One of the most amazing meals in all of India is a Kerala-style Curry Fish Fry.

When you visit Kerala, this meal of seafood will make your entire trip worthwhile – you need to visit the restaurant ‘Amma Hotel,’ which you’ll find in the town of Khozikode.

Location, price, and hours down below, for now let’s get right to the food!

Its simply unbelievable... You have to try it for yourself
Southern India makes some of our world’s best foods – I want to make sure you know how to find them!

Amma Hotel

Amma Hotel serves incredible amounts of Kerala’s best seafood daily, and with each fish that you order comes a ton of side dishes, curries, and chutneys, which they will serve you on a wonderful banana leaf table top spread.

The entire lunch meal is wonderful, but when it comes to eating Kerala-style Fish Fry, they may have one of the single most tasty versions I’ve ever had in my life.

What to Order

The food you have to eat here is ‘Meen Porichathu,’ this is the Kerala-style Fish Curry. If its not clear to all by now, this is a dish so good it may be worth a trip to Khozikode just to eat.

You should plan to arrive at their small downtown Khozikode location just before 11am.
Amma Hotel is open from Noon-4pm each day

Arriving today at Amma Hotel, let me first warn you that entering this restaurant carries a risk.

You’re in real danger of rearranging your list of ‘All-Time Favorite Indian Foods’ after lunch today – this Kerala Fish Curry at Amma just may take the top spot.

Lunchtime in Khozikode

We’re arriving at Amma’s just before they open (at noon), for the chance to witness some of the magic behind the scenes – I can’t wait to show you their kitchen set-up.

It can get pretty busy at Amma Hotel for lunch, you may want to get there early – the restaurant is only open for 4 hours each day (and they close on Sunday).

Take one look at this fish fry in action, you might clear your schedule for the entire day
Your day’s schedule may mysteriously disappear, the moment you lay eyes on this Fish Fry…

Curry, Fish, Coconut Oil (Repeat)

Walk through the restaurant’s front entrance, and make your way to the kitchen. The amount of flavor they’re working with here is unreal – you may have to look twice before you’ll believe your eyes.

The chefs are literally sloshing, dumping, just pouring pure flavor into cooking pans – the gallon-size jugs that you see chefs pouring into the pans, all full of locally-made Kerala coconut oil.

To say that the state of Kerala loves coconut is an understatement – similar, yet so different from what you’ll eat in Northern India, there are very few recipes in all of Kerala that don’t include either coconut oil, coconut flesh, coconut milk, or all 3!

At Amma Hotel, its the oil they’re using to fry all these fish, and its also a key ingredient in many of their curry recipes as well.

Let the fish frying begin.

Kerala has some of the world's best food, at Amma Hotel, visit for Kerala's best seafood, open every day from noon to 4pm
Like a miniature field of Lava, but where ‘rocks’ are filets of spicy fish curry instead

Watch a Video of this meal!

Heavenly food flavors in Kerala start with local coconut oil, see a full meal at Amma Hotel seafood restaurant right now (Mark Wiens on YouTube).

Lava Fish Fry, at Amma Hotel in Khozikode

In Kerala, Malayalam is the official language by the way, and the photos (and video) you can see from our meal are full of trays of both ‘Avoli,’ – Silver Pomfret in English – and ‘Aiykoora‘ – which is Kingfish.

Don’t ask us to choose, and we won’t ask it of you – its quite an impossible decision. Thankfully you can eat your fill of both at Amma Hotel, now lets get back to that amazing kitchen scene.

Kingfish, and fresh Curry leaves, awaiting their turn in the lava pan...
Pomfret, Kingfish, and fresh Curry leaves, key ingredients for the best seafood in Kerala

The Fish Fry Technique

The chefs are working quickly, a small team is necessary to get all the steps just right, the process goes something like this:

Step 1:

Taking a clean fish from below the workspace, the first chef makes several scoring slices on the fish’s flesh, vertical cuts on each side.

