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Chettinad Fish Curry Recipe

Written By Angela Steffi on Thursday, July 7, 2016 | 8:58:00 PM

Chettinad Fish Curry Recipe / Meen Kulambu is a staple food in Southern parts of India. There are several variants of Fish Curry recipe which involve combinations of tamarind, coconut and green mango. All of them have one thing in common that is when you make the fish curry perfectly the smell is going to diffuse and invite your neighbors.
Today we are going to see the traditional variation of this recipe.


Serving Size: 4  

Cooking Time : 30 mins

Difficulty: Spice Level:



1/2 kg

Fish (Red Snapper)

For Fish Masala Powder
1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds    /  Kadugu
1/2 tspFenugreek Seeds /  Venthayam
1/2 tsp
Pepper corns        /  Milagu
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds       /  Jeeragam

For Fish Curry
3 Cloves Garlic
5 Shallots    /   chinna vengayam
1/2 tspTurmeric powder
2 tsp
Chili Powder
3 tsp Coriander Powder
1 cup Grated Coconut
1Tamarind (lemon sized) / nellikai size pulli 
3 Green Chilies
2 Tbsp

Required Water

Salt to taste

Cooking Method

1)   For the Chettinad curry masala powder, dry roast equal quantities of mustard, cumin, fenugreek, pepper and grind it into a fine powder. This powder can be stored in an air-tight container and be used for upto 3 months. 

2)  Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan and add 3 cloves of garlic and after a couple of minutes add 4-5 shallots and cook till the shallots turn translucent.Then add one tomato and cook it till the tomato turns soft.

3)  Add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and Fish curry masala powder(which we ground in step 1 ). This powder imparts a unique smell to our recipe. Also add 2 Tsp Chilli powder and 1 Tbsp of coriander powder. For the fish curry it is essential to use slightly more coriander powder than chilli powder. Saute for 1 min and turn of the heat do not burn the masala. 

4)  Transfer this mixture to mixer and add 1 cup of grated coconut and grind it to a very smooth paste.

5)  Add 2 Tsp of oil to the pan and add 3 green chillis and the ground masala paste and some water(as per your need). Now add the tamarind extract and bring it to a boil and required salt and allow the curry to boil.

6)  Once the mixture starts boiling add the cleaned fish pieces and cook for 7 minutes. There are some variations where you can add the fish before the gravy boils. It all depends on the texture of the fish, for fishes with firmer meat you can add it earlier in the recipe and then bring the entire gravy to a boil. However for fishes with delicate meat you have to add the fish pieces at the end after gravy has started boiling. Other wise the fish pieces will start breaking down. 

7) Add the curry leaves and turn of the heat. Allow the gravy to rest for 15-30 mins. Now our delicious fish gravy is ready to be served with some rice. 

My fish curry calls me, i am gonna enjoy my delicious fish curry :) Happy Cooking!!!


About Angela Steffi

I am an avid food blogger with a great passion for food. I am always eager to try new recipes and modify recipes and experiment with them. I have two cooking channels on Youtube CLASSIC MASALA HUT (for english recipes) and MADRAS SAMAYAL (for Tamil recipes).


  1. Hi steffi today I tried and came out very well but bottom rice got burnt . I followed your instruction as I kept 5 medium heat in electric stove waited for 1 whistle which was long then I off kept as it is for 15 mins. Any tips ?

  2. Delicious recipe mam. I ordered seer fish from I prepared the fish curry with your recipe. I just put fish in the pot by the last 13 minutes. Fish cooked well and flavor of the gravy is yummy. Keep posting more recipes.

  3. Yes… I agree with you…..this is a Delicious Dish and it is also a main meal in Southern Parts of India. You look like a Fish Dish Lover. Therefore, I would like to refer you Amritsari Fish Dish Recipe which I have read from PNT Blog. I suggest you to try it once as it is damn delicious.

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