Heart warmer

What’s Cooking columnist Rajni Menon offers her take on the spicy fish curry Meen Molee – Lobster Molee.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re reminded that the way to a loved one’s heart is often through the stomach. Here’s a dish to warm both – my take on Lobster Molee, a variation on Meen Molee, one of the spicy dishes of south India. “Meen” in Malayalam means “fish.” It’s a curry with lots of green chilies and the juice from the tamarind tree fruit. Mostly seer fish is used for this curry, but any fish or shellfish can be substituted. The tamarind tree produces a podlike fruit with an edible paste inside. This paste is then mixed with water to produce tamarind juice. Adding this to any fish curry gives it a unique and tangy flavor. The fish curry is usually served with hot steamed rice or a lacy rice pancake called “appam.”

Here I have substituted tomatoes and lemon juice, which are readily available, for tamarind. I have also changed the recipe so that you can easily try it out at home. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.

Lobster Molee with steamed basmati rice and roasted cauliflower (Serves 4)

For the Lobster Molee


5-6 lobster tails, shell removed and cut into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons coriander powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper  

1 cup diced red onions

2 diced Roma tomatoes

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Heat coconut oil in a pan and once hot, add mustard seeds and let the combination sputter.

2. Add red onions and sauté them until reddish brown.

3. Add minced garlic and stir for 20 seconds.

4. Add all spices – turmeric, salt, coriander and pepper – and stir for 30 seconds.

5. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes combine well with onions.

6. Check the salt at this point and add more if needed. Stir well to combine. Add lobster pieces and coconut milk. Stir well and then cover the pan. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until lobster is cooked through. Turn off heat and add chopped fresh cilantro leaves and mix well.

For the roasted cauliflower


2 cups of bite-size cauliflower florets

2 tablespoons ghee

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a roasting pan add florets, salt, pepper and melted ghee and toss them to coat well.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes uncovered.

4. Serve with steamed basmati rice as directed.

For more, visit creativerajni.com.

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