This allows for maximal curry paste absorption, both before and after the coconut-oil jacuzzi time.

scoring the fish first down each side allows for maximal curry paste absorption
Scoring each fish’s skin allows for maximal absorption of both curry paste and coconut oil

The chef uses a huge mixing bowl of curry paste not only to fry the fish though, first using it as a marinade, before finally moving each fish to the frying tray (next photo).

Curry Sauce, or Marinade, or Both!

After rubbing each fish down from nose to tail, the chef then takes a moment to add additional handfuls of paste (because its already in her hands from rubbing the fish) directly into the huge frying pan in front.

Instead of taking time to wipe extra curry paste off her hands, she just adds that paste directly into the main pan!

Each step is therefore efficient – minimizing motion while maximizing flavor – and they can cook, coat, and begin to fry about a dozen fish like this at a time.

Each fish enters this massive mother pot full of Kerala-style curry paste
Each fish gets a few minutes in this massive mother pot of Kerala-style red curry

Marinating in and scooping out curry paste, then bathing all the fish in oil, the master chef now has several rows of fish out swimming in the pan before her.

To use the word ‘pan’ is polite, from right here, the pan looks more like a miniature field of lava.

This amount of thick red curry paste and silvery shimmering coconut oil has us literally quivering in excitement
Shaking in excitement as the chef pours on both thick red curry paste, and more silvery coconut oil.

A Mini-Jacuzzi of Coconut Oil

This is one volcano eruption I don’t mind seeing up close… the colors here are just glorious!

The glowing ‘rocks’ form the most friendly type of lava here, where each hot nuggets is actually an entire filet of fish instead.

Now it’s time for more coconut oil, and I love the way they do things here – precise additions, but so totally cooking on feel as well, now is when our feelings of hunger are reaching fairly incredible levels.

Approximate Ratio – 2 Gallons per Hour

I guess they’re using about 1 gallon jug per half hour of cooking, so just try to imagine the texture that’s at work here.

The thick red curry paste and silvery shimmering coconut oil creates literally a quivering of all stomach’s excitement, let’s move on now to Step 2.

Kerala's flavor secret is no secret - Coconut Oil is the Key
Kerala’s flavor secret is no secret – Coconut Oil is the Key

Step 2:

Her pan is massive, the fire unbelievably hot, and a distinct jacuzzi sensation is building.

Recipes that use the words ‘generous amount’ come nowhere even close to what this masterful version of fish curry requires.

They’re creating what you might consider to be a miniature bathtub of local Kerala coconut oil. Each fish in the pan gets this covering for a second time, and you have to see these awesome spatula skills at work!

Lava Fish Fry, in Kerala

I am thankful to be able to watch the video replay just to see, and further appreciate, her technique, her confidence and skill as she cooks (see the YouTube video of this meal here (link)).

She wastes no time, no movement is extra, and the time finally comes for entire branches full of fresh curry leaves.

Expertly stripping off every leaf, before the branches are even discarded she’s already reaching to finish this step with another helping of coconut oil. Slightly smaller this last time, from her magical plastic jug comes another cup or two of coconut oil into the pan.

Its mesmerizing.

for Kerala's best food, and the best food in Kerala, you have to try this lava fish fry
Lava Fish Fry, in Kerala

Step 3:

Its a beautiful process to watch, this constant motion creation of flavor. If you weren’t made so undeniably hungry be witnessing this whole scene, I think any Kerala food lover could sit here and watch for hours.

By this time she is ready to flip the first row of fish down further in towards the center of the pan, each fish getting a little flick to resettle it, and a second flick to re-cover it in coconut oil, and then she drops the ladle to go back for the next round of fish.

When that first row of fish has finally made its way, swam across this tiny ocean of coconut oil, curry paste, and curry leaves, the final step is to place them all in a banana leaf, covering a dozen or so fish, and send them out into the cafe area.

