June 26, 2012

Thenga arracha unakkameen curry (Kerala style Dried fish and Raw Banana curry)

Back in the day, as a little girl, I never ventured to even taste these kind of dishes, irrespective of how much my mother tried to coax me, but now I really have begun to long for and enjoy such traditional preparations. I guess I can blame my then-young taste buds for having passed on all those good meals I could have otherwise had; and I do remember reading somewhere that your taste buds keep changing every 10 years. For me though, it seems like my taste buds are in over-drive as I age, as I have now begun enjoying a whole host of dishes, and have an ever-growing list of my fave foods as the years pass by. I can hardly think back on something that I dislike...ohh..wait a min - I dont like overipe bananas still :o)

This dish is truly authentic and traditional to Kerala. My grandmother used to make different variations of this dish and one that readily comes to mind is when she experimented  with succulent fresh shrimps..hmm ..I so miss those days!!


To grind
½ Inch – Fresh Ginger
8 - Dry Red Chilly
½ Tsp – Cumin Seeds (Jeerakam)
1 ½ Cup - Grated coconut
250gm -Dried fish (Unakka meen)
3 - Raw Banana (Kaya)
1/2 Tsp - Turmeric powder
3 – Kokum  (kudam puli), soaked in warm water for 5 minutes

For Tadka/ Tempering
Coconut oil
½ Tsp – Mustard Seeds
2 – Dry Red Chilly
4 - Shallots / Pearl onions (Kunjulli), sliced
1 -2 sprigs - Curry leaves

  • Soak the dried fish/unnakkiye meen in water for about 15 minutes and then drain it on a paper towel. *Do not use newspaper to do this as that could be harmful.
  • Grind the coconut, ginger, cumin seeds and dry red chilly together and keep it aside.
  • Add raw banana, dried fish, turmeric powder, 'kodam puli', salt and water and cook it until the banana is almost cooked through.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and cook for a few minute
  • For Tadka/ Tempering: Heat coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter for a while, then add the red chilly followed by the curry leaves and shallots.
  • Add the tadka to the dish and serve with warm rice.
Notes and Tips
  • You can substitute unnakiye chemeen (dried prawns) for unnakameen (dried fish)
  • You can substitute ethakkha (raw plantain) for kaya (raw banana)
  • Fish curry with 'Kodam puli' always tastes better the next day

Sending this recipe to Julie @ Erivum Puliyum for  'The Kerala Kitchen' event


  1. Oru rakshayum illattoooo..Adipoli..

  2. Flavorful & delicious,Shema..its been years I had this,coming there soon:-)
    Thanx for sending it to KK:-)

    Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
    1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

    2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

  3. lovely colors.. i'm all drooling.. ende vayil kapal odikkyaam... love the coconut shell spoon (cherutta tavi)

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  6. Yea its really tasty.. i have tried today.. my husband nd kida liked it very much.. thanks for publishing it.. but there is a minor mistake in this recipe.. adding salt is not mentioned here.

  7. Christy - Glad you liked it. I have updated the recipe.


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