Pic of Roast Spiced Mackerel with Coconut Cabbage and Carrot Thoran

Roast Spiced Mackerel with Coconut Cabbage and Carrot Thoran

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Roast Spiced Mackerel with Coconut Cabbage and Carrot Thoran

Serves 2 35 min
A thoran is a Keralan dish flavoured with coconut, curry leaves and chilli. In this version, we're using desiccated coconut, which needs soaking in hot water before using. A thoran is meant to have a smidgen of heat, but it shouldn't overpower the dish. Add half of the chilli to begin with, then add more if you like.


  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp korma spice paste
  • oil for cooking
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves
  • ½ tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Small bunch of coriander


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Boil a kettle. Tip the coconut into a mug. Pour over plenty of boiled water to cover it well. Leave it to steep.
  • Step 2

    Put the korma spice paste in a bowl. Mix in 1 tablespoon of oil and the juice from half the lemon. Make 3 diagonal slashes on both sides of each fish.
  • Step 3

    Place the fish on a baking tray. Season well, inside and out. Rub the korma paste mix across both sides of the fish, making sure it goes inside the slashes. Roast for approx. 15 minutes, until the flesh easily pulls away from the bone.
  • Step 4

    Drain the coconut and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Step 5

    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, on a low-medium heat. Add the spices and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the chilli and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn them. Add the cabbage, carrot and a good pinch of salt. Turn up the heat a little then stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften. Add a splash of water if needs be, to help it along. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut and coriander.
  • Step 6

    Serve the mackerel with the thoran on the side and any leftover lemon cut into wedges for squeezing.

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