Everyone is waiting for these fish, and each batch is gone pretty much as quickly as they are serving it.

Every meal at Amma Hotel is full of amazing seafood, but this Kerala Fish Fry is what keeps you coming back, the highlight of every meal
All the sides are amazing, but that Curry Fish is the Ultimate Highlight of Every Meal

Traditional Lunch at Amma Hotel

Although this meal is one worth traveling to eat, its downtown location makes Amma Hotel very popular with local people working in Khozikode.

If you arrive during work-day lunchtime hours, not only is it going to be tough to get a table, this will also show you how great the pricing is for a full lunch at Amma Hotel as well.

For a full and traditional meal of Kerala’s best seafood here, I’ll give you a small list of how the steps of your lunch might take place:

Its simply unbelievable... You have to try it for yourself
Joyful color full of Tastebud-blowing happiness – your lunch at Amma Hotel

Appetizers – Starters and Sides

The waiting staff will start you off with a small spread of the following foods, spooning each of them out onto your banana leaf. All of these items are foods you can refill for free, and soon you will recognize which serving vessels contain which combinations of food.

Usually in this order, you will have:

Round 1

– White rice (a single spoon, which you’ll soak with curry, so they will bring fresh rice many times)

– Yellow dal (chick peas) with mustard seeds and curry leaves

– A slightly mushy pile of green beans, awesomely full of ginger flavor.

– A mild curry sauce which drops right in the middle of your rice pile (use your hand, and poke a hole in your rice first, the server will know what to do).

Chutney is one of the greatest single sources of flavor in all of India, in all the world
Few bites of food on earth with more flavor per square centimeter than chutney – its truly mind-boggling

Round 2

– Several samplings of chutney (get as much and as many as you can!). These will vary from being sour, sour and sweet, slightly bitter and/or salty, all of them powerful, and always amazing to every tastebud you’ve got.

– ‘Papaddum’ (or just ‘Papad’), a crunchy, crispy, airy disc of rice bread, which you crush with your hand and mix into your rice.*

*This gives you a bit of texture behind the bites of rice, as well as adding salt (some recipes may not include salt, instead you can add your own amounts as you like with your papad).

Round 2, Sort of…

By the time you finish about half of your meal, the waiter serving your table may already see which dish is your favorite, and they may already be refilling your banana tray.

This might be seconds for one dish (or thirds and fourths, again these are free refills) before you are done with ‘firsts’ of another item… in India, its ok, and totally perfect in fact!

Poke a little hole in your rice to begin your meal, the final curry sauce goes right down inside
Practice eating with your hands, including poking holes in your rice for maximum curry penetration

Main Course – The Fish Fry

Eat as much as you want of the starters, but remember that your fish is on its way!

Finally, the main course arrives, and it is added alongside (or directly on top) of whatever rice you have remaining in the middle of your banana leaf placemat-plate.

If you didn’t choose to take a second portion of rice by now, then now is the time to get a refill – a new mound of white rice for this fish is the way to go, like an artist’s clean brush, ready for new curry flavor to brighten your food world.

Pro Tip*: You are going to want to experience every bit of the flavor that resides in our mother-chef master’s fish-bathtub frying tray – so be ready! You might ask nicely, and smile broadly, but be sure to do whatever you can to get your table’s waiter to scrape an entire spoon of the leftover curry paste from their large serving tray, directly onto your own banana leaf plate.

The Curry Fish Fry is the highlight, but this Rasam is definitely the bonus item
The Curry Fish Fry is the highlight, but this Rasam is definitely the bonus item

Bonus Menu – Rasam

There is one item on the menu that doesn’t go onto your tray, but goes directly into your hand instead!

You have to try the Rasam, a classic flavor of Indian cuisine, a sour and flavorful soup. They’ll serve to you from a pitcher, and not the curry-ladle tray, so be sure to not wave the waiter away when you think they’re refilling your water cup.

