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Anchovy Fish Curry / Nethili Meen Kulambu

Written By Angela Steffi on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | 5:20:00 PM

This is a traditional south Indian fish curry recipe passed to me from my grand mother. My mom and my grandma always makes this curry in mud pot.There is a belief "the recipe made in mud pot tastes 1000 folds". 


Serving Size    : 3  people

Cooking Time : 30 mins

Difficulty: Spice Level:



1/4 kg

Anchovy Fish  / Nethili Meen / நெத்திலி மீன்

To Temper
1/4 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
10-12 Shallots    /   chinna vengayam
1/2 tspTurmeric powder
2 tsp
Chili Powder
3 tsp Coriander Powder
1 cup Grated Coconut
1Gooseberry size lemon (puree) / nellikai size pulli 
2 Green Chilies
10 pieces Raw mangoes

Required water
few Curry leaves for Garnishing
2 TbspOil

Salt to taste

Cooking Method

Step 1) Heat a tbsp oil and add mustard seeds,cumin seeds,fenugreek seeds and pepper corns to temper.once you smell the aroma of the fenugreek seeds add garlic and shallots and saute it for a minute.Also add salt


Step 2) Add turmeric powder, Chili powder, coriander powder (my mom always says to use a little more coriander powder than chili power while making fish curry) mix it once,be careful do not burn the masalas. Then add 1 tomato,some water and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.

Anchovy-Fish-Curry Nethili-Meen-Kuzhambu-tomato


Step 3) Allow the mixture to cool completely and grind it along with 1 cup of grated coconut.(only use fresh coconut)


Step 4) again heat a tbsp of oil,add the ground coconut paste and then add green chilies,green mangoes and tamarind extract.Add required water,salt and cook for 10 minutes until the raw smell of the masala is gone.You can also add drumstick.Drumstick adds a unique taste to the anchovy fish curry.

Step 5) Now add the cleaned Anchovies and mix well with the gravy.Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.I have removed the head and tail of the can also remove the bones of the fish,Children will love it.


Step 6) Since the anchovies are tiny little fishes they will cook very fast.Once the fish is done add few curry leaves and turn off the heat.

  • Anchovies tastes best if they are soaked for sometime.So leave them in the pot for 20 minutes and then enjoy delicious nethili meen kulambu with some white rice and Pudalangai Prawns Kootu.
  • Since we have added raw mangoes in this recipe reduce the amount of tamarind because mangoes will also add some sourness to the curry.Else add a gooseberry size of tamarind
  • Soak tamarind in water for 10 minutes to extract the juice.

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. I relish the taste of man chatti gravies. But I wonder where you got that in the U.S.
    It would be great if you provide information.

  2. Mouthwatering delicacy! I am definitely going to try this today. Yesterday I tried fish fingers recipe and it was yumm.