Ayala Varuthathe - Mackerel fry, Malabar style

It's funny how people come up with some terms. I've been learning a few new terms ever since I moved to Cochin. 'Chill-mode' is one of those. On a chill-mode day we stay at home all day lazying around, mostly with some very precious bottles of Bacardi breezers. Ya, that's right, breezers are pretty precious for us Kochites, we don't get them here, b'coz of some government regulation, and have to request our friends visiting from Bangalore and Hyderabad to get us some. The past 2 years that I have been here I've had the hope that someday they're gonna start selling it here. But now, thanks to new rules, that hope is dead. I really have no idea how the Mallu alcoholics are gonna survive this. Doesn't make a difference to us breezer drinkers, since we never did get it here to begin with.

Anyway back to food, so as I was saying, tonight's chill-mode for us, my friend Parvathi and me. And since we were gonna be downing some breezers, we got some fish to fry as "touchings" with the breezers. Touchings is something spicy that's eaten as a side-dish with alcohol, I know breezers aren't much to call alcohol, but technically they are. So, tonight's touchings was Ayala Varuthathe, Mackerel Malabar style. A very simple recipe, but thought I'll put it up for some of my friends who are upcoming Malabary cookers ;)

Ingredients for Ayala Varuthathe

  1. Ayala - 2, cut, cleaned and striped
  2. Chilli powder - 1 ½ Tbsp.
  3. Turmeric powder - ½ Tsp.
  4. Pepper powder - 1 Tsp. 
  5. Salt - ½ Tbsp. or as per your taste
  6. Lime juice - 1 Tsp.
  7. Coconut oil - To shallow fry, about 3 Tbsp. on a non-stick pan.


  • Cut and clean the fish, and give it 5-6 stripes horizontally over the entire length, so that the marinade can seep in well. 
  • Mix the ingredients 2 to 6 in a bowl, add a few drops of water if required and make a slightly thick paste and marinate the fish in it for about half an hour. 
  • Heat a flat pan, add the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, place the marinated fish on it. Fry on a medium-slow heat for about 5 minutes on each side or till you feel its cooked to your liking.
  • Ayala Varuthathe is ready!