• Preeth C.Vijay

Chettinad Fish Curry

Steaming hot rice served with hot and spicy Fish curry leaves me in all smiles on a cold day. Chettinad Fish curry is quite different than the usual fish curry but definitely a more aromatic, flavorful fish curry you will ever have.

What makes chettinad fish curry more special? Absolute simplicity. This recipe requires no fancy ingredients but a little bit of patience to roast the masalas in a perfect way, which is the base for this gravy.

Shallots, tomatoes, garlic roasted along with spices and coconut gives an exquisite flavor to this dish. Chettinad fish curry is slightly thick from the regular meen kuzhambu we make at home. But feel free adjust the consistency as per your preference.


Fish 500gm cleaned

Shallots 5 finely chopped

Ginger thinly sliced 2 tablespoon

Garlic 5 cloves thinly sliced

Curry leaves 2 sprigs

Green chillies 4 slit

Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon

Mustard 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek 1 teaspoon

Sesame oil 5 tablespoons

Salt as needed

Chettinad Masala

Shallots 10 to 15

Garlic 6 cloves

Tomato 3 finely chopped

Tamarind 1 big gooseberry size, without any seeds

Coconut 1/4 cup

Pepper 1 teaspoon

Cumin seeds 1 /2 teaspoon

Chilli powder 3 tablespoon

Coriander powder 4 tablespoon

Salt 2 teaspoons

Sesame oil 1/4 cup

How to Start?

In a kadai heat oil, and roast the ingredients given under " Chettinad Masala". To start with add the shallots and garlic; fry until it turns slightly brown, add tomatoes, salt and saute it well. Once the tomatoes get mushy, simmer the flame and add the chilli and coriander powder. Fry until the raw smell goes off in a low flame, and let the oil ooze out from the sides.

Add pepper and cumin seeds, fry it for 30 seconds. Before switching off the flame add the tamarind and coconut, roast on low flame until the tamarind turns soft.

Let it cool and ground it into a fine paste adding enough water.

Heat a claypot, add sesame oil. Temper with fennel seeds, mustard and fenugreek. Fry for 30 seconds. Add the shallots, ginger and garlic and saute until the shallots turns brown in colour. Add curyy leaves and green chillies. Saute for a minute.

Add the freshly ground masala, salt and 3 cups of water depending upon how you want your gravy consistency to be. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Check for salt. Add if needed. After 5 minutes simmer the flame and drop the fish into the gravy gently. Let the fish cook on medium flame for 7 minutes.

Switch off the flame once you see oil floating on top.

Serve hot with rice.

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