs would appreciate the wonderful aroma :D

  10. This is looking so YUM!....Mouth watering recipe...Lovely looking one...Love them....

  11. oh what is this ?? not my bowl :0 but i can see the gravy looks spicy :)

  12. u r funny,bharathy:)i was on vacation and came back only a couple of days back.when i checked your site there it is!!couldnt help saying WOW:)

  13. oh God.. my mouth is watering just looking at the pic.. sigh so many memories of that lovely curry.. u have no idea how much i miss it

  14. Thankyou Saju,Wecome to my site...

    LOL!!..Asha..But for sardines the head is not that edible..

    Oh yes, Sandeepa,you can try with any fish...even with fillets..

    As you know,sis :)

    Sunitha,thank you girl..

    But the gravy here is watery and you may noot need any Ozhichukoottan for this..OK.. your choice..:)

    Hugs to you Jyothi.:)..

    Did I ever say,I turned a veggie,Sobila!;)..

    Welcome back Meera!Hope to see your yummy favourites soon..

    Sig, you had hit the pot...I am a Hard core Non-veggie..:)..Thanx gal.

    Thanx Sukanya..

    Yes,Roopa,I know its not for your bowl..No substitute(veg) for this.Sorry dear :(..of course it is spicy.

    Thanx for visiting,Roshan..:).

  15. Hey long time I had this and Iam drooling now looking at the picture.

  16. Gosh ! i am drolling away here seeing the mathi curry and too prepared in a !

  17. i tried this, it was delicious, esp the next day! thanks Bharthy!

  18. Oh Bharaty, mathi in manchatti, makes me really salivate badly. I am scared I'll be dehydrated. It would taste wonderful the next day, n I agree with Preeti on that one.

  19. Bharthy, I am in India now, and I am determined NOT to leave unless I have a meenchatti with me!

    Can't wait to get back and try this recipe in a meenchatti!

  20. Preeti,thanks dear...
    Do try when you are in India itself..Kerala??..if so try to get those fresh sardines..if you are some where,other than kerala,any fish can be sustituted..inform me when you are done :)..Happy New Year to you!

  21. Hi bharathy,

    Loved your recipe:) infact iam drooling over the pics mmmmm:) ....sadly i dont have a manchatti, and i dont know how to clean the fish, could you help me on that part pleeease? i love to have the fresh fish than the one from forzen, but i wish so badly,I was good at cleaning fish :( ...please tell me how to can email me at ...thanks a lot again for the recipe:)

  22. HI...let me drop in a sentence here...

    THanx first of all for this recipie..this is how my mom prepares and as she is away from me ...thot of netsurfing and found your know what it is now the stove...simmering...

    the lovely smell is floating in the air now...i remember my mom's kitchen...thnx ...

    I am Divya from Mumbai...i will update you once I have this curry with rice...

  23. Truly Fantastic.
    Have had several versions of Mathi, but first time I tried it with Kodam Puli, it really changes the flavour of the fish, wonderful..
    I made it today, turned out really good..


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...