My Treasure…My Pleasure

Authentic Kerala Cuisine & much more…

Fish Pickle

Posted by Annita on September 20, 2006

This is another treasured recipe from my Amma,very simple to make ,yet so delicious..I’ve prepared this fish pickle last week with 3 pounds of king fish,and its almost over by now.Actually I was hoping that it’ll stay for atleast 3 months.Ok,no complaints..I only gulped almost half of it,eventhough I blamed Deepu for finishing it off real soon.

Fish Pickle
Fish Pickle

The recipe follows ..


King Fish diced – 2 lb
Thinly sliced Ginger – 1/2 cup
Thinly sliced Garlic – 1/2 cup
Green Chillies Slit – 10
Kashmiri Red Chilly Powder mixed with a little vinegar(to make it a smooth paste) – 1/4 cup
Vinegar – 1 cup
Curry leaves -1 sprig
Mustard Seeds – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – as needed

For Marinating Fish Pieces

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilly powder -1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp


Mix together turmeric powder,red chilly powder and salt ,adding little water and marinate fish pieces using this mixture. Keep it in a refrigerator for half an hour.Then deep fry the fish pieces,until brown and crisp.

Heat oil in another pan,pop mustard seeds,add curry leaves and fry for a while.Now add ginger,garlic and green chillies into it.Saute it for 3-4 mts in medium heat.(I used store brought ginger-garlic paste instead of sliced ginger & garlic.Be careful while using this ready made paste,it can splash all over and can cause burns.So its better to cover the pan immediately after adding it,but take care not to burn the ingredients).

Fish Pickle
Sauteing Ginger-Garlic paste

Mix in Red chilly paste and saute for few minutes.

Fish Pickle
Sauteing Red Chilly paste

Now add vinegar and salt and allow it to boil.When boiled,add the fish pieces into it and simmer for another 5-6 mts.You can add hot water or vinegar(check for sourness before adding it) if needed,and let it come to a boil once again.Switch off the stove,allow it to cool and store in an air tight container.

Fish Pickle

For better shelf life(in room temperature),fish pieces have to be completely dipped in the gravy,and oil has to be seen on top. Otherwise you can keep the pickle in a refrigerator and always use dry spoon in the pickle,water particles can spoil the pickle.

You can use any hard fish  for this like tuna or tilapia.I’ve even prepared this pickle using anchovies.The same method can be used to prepare meat pickle also.

82 Responses to “Fish Pickle”

  1. Rashmi said

    fish pickle always tastes better with a pinch of cumin n fenugreek powder…

    Thanks Rashmi.But my amma don’t prefer cumin or fenugreek in fish pickle.Even I asked her about adding those,as I always add them in my other pickles.But she said a big,No.She’s saying it can give a slight bitter flavour,and she don’t like it

  2. Asha said

    Sounds yummy, I could replace fish with something else using all the other ingredients!! Thanks!!

    Don’t u take fish?You can use meat or chicken instead of fish..

  3. maheswari said

    Thanks annita for this delicious pickle.Back in college days, my friend from Kozhikode brings this fish pickle for us every weekend and it won’t last an hour.This recipe and pic.s brought back those memories…

    Thanks Maheswari.Try it out and lemme know about it.

  4. shaheen said

    yummy! annita, normally i just make my mother and m-i-l make it and i eat it.:) now i am going to give it a shot with ur recipe. thanks

    You should try it out Shaheen

  5. RP said

    I am drooling Annita! No sleep until I make this…ha!

    Thanks a lot Rp,Try it out .You’ll really love this

  6. Meena said

    i ate meat pickel, i hear abt fish..but i remeber when i ate or not at all..thanks for refreshing my memories.i will note this recipe

    Thanks Meena.Fish pickle is also very good,just like meat.

  7. polachan said

    annoose, recipe valare nannayittundu..kanan nalla rasam..

    haha..Thank you polacha..Shilpa kutti onsite poyappozhanale blog check cheyyan okkay time kittiyathu..:)

  8. usha said

    Fish pickle…it sounds good really..I heard about chicken pickle when i was doing graduation……
    Looks really gr8 too…should try sometime later

    Thanks Usha,Try it out sometime.You are gonna love it.

  9. maheswari said

    Hi annita,
    Finished cooking your fish pickle just now, taste is excellent.Already my hubby started eating away ..:)).Wanted to thank you right away.Thanks alot for such an easy recipe for such an authentic pickle.

