Mackerel / Ayala Curry for those late dinners.!

Mackerel or Ayala as it is called in Kerala is a very popular fish. It is not very expensive and can be made in numerous ways – fried, curried or grilled. Back home we make it in a thick red gravy, in a coconut based gravy or we have it fried in oil. In many restaurants in Kerala, fish curries made with this fish is a regular side. There is also a restaurant in Madiwala, Bengalaru, where they serve a gravy made using this fish as a ozichucurry.

Fish is the one thing I just cannot photograph. I have written and discarded many fish based recipes because the photos were not good. So, please excuse the photographs here for they are not great, but the recipe is nice. Most Kerala homes have mackerel marinated with chili powder, turmeric and salt, stored in the fridge for frying later. Well, grab a few and lets get started.

Ayala/ Mackeral curry

Ayala/ Mackeral curry


  • Ayala / Mackerel – 3
  • Onion – 1 small
  • Ginger – 1 small piece
  • Garlic – 4 big
  • Green Chili – 2 split
  • Tomato – 1
  • Red chili powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – needed
  • Coconut – 1/3 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Oil
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaf – a sprig
Ayala/ Mackeral curry
  • In Kerala we use earthen vessels for cooking fish.  In an earthen pot add the ginger, garlic, chopped onions, tomato, green chili, a sprig curry leaf, salt and the dry masala powders and mix well.
  • Add the sliced fish to the mix, add a cup of water and cook  covered on a medium flame.
  • When the fish is cooked and the gravy has reduced, grind the coconut and the cumin seeds to a nice paste and add it to the above.
  • Cook till the raw smell has gone and the gravy has become thick.
  • Take care that the fish does not break.
  • In a separate pan pop the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. Add to the gravy and keep covered till you serve.
  • This curry goes very well with dosas.

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