Goan fish jeerem meerem (cumin-pepper) curry



Hi guys! Sharing a very traditional yet delicious dish from the Goan cuisine. Jeerem meerem is basically pronounced as ‘jeerey-meerey’, the m is silent. ‘Jeerem’ means cumin seeds and ‘meerem’ means pepper in Konkani. So as the name suggests, the dish consists of meat/ seafood cooked in a paste prepared of cumin and peppercorns along with a few other spices. The peppercorns and green chillies lend the required heat to this dish, which is well balanced with the tomatoes, tamarind and vinegar. Coconuts form an integral part of most Goan curries, but this dish doesn’t use coconuts, it is not a very thick gravy, which pairs excellent with plain steamed rice or even bread.


I actually prepared this dish during my vacations in Mumbai since we get some really fresh sea food there, especially these delicious sweet pomfrets! We relished it along with some ‘thambdi bhaji’ ( sauteed red amaranth leaves with freshly grated coconut).That made for such a soul satisfying meal!!  I realized I had the pics taken, and this post had been pending to be drafted. So here it is, nevertheless, hope you enjoy it!


Recipe courtesy: My mum in law

Ingredients: Measuring cup used, 1 Cup = 250 ml, 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

3-4 medium sized pomfrets/ 2 large pomfrets or any other firm white fish

3 green chillies

18-20 peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 green cardamom

1 inch cinnamon

10 small / 5 large garlic cloves

3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup hot water

1/4 cup onion

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste


1. Marinate the fish with little salt, and set aside while you start prepping for the curry.


2. Make a slightly coarse paste of peppercorns, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic and turmeric powder using 1-2 tablespoons  of water. Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot, add finely chopped onions, saute until translucent.


4. Next add chopped tomatoes and  cook until the tomatoes are a little mushy.


5. Add in the ground masala prepare in step 2 , along with slit green chillies, saute the masala well until it loses moisture.


6. Extract and strain the tamarind juice and add it to the above masala, mix well.


7. Add the vinegar, sugar and another 1/2 cup of water, mix well and bring to a boil.


8. Add the fish pieces , and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Check for seasonings, adjust with more salt, sugar or vinegar. Serve with steamed rice.


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Have a great week ahead!




  1. Loretta says:

    I have some home made jeera meera Freda. Those pomfret slices look amazing as is the entire curry and presentation. Those earthenware bowls, wow! are they from Goa?

  2. swapna Gupta says:

    Hi Freda!Swapna here..love your poetic fish dear..it’s awesome..love your preparation. Awesome Jeerin meerim…so rhythmic, poetry..

  3. Carlos Peres da Costa says:

    Jeerem Meerem or Jirem Mirem to me is a paste with hot red chillies,ginger,garlic, cumin, and other optional spices (mustard seeds,nutmeg, triphal etc) and toddy palm vinegar. You can store it in jars and use to stuff (rechear) fish like pomfrets or mackerel. In this way you save time.

    • Freda Dias says:

      Hi Carlos! Thanks for stopping by! As far as my knowledge about Goan cuisine is concerned, I think you are talking about Recheado masala, which is normally used for stuffing seafood like mackerel. I have a recipe for that in the blog and yes it uses the ingredients you mentioned. Jeerem meerem does not have red chillies in the spice mixture. Its more of jeerem-cumin, meerem-peppercorns along with few other spices and has a yellow hue.

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