Monday, 21 January 2013

Meen Achar/ Fish Pickle

Apologies if you came to this post expecting the recipe for an authentic Kerala-style fish pickle.

The style of pickle presented here is quite common to the coastal parts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; this one is my Grandmother's special. Contrary to the authentic fish pickle, fish is not heavily deep fried till it becomes hard. It is only fried till it is cooked through and then coated in a tangy sauce, very similar to a fish pickle sauce. Also it should be consumed within a week of its preparation, as its shelf-life is considerably less than a normal fish pickle. Nonetheless, we still call it a Meen Achar because it holds a very close resemblance. However, you will not be disappointed by the flavours and taste of this spicy, spine tingling fish pickle.

Serves: 4 - 5
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes + time to fry fish

  • 500g fish, cleaned and cut into 1 inch thick pieces (Spanish Mackerel, Greasy Mackerel, Trevally, Silver Trevally)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kashmiri chilly powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil to fry fish
For the spicy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, freshly minced
  • 1 1/2 inch ginger, freshly minced
  • 1 large green chilly, slit
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp oil (reserve oil in which fish was fried)
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp chilly powder (adjust to taste)
  • 3 tsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
1. Marinate fish with chilly powder and salt and refrigerate for 1 hr. Deep fry fish in oil until it turns reddish-brown on all sides and is cooked just enough. (Do not fry fish pieces too hard). Reserve oil in which fish was fried.
2. Pour 4 tbsp of the reserved oil in a pan. Add ginger, garlic and green chilly and stir through until fragrant. Add curry leaves with spices and stir through for a few seconds without burning the spices. Add tomato puree and salt and mix well. Simmer on low flame until all moisture from the puree evaporates and oil separates. Add vinegar and fish pieces and mix well until the sauce coats fish pieces. Remove from fire. Let it cool.
Keep aside for 1 day before using.

Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


  1. i am drooling here .would try it .yum.bookmarked

  2. love they way masala sticks to fish.

  3. OMG...this is "out of this world" good. My Amma used to make this very often and
    its taste still lingers on my tongue. I would love some off the screen:)


  5. Wow delicious achar...bookmarked will def try this soon..

  6. first time here...
    U have a wonderful space, glad to follow u :)

  7. My mom use to make this....I love it....
    Looks mouth watering...

  8. Mouthwatering dear..I can almost finish the whole in a day,Yummy & unique way..Inviting clicks,have bookmarked to try !!
    Join EP event-Nutmeg OR Parsley @ Chef Mireille's Global Creations

  9. I've never tried these.looks mouthwatering.Can u plz take the verification.Its so diffiult to comment.

  10. Yum!!! I can survive with this and curd rice for any many days :) Looks so appetizing!!! Well made dear :)

  11. I make fish pickle the same way except we (Mid Tranvancore) add asafoetida to most of the fish preparations (red curries). I am a big fan of fish pickle...the pickle looks totally yum :).

    1. Wow! Asafoetida should give more depth to this. Will try it next time.