    I’m really very happy to hear these words,Maheswari.Enjoy your pickle

  10. Annita.. simply delicious.. Hope I stay near your house so that I can grab some from you…. these dishes should be treasured…. soon our generation will forget our mom recipes— thanks for sharing:)

    Thanks Priya

  11. Rashmi said

    I have tagged you.Fill in when you find time.

    Thanks for tagging me,Rashmi.I’ll surely do it.

  12. Rg said

    I’ve never had fish pickle… have heard abt it though. Sounds yummy! Can this be made with any other fish like tilapia or tuna?

    yes Rg,You can make this with all those fishes.But I think tuna will be better than tilapia.Juts try it out sometime,u’ll surely love it.

  13. Mina said

    wonderful recipe… unforunately i cant get good kingfish here, what other fish can i use to make this?

    You can use tuna,salmon,tilapia,shrimp..anything ,but its good if you choose some kind of hard fish.

  14. Annie said

    One suggestion Anita. After you cut the fish for the pickle, it should be dried. Either between layers and layers and layers of paper towels or in the hot sun. If the fish is not dried, it will spoil very quickly. I guess you did not have that problem as 3 pounds fish was gone in a week!!!!.

  15. Dhanya said

    Hi Annita,
    Im a constant reader of ur blog….I tried fish pickle n came out very well….I added half tsp of fenugreek pdr in addition as fenugreek pdr goes very well with any fish dishes….thanx 4 sharing n waiting for more recipes………

  16. jose said

    nice recipes!

    Thanks Jose


  17. Geena said

    Annita, your fish pickle looks very yummy. Beautiful pictures.
    My mom makes fish pickle with shark fish and it is very very tasty. I love pickles but never made any by myself, always buying from the store. Your fish pickle is so tempting, so I want to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe.

    Try it out and let me too know about it,geena

  18. Jose said


    Could you please tell me what this king fish is called in malayalam?


  19. Jose said

    ideally a comparison of fish names with both malayalam and english,
    like in malayalam;

    Aiyla – Mackerel
    Mathi – Sardines
    Avoli – Pomfret
    Aiykoora/Ney meen – Kong Fish/Seer fish
    Kari meen -Pearl Spot
    Kili meen- Sorry,I don’t know

    Hope this helps,Jose

  20. Sumitha said

    Annita I love fish pickle and since this recipe comes straight from your mum,it is a must try.Annita I wanted to know how much kashmiri chilli powder i have to dissolve in vinegar for the chilli paste?

    You can use 3-4 tsps of chilly powder,Sumi..I’m really sorry for being late

  21. Lynn said

    Annita, I made the achar and it came out so good. I made it yesterday, bottled it and put it in the fridge. When I tasted it I think I should have used more vinegar. How can I add more now? Do I have to unbottle everything and boil with vinegar or can I just boil vinegar alone and add to the bottle or can I just add room temp. vinegar to the bottle? Sorry for the long question.
    Thanks so much.
    Merry Christmas.

    Lynn, Boil the vinegar,and allow it to cool for sometime .When it is half cooled add it to the pickle.But pickle has to be kept in the room temperature before adding it.Sorry for being late in replying.

  22. mommyof2 said

    How about salmon fish?

    haven’t tried with salmon…but i think it’ll work too..If you’re trying with salmon,pls let me too know about it

  23. mommyof2 said

    You said to add hot water or vinegar but it won’t get bad with water? I don’t want to make it very soury so thinking of avoiding the vinegar.. Little bit is fine but 1 cup might be too much for our taste..


    No,hot water won’t spoil the dish…But you should keep it in a refrigerator for longer shelf life

  24. Carol said

    Can anyone plz tell me what is salmon called in malayalam.

  25. roopa said

    Liked this recipe a lot, right time i saw it, as i had bought fish today :) Thanks a lot :)

  26. Indu said

    hi Annita,

    now a dyas im a regular visitor of your blog. Could you please add the recipe for dates pickle? Also what is this fenugreek powder?

    Fenugreek powder is Uluva podi..will try to add a dates pickle recipe soon..
    And thanks for visiting my blog,Indu


  27. sunil koshy said

    hi ann,
    This website of yours makes me drool like anything…this is the “hottest” stuff, found ever..keep going..I wanna try your pickles and other goodies sooner.. thanks alot..
    nice&easy.. presentations,lay out & pics.. you and amma…

    Thanks a lot,Sunil..Your comments made me bloat…:))

  28. remya said

    Simply delicious…tried on this weekend and my husband loved it…thanks annita a ton for this wonderful recipe

  29. Chandran K said

    Hi Annita

    Could you tell me whether I can use salted fish for this recipe?
    Also instead of hot water, can I use tamarind water?

