Karaikudi Fish Curry (Chettinadu Meen Kulambu)

Chettinad fish curry, Karaikudi meen kulambu, Tamilnadu fish gravy


  • Fish – 300 grams (Cut into big pieces)
  • Mustard seeds and Urad dal – 1/2 tspn
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Onion – 1 (small size) or 1/2 of a medium size onion
  • Green Chili – 1
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tspn
  • Tomato – 1
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tspn
  • Tamarind – small gooseberry size
  • Sugar – less than 1/4 tspn or to ur taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – as required (Sesame oil is preferred)

Roast and Make a paste of:

  • Dry Red Chilies – 2 to 3
  • Coriander seeds – 1 ½ tspn
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tspn
  • Fennel seeds(Perunjeeragam) – 1/4 tspn
  • Peppercorn – 1/4 tspn
  • Toor dal (thuvaram paruppu)- 1/4 tspn
  • Fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam) – a pinch
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut – 1 tspn


  1. Cut Onion, Green chili, Tomato into small pieces. Soak Tamarind in water for 15 minutes. After that extract a cup of tamarind juice from it. Keep all this aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 tspn of Oil in a pan. Add Dry red chili, Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Fennel seeds, Pepper corns, Toor dal, Fenugreek seeds, Curry leaves and Coconut then roast them till they are almost brown. Then remove from heat and let it cool on then grind into a very fine paste by adding little water.
  3. Heat 2 to 3 tspns Oil in a pan. Add Mustard seeds and Urad dal, once it starts spluttering add Curry leaves, Onion and Green chili, fry till they are golden brown.
  4. Add Ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes out. Add Tomato and mash it with the spatula.
  5. Then add Turmeric Powder, ground paste (from step 2) and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add Tamarind juice, 1 cup of water, Salt and Sugar to it. Bring this curry to boil once, then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. At this stage curry becomes thick.
  7. After that add Fish pieces and cook for 5 minutes or till the fish and gravy are cooked.

Goes well with: Rice, Chapathi, Parotta, Dosa, Idli

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