While the modern way is to have it in a second drinking cup for sipping (same cup as your water cup), the traditional way is so much more fun.

Hold out one hand, and keep it steady, with all your fingers in alignment. Hold as much liquid as you can (rasam is not hot enough to burn you) – you are going to want all you can get of this warming mouthful of soup.

Rasam Soup + Slurp Move

Slurp from whichever side of the hand you want, I find it easy to go from the base of the thumb, (leave a comment below if you have any pro-tips for us). Locals will assure you it tastes better this way, and after doing it myself I agree.

The taste is full of sour tamarind, masala spices, and maybe some sweetness from jaggery. Its absolutely delicious for looking only like a simple soup, you’re definitely going to want seconds on this one.

Kerala has its own way of making rasam, usually doing everything from scratch (not using the more common way of including instant powder in the recipe) – its tasty, its a classic flavor of Kerala, but this could also just be the most fun palate cleanse I can ever remember trying.

Rasam is another example of Kerala’s love for spicy flavor. The recipe is intricate, SO full of flavor like many of my favorite foods from around India (this amazing example from the North right here).

This is a flavor so great I’m happy to take it to-go, tucking away the last bite for a last taste of this great meal in Khozikode.

You can take one (or a few) of these small treats instead of small change for the meal
Take one of these small treats instead of carrying away coins as change from your meal.

Jaggery Snack for Dessert

When all your fish have finally gone, and only a pile of bones remain, its finally time to pay the bill, and say ‘so long’ to the amazing Amma Hotel.

Directly in front of the restaurant, you’ll find a table full of sweet and savory snacks… but this is also a way to collect your change?

Pick out a Snack instead of taking your Change!

Snacks like these are a sort of farewell to a traditional lunch in Khozikode, but its also a way to avoid carrying around small change!

If you’re like me, and you really don’t want to have a pocket full of coins during your trip, then this is what you have to do. You can take one (or a few) of these small treats instead of small change for the meal. Its one of the many cute and cool things I enjoy to think back on when missing the time traveling in India.

Snack Options

Choose between sweet items, in which they use local jaggery sugar, or savory items as well, like the ones they make using peanuts, sesame seeds, and even hints of spice like cardamom and cumin.

They’re very cheap, and give you just a few bites to walk away and snack on while you thoughtfully plan out your next meal of Kerala’s best traditional food.

When you're in Khozikode, don't miss a visit to Amma Hotel for lunch
When you’re in Khozikode, don’t miss a visit to Amma Hotel for lunch

Khozikode (Callicut), in Kerala

Recommendations for where to find the best food in Kerala probably focus on several other towns before they will reach Khozikode (for this specific list…).

Khozikode is famous for both a cool night life, and its unique jungle-meets-ocean natural vibe, but neither of these have to do with the best food in Khozikode.

After reading this article though, I hope you will reconsider!

By the way, you can see a basic version of Kerala’s Fish Curry here (link), and another website detailing no less than 8 entirely different recipes, all of them making what in English we might just call a ‘Kerala Fish Curry.’

Its so diverse, the number of ways to make this dish in Kerala, and it just goes to show how important this dish is when creating any menu including Kerala’s most authentic food.

In Conclusion

When you are in Khozikode, don’t miss visiting Amma Hotel for lunch, you need to have India’s most amazing coconut oil curry fish fry for yourself.

Finally, be sure to tell us all about your own experience when you’re there, we would love to hear from you in the comment section down below.

Cheers, thanks for reading.

For some of Kerala's best seafood, be sure to visit Amma Hotel
Amma Hotel, serving some of Kerala’s Best Seafood

Name: Amma Hotel (Seafood Restaurant)
Location: (Google Maps)
Hours: 12pm – 4pm Daily, closed on Sunday (we came a bit early to watch the cooking)
Prices: 1500 INR (US$19.70) for 6 people, our entire meal plus 2 curry fish each.