    I am from Singapore.

  30. Sana Ayub said

    Hi Annita
    This is the first time I’ve come across your site, and i already love it. I’ll be trying two of ur recipes today.But I had a question regarding this Fish Pickle; this is the first time i’ve heard of fish pickle, and i wanted to know what kind of food item does it go with? And can I substitute fish with mango?

    Thank you so much

  31. ansu said

    What kind of vinegar do you use?

    White distilled vinegar

  32. Sweety said

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I tried with chicken as the fish shop was closed. Since I don’t have enough vinegar and most of the shops are closed (the ones open sold only synthetic vinegar)I added mango paste and cubes too with little vinegar. I have this mango for so long and it was getting softer and ripening. It came out too good! It’s almost over now :-)I made it yesterday Thanks again.

    Wow…adding mango to the pickle….thats a nice twist

  33. Annu said

    I’m going to make this….Which oil is better,Annita??

    Coconut oil will be better…but you can use vegetable oil too

  34. Mick said

    I made fish pickle 30 years ago…and lost the recipe.This is the closest to it that i can remember,i,m making it tomorrow thank you so much for the recipe.

    Thank you Mick

  35. Suma said

    Your recipes are simply fantastic . I appreciate your patience in penning them down.. thanks for sharing them all
    It will be really helpful if you could compile a list of fish names Eg.. malayalam and their corresponding english equivalents.
    I have recently taken to cooking fish and no absoultely nothing . I am rendered speechless when i see the various types of fish lined up in the shop… could u tell me what is malayalam equivalent of Blue fish and angel fish…

    Thanks a ton


    I have no idea about blue fish and angel fish Suma…Sorry…
    I always buy salmon,tilapia ,trout and king fish and use it for frying and in all naadan curries..I dont even know the malayalam of salmon and trout..

  36. Meera said

    Hi Annita,

    I consult your blog when I have any doubts about Kerala cooking. Nice work.

    Do you have a recipe for garlic pickle without vinegar(using lime juice may be)? My mango and lime pickles turn out okay but the garlic I add to the lime pickle tastes quite raw unlike the ones you buy. So I am not confident of trying the garlic pickle.

    Sorry Meera…I’vent tasted a garlic pickle without vinegar and i dont have any recipes for that..

  37. Vidya said

    Can we use this recipe to make prawn pickle ? If yes, do we boil prawns and then fry?!? can use the same need to boil prawns…just fry it…

  38. Rabeen Jayaram said

    Hey Annitha We (me and my mom)usually prepare the fish pickle.We use tuna instead King Fish(Which is not available here in Varkala).Your recipes are great.Try tuna pickle and reply me.

  39. kiruthika said

    hai awsome yar u know iam mad of non veg foods i tried with sura and other fish u know now i have 6 varity of fish pickel made by the same method not only fish as well with chicken an dmotten d athanks for this recepie

  40. achu said

    wow!!!!!!!!!!!! its reallyy very tastey….. thanks alot for such a great recepie……

  41. Jo kutty said

    This recipe ROCKS. We made in on Tuesday and it got over on Friday. I prepared it using Shark fish(Sraav). Very good, tasty and satisfying :):)….

    • Neenu George said

      Hi annitha,
      This looks really yummy. Going to try it soon.
      Wondering how much ginger-garlic paste you used for this as i’m planning to use store bought ginger-garlic paste.


  42. Nita said

    Thanx for this wonderful recipe. Let me try this with the mussels (kallumekkai) .Hope it will rock too.

  43. pushpa said

    thanks for the recipe, can you please advice about a good preservative to add shelf life, ( i made two bottles, one was ok but the second one had foam)

  44. pushpa said

    Your recipe was super, but I could not keep it for long time, what to do to have more shelf life, i kept one bottlle away from my hubby (he finished the first one in days) but when i took the second one it was frothy

  45. Prema George said

    Anita your recipe is great! my family n friends loved it, tho i used my own measurements. Thks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

  46. semladewi said

    hi anita,
    your recipe was super and taste is very good
    anita this my yahoo you send my e-mail

  47. susi said

    mam, after frying fish, i fried garlic and ginger deeply and it resulted in a bad taste . how to under stand the level of frying garlic and ginger paste

  48. Antony said

    Hi, Deepak,Annita&Milan. ‘NAMASKARAM’.Hope u r fine there.I came through your Blog while searching for a receipe for Fish Pickle.I followed your receipe.But the fish i used was Tuna.The receipe was excellant by taste and quality.Thanks a lot.Away from home and family I try my skill to cook something tasty.I am from Cochin,work/living in Dubai.Regards to all, Bye now. Antony.

