Triple coconut and squid curry

Tangy, aromatic and fresher than a boxfresh pair of hightops,  this is a lovely little springtime cuzza. Based on a Keralan pal’s recipe, the layers of  nut do make it fairly rich, so you might want to go easy on the oil/tinned milk/flesh if you fancy more of a sour finish. Perfectamente with a hot portion of lemon rice (there’s a fab recipe here- chapattis and a spoonful of mango chutney on the side.


  • 2-3  fresh squid, cleaned and hacked into rings (tentacles included)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 fresh coconut, cut into thin slices
  • 250ml coconut milk (you could use the water from the fresh coconut for a lighter result or tinned coconut milk for a richer finish – I used a mixture of both)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (which incidentally also makes the most luscious popcorn)/ghee/olive oil
  • 1 large handful of  curry leaves
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 250ml tamarind water
  • 1 large handful of frozen peas (optional)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  • Heat the fresh coconut slices, coriander seeds and chilli in a dry frying pan over a medium heat (you’ll be cooking the curry in this later, so make sure it’s not too small).
  • While that’s toasting, smear the squid in turmeric and salt in a small bowl.
  • Set the toasted coconut and chilli aside and tip the seeds into a grinder/mortar and grind to a powder.
  • Heat the coconut oil in the empty pan and once it’s sizzling, lob in the squid pieces for a quick flash fry.
  • After a minute or two, remove the squid and drain on some kitchen paper.
  • Add the mustard seeds, coriander powder, fennel seeds and curry leaves to the hot fat.
  • As soon as the mustard seeds pop (this should happen fairly immediately) add the onion, garlic, whole red chilli and ginger.
  • Once everything’s nice and brown, turn the heat down a little and add the fresh tomatoes. Cook for about five minutes until they break down and thicken into a sauce.
  • Add the curry powder, tamarind water, coconut milk and stir well. Check the seasoning, you might want to add a bit more salt at this point,or if you think it could do with a bit more heat add the green chilli (I prefer it without personally).
  • Re-introduce the squid pieces and simmer for 10 minutes . Add the peas if you’re using them and simmer for a further 5 minutes. The squid should be cooked through but also extremely tender.
  • Strew with the toasted coconut and coriander and serve immediately with wedges of lime.


  1. I was in Kerala last year and never have I been more blown away by food – this looks amazing!

  2. gastrogeek

    Cheers H, and wow you lucky thing! South Indian food is incredible isn’t it? Would love to go to Kerala…

  3. This looks oh so delicious…

  4. Stevie45

    GG you’ve gone and done it again god damn you!! What a corker of a recipe. Where do you buy your squid from?

  5. Great stuff. You’ve taken me straight back to Kerala. Sounds so, so good. Craving squid now.

    • gastrogeek

      thanks Jonathan – squid’s so underrated isn’t it? The tentacles are definitely the best bit. Mmm tentacles…

  6. Kerala has just jumped to the north end of the ‘to do list’. Am simply loving the look of this – particularly the fresh coconut. Fabulous.

  7. gastrogeek

    cheers Tori – I do love a bit of fresh coconut now and again, and I’m always amazed at the price difference between the sliced pre-packaged stuff you get in boxes and the whole fresh nut.

  8. God, this looks so good. I adore coconut – typical South Indian person, and Keralans do all manner of wonderful things with seafood.

    Will have to try this out!

  9. gastrogeek

    cheers Sharmila, I bet you’ve got some cracking South Indian recipes up your sleeve!

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