56 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Zahira Espinal

    2 weeks ago

    I have always wanted to go to Kerala, this is such an amazing post. So detailed and your pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joel Bruner

      2 weeks ago

      Zahira, glad you enjoyed it, thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a comment! All the best

  • Kingsofty

    3 weeks ago

    From Kerala thanks for making it popular it’s the best dish here♥️

    • Joel Bruner

      2 weeks ago

      Mano, nice one, thanks for the comment, and the compliments you give by supporting this blog. All the best!

  • Prabhanjan Kumar Sahoo

    3 weeks ago

    Suddeny I got to see this post of your blog in my feed as I was searching about some of the amazing fish curry in kerala. Quite interested to know more such curries if you know. Please shre more ethenic indian curries . I like your style of explanation.

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Prabhanjan, wow, glad that you liked this post! Great comment, thanks for taking the time to write. Yes, the fish curries in Kerala are on a world-class level for flavor, wow… missing it myself 🙂

  • Leja re

    3 weeks ago

    I would love to help you explore the seafood of Maharashtra’s Malvan and Kokan region as well. Someday! Cheers to this amazing read and a me mesmerizing video.

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Leja, thanks so much! Wow, glad you liked them, your support is awesome, thank you. We would love to visit Maharashtra, we would love to come soon! Thanks for the invitation, and the reminder 🙂

  • Bea Meitiner

    4 weeks ago

    Now my mouth is watering!! Can’t wait to read the rest of your blogs and discover your videos! Where have you been hiding!!

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Hi Bea! Thanks for reading, thanks for finding this blog (at last 🙂 ). Mark has been diligently working to create this huge website of food and travel tips for over 10 years, I have helped him for just about 3 years now. But, still glad you found it! Good luck on your website, I checked it out and I like the photos already! Cheers!

  • Aero Cuahonte

    4 weeks ago

    Great food of Kerala and specially curry

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Thanks a lot Aero, enjoy your day today!

  • Habeeb

    4 weeks ago

    I am a keralite by the way , and you don’t say, the article is spot on, we love fish , chicken ,some leafy green veggiees with some white rice, thats our typical diet
    love your article by the way

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Habeeb, excellent comment, thanks so much for your support! Hope all is well today, wishing you well!

  • Nuoma

    4 weeks ago

    The food is always more tasty when u know how it was made. So many countries, so many ways of making food. Greetings from Lithuania!

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Yes, Nuoma! You said it, yes this is a huge part of appreciating real food in the world 🙂 Real, as in learning where it comes from, and the real people who make it… awesome comment, thanks for writing!

  • Riyadly

    1 month ago

    i love curry . specially i love chicken curry . love from bangladesh

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Riyadly! Thanks for commenting, a warm greeting to you in Bangledesh!

  • mankan-moghadam

    1 month ago

    wow very Delicious foods

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Mankan, thanks so much for reading!

  • John Mayfield

    1 month ago

    I am amazed how well you describe everything and how good your photos are! This dish looks delicious, can’t wait to try it, as soon as i visit India (after the Pandemic is ended). Thank you

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      John, thanks so much for the great words today. We’re glad you enjoyed the post, and I know you will absolutely love India, hope you can go very soon. All the best, thanks again for the support! Cheers.

  • Ela Goulding

    1 month ago

    Such a mouth watering recipes. Would love to visit kerala on holiday this summer.

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Hi Ela, I really hope you can have this chance soon. You will love India, for so many reasons, its surely one of the most incredible places in our world.

  • udayavani

    1 month ago

    great information.Thanks a lot.

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Most welcome Udayavani, thanks for commenting!

  • Basen

    1 month ago

    Hiiiiiii,Yes , That’s absolutely right ,fish curry of Amma hotel seafood is awesome and very testy .Test of fish curry can’t explain in a single word .Just go and enjoy

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Basen! Happy to see that you know this hotel well, yeah the fish is bordering on life-changing good flavor at Amma… have a great day today, thanks for the support. Cheers!