  49. Pratibha said

    Thanks, been looking for this recipe since long. My paternal aunty used to make, but she never had the time to sit and tell me about it…she uses gingelly oil – said it lasts longer than when using coconut oil(anyway it never lasted long enough for us to know – wouldn’t even take a week for us kids to finish it off). Me gonna make it after the navaratris – oh! I just can’t wait. :D

  50. Dom said

    Thanks for the post
    Tried with fish, shrimp both dried and frozen and clams – have frozen some because it was a lot. Ypu list really helped. it’s yummy I eat it with plain white rice.


  51. sindhu varma said

    a boque to annita.its really wonderful!!!!!! i also add little fenugreek seeds.
    can we add crushed pepper???/

  52. Hi Annita,
    Nice recipe. Which oil is using for the fish pickle? Can I use coconut oil for this? Please give me a reply at the earliest. Thank you….

  53. Can we make vinegar at home?

  54. job said

    thank you i was looking everywhere for this!

  55. chandu said

    Hi Annita,

    Just finished making fish pickle. I used fresh frozen Salmon,as it is available already cleaned and we just had cut it into small cubes. This was my first attempt at Fish pickle and it has come out really Good!!! Thank You for the recipe…. Maybe, next tim ewill try adding a little Uluva powder as so many people has suggested that in response to your recipe post…. Your recipe is simple but Really Really Yumm!!!!!

  56. I wanted really nice life

  57. Very very Good :)

  58. Mary said

    Hi, Annita,

    an alternate way.
    My mom makes it this way. and comes out excellent.
    Fry the fish pieces with just a little salt. and keep a steel vessel with a cup or so of vinegar and enough salt. Put the fried fish(drained) into this vinegar straight from the fry pan.
    let the fish marinate in the vinegar for some time. overnight is better. the fish soaks up all the vinegar,
    then you make the pickle masala with the usual ingredients. no cumin or fenugreek, no kayam
    heat oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaf and then add red chilly pdr, turmeric and ginger garlic paste.add this to the fish-in- vinegar and leave it on slow fire till all the fish get smeared with the masala. add salt and/or vinegar to adjust the taste. a pinch of sugar will bring out the flavor more.

  59. Mary said

    Hi, Annita,

    BTW, great blog site. keep up the good work of creating more expert malayali cooks.

  60. Josphin said


    This is my first time visiting your blog. Its a very nice blog. I’m yet to put my hand in preparing fish pickles. But before that a small doubt. should I cut the fish slices(as given in the shop) into small small cubes before making it into a pickle?

    Thanks & Regards,

  61. Shashi Nayat said

    Hi Annita

    The Fish pickle recipe is very good. But a teaspoonful of fenugreek would make a lot of difference. This is a must for any pickle.

    Thanks & regards

    Shashi Nayar

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  67. Dr. Rainy Sijumon said

    Hi, Annita, your fish pickle is so yummy….Usually I add 2 – 3 table spoons of fried prawn powder (50gms of dried prawns) to 1kg of fish pickle. And I also add 2 tea spoons of sugar. it gives a nice flavour and taste.

  68. sunil d said

    hi, this fish pickle recipe is good add little fenugreek powder mor tastey iam also making morthan 50 veraity of pickls

  69. Vineeth said

    Can we keep this pickle in room temperature for an year. If not what should be done in order to give it a shelf life of 1 year in room temperature?

  70. Sindhu said

    dear anita,

    just made it and loooks and feels 90% ok except that i guess i added a lil extra vinegar.. hw do i reduce it ? is it possible nw?

  71. GEORGE said

    Hi Annita ,
    Can you also post how to make a nadan fish curry(red color.without coconut)


  72. sini said

    Hi Annita, tried ur fish pickle today..came out well…added a pinch of fenugreek powder& sugar at the end…sauted 2-3 tbsp of ginger garlic paste also…Thanks 4 the recipe..why did you stop ur blog?plse continue..i am a big fan of you…

  73. Sav said

    Hi Annita, is there anywhere I can buy this fish pickle ready made? Coz I have problem handling fresh fish at home. Thanks

  74. Zonu said

    Thanks for sharing this. I was looking out for Tuna fish pickle….so I am going to try this with Tuna fish. Hope it turns out half good as much as yours :)

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  77. Anita said

    Hi,Aanita,I tried this out today and did come out really well,thank!

  78. Prasad said

    You can buy home made and handmade andhra style Fish Pickle (Achar) at Sitara Foods online store, No Preservatives, Fresh locally sourced

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