Video guide for Kerala fish pickle or Meen Achar

Preparation time: 40 mins 

Cooking time:  30 mins 

Serves: 12 to 14 


1 kg of Fish, cut into small-sized cubes 

5 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder 

2 tbsp regular red chilli powder  

1 tsp turmeric powder 

1 tsp of black pepper powder 

½ tsp of fenugreek powder 

1 ½ cups white vinegar 

100 gms garlic, sliced 

100 gms ginger, chopped 

10 green chillies, chopped 

2 tbsp skinless, split mustard seeds 

1 tsp mustard seed 

1 ½ tsp asafoetida 

1-2 sprigs of curry leaves 


Sesame oil or Gingelly oil  

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (equal measures) 


Step: 1 

Clean the fish thoroughly and cut it into cubes. Bones, if any, need not be removed. 

Step: 2 

Pat and keep aside in a strainer till the water dries out. 

Step: 3 

In a bowl mix 2 tablespoons of Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of pepper powder, ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, salt and 50 ml of white vinegar* together and make it into a thick paste. 

(Adding ginger-garlic paste at this point is optional.) 

Step: 4 

Marinate the fish pieces with the above paste and keep it aside for 30 minutes at least. (Longer it rests, the better.) 

Step: 5 

In the meantime, boil 1 ½ cups of white vinegar in a pan and keep aside. 

Step: 6 

Heat sesame oil in a deep and wide pan. When the oil is hot lower the flame and drop a few curry leaves* in. Deep fry the marinated fish pieces on medium flame till it becomes crispy on all sides. Avoid burning. Remove the fish and keep it aside on a paper towel to dry. 


Heat ½ cup of sesame oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds. Then add the split mustard seeds and sauté for a few seconds. Add the sliced garlic and chopped ginger, and sauté till the raw smell dissipates.  

Step: 8 

Add the chopped green chilli and sauté for a few mins over a medium flame.  

Step: 9 

Lower the flame to low and then add fenugreek powder and sauté for a few seconds. Then add 3 tablespoons of Kashmiri chilli powder, and 2 tablespoons of normal red chilli powder. Sauté for a few seconds. Make sure not to burn the spices. 

Step: 10 

Switch off the flame and add the boiled vinegar, salt for taste and asafoetida. Stir gently for a minute.  

Step: 11 

Finally, add the fried fish pieces. Combine well to coat the fish pieces with the gravy. 

Meen Achar is ready. After cooling, transfer it to a sterilised glass jar. Let the fish pickle rest for about two days, outside, for the flavours to fuse together. Thereafter keep it in the fridge for longer use. 


  •  If you require gravy, then add a bit of water along with vinegar while making the masala paste 
  • Curry leaves help to avoid the fish pieces sticking to the bottom of the pan while frying. 

Recipe courtesy: Sobha Varghese is a homemaker based in Mumbai, India. Sobha runs a popular YouTube blog called ‘Sobha's Kitchenette’ that focuses on authentic and traditional Kerala recipes.

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