Mathi/ Chaala Thakkali curry is a Kerala style sardine fish preparation with tomato in coconut paste. Mathi/ Chaala can be prepared in many ways with or without coconut. This recipe is very suited for Mathi/ Chaala than any other fishes. We can keep the curry 1 day and 1 night without refrigerating if we prepare this Mathi/ Chaala curry in earthen utensil and boil morning and evening. But in my opinion this curry is tastier when we eat right after the cooking. 🙂

The truth is I love the tomatoes in this fish curry than the fish pieces. 🙂


  1. Mix the fish curry gently while cooking else the fish pieces will fall apart.
  2. Adjust the sourness with the amount of gamboge and tomato added.

Best combination

  • Rice + Moru Curry + Mathi/ Chaala Thakkali Curry
  • Kappa/ Chakka Vevichathu (Cooked Tapioca/ Raw Jackfruit)  + Mathi/ Chaala Thakkali Curry

Mathi/ Chaala Thakkali Curry | Kerala Style Sardine Tomato Curry Recipe

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Serves: 6 Cooking Time:


  • 1. Sardine – 12 No
  • 2. Coconut (scraped) – 1 Cup
  • 3. Turmeric powder – 1 Pinch
  • 4. Red chilli powder – 1 Tablespoon
  • 5. Coriander powder – ½ Tablespoon
  • 6. Fenugreek seeds – ¼ Teaspoon
  • 7. Shallots – 6 Nos
  • 8. Green chilli (slitted) – 4 Nos
  • 9. Dried gamboge fruit – 1 Piece
  • 10. Curry leaves – 4 Stems
  • 11. Water - 2 Cups


  1. Soak teared dried gamboge fruit in hot water for sometime.
  2. Make a smooth paste of ingredients 2 – 7 with enough water.
  3. Mix the coconut paste with enough water.
  4. Then add soaked gamboge, curry leaves, slitted green chillis and salt to the above mix.
  5. Boil the coconut gravy in a pan, preferably an earthen pot.
  6. Add tomato and cut fish pieces when the gravy is boiling.
  7. Keep the pan covered and cook in low flame. Gently mix the fish curry occasionally.
  8. Cook for about 10 minutes and oil separates from the curry.
  9. Add some more curry leaves in the prepared fish curry, gently mix and switch off the flame.
  10. Keep it covered for sometime and serve hot with rice.