  • Vishal Kaushik

    1 month ago

    great info…thanks a lot

  • navina

    1 month ago

    Hi, thanks for recipe of curry fish fry.
    I live in bihar but after trying curry fish, I really love the dish

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Hi Navina, big greeting to you in Bihar! Hope all is well today, thanks for the comment, and for your support.

  • PHIL G

    1 month ago

    Thanks for post. During this pandemic it is helpful to recall how we used to travel and enjoy life and food.

    • Joel Bruner

      4 weeks ago

      Phil, I hear you, but thank you still for taking the time to read, to support this website, I hope we can travel and enjoy food outdoors freely again like you say very soon! Until then, I hope all is as well as can be, make the best of each day, and we will be in a better place whenever this is ‘over.’ Cheers!

  • vijay kumar

    1 month ago

    I am visited kerala nice place in india

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Vijay! Thanks for writing, I hope you enjoyed your time there.

  • nageshwer

    1 month ago

    Kerala is the beautiful state of India.in Kerala when people eat on a banana leaf it is very interested to thank you for this blog

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Nageshwer, youre most welcome, and thanks a lot for the message! Yes I think using a banana leaf has to be just about the most tasty way to ever have a full meal of Kerala’s spicy curries… amazing.

  • Emmanuel

    1 month ago

    Hmm tasty, if Jesus tarries who knows, I might go there one day

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Emmanuel, thats a great message, I hope you do have the chance to visit Kerala someday! Thanks for writing, God bless.

  • Stella Wilson

    1 month ago

    The food looks really great. I can’t stop looking at the pictures. On my next visit to Kerala, I will make sure that I’ll visit “Amma’s hotel” and try this amazing curry fish fry.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Stella, hi! I know you will love it, Amma Hotel has just about the tastiest fish fry on earth. Haha, no bias here…
      Have a wonderful day today, thanks for the message, and glad you enjoyed this article (it was tough to write, looking at those photos, getting too hungry)

  • Aditii

    1 month ago

    I hope you can visit Kerala very soon. Its looks so delicious. Fish fry from Kerala is one of the best dishes. They are nice article. They are sounds is so great. Thanks for sharing your information.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Aditii, thank you for taking the time to write. Wishing you a wonderful day, and good luck!

  • Brian Smith

    1 month ago

    I was also planning to visit Kerala, Let’s see when covid-19 will stop. Thanks for this helpful guide.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Brian! Thanks for the message, I hope you can visit Kerala very soon – I know you will love the time there!

  • Abhishek Singh

    1 month ago

    Come to Delhi and try tandoori chicken also.

  • Kaustubh Ranjit

    1 month ago

    I would love to help you explore the seafood of Maharashtra’s Malvan and Kokan region as well. Someday! Cheers to this amazing read and a me mesmerizing video.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Kaustubh, that would be wonderful, thank you for the invitation. We are always looking forward to the ‘next visit to India,’ thanks for the recommendations! Enjoy your day today.

  • Cha

    1 month ago

    It looks so delicious! I would love to try this at home. Thank you for sharing the link on how to cook Kerala’s Fish Curry.

  • Koushik paul

    1 month ago

    Exactly, fish fry from Kerala is one of the best dishes ever I had…This is an amazing and super dish from that place

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Paul, yes! Have you visited Amma Hotel before? I thought it was one of the best meals of the entire trip, an amazing place for sure. Enjoy your day today, thanks for the comment.

  • techcluter

    1 month ago

    nice article about kerala food

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Hi Raj, thanks for the nice words! I miss this food very much sometimes… Hope you enjoy your day today! Cheers

  • Sajitha Alugubelli

    1 month ago

    Awesome! We absolutely loved your tour video.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 month ago

      Sajitha, greetings! Thanks so much, we loved being there… wishing you well today, thanks for taking the time to comment! All the best