Meen kuzhambu ( Hot and spicy Fish Curry)

Meen Kuzhambu/ Chettinad Fish curry - spicy edition

Namma ooru meen kuzhambu needs no introduction, here goes the recipe

1/2 tsp of mustard(kadugu),  
1/2 tsp - Fenugreek  seeds(vendhayam)
3 tablespoons of gingely oil.
1 small lemon size tamarind. 
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder.
2 Tbsp of chili powder 
2 Tbsp of coriander powder. 
3 tablespoon of coconut milk.
15 - small onion or shallots 
1 tomatoes.
1 green chilli. 
2 small garlic flakes 
5 curry leaves
Fish steak - 1 lb - cut into four quarters, if the steak is big. 
Clean the fishes and pat dry them on a paper towel.
I am using King Fish which is more similar to vanjaram in Tamil.  
You can also try butter fish which is called viral in tamil. Salmon will not be good for curry. 
Make sure the steak are not thin but thick steak for the curry.  Thin steaks will dissolve easily. 

Tamarind extract.
Microwave the tamarind with 2.5 cups of water for 5 min. 
Or soak the tamaring in hot water for 15 min. 
Filter the extract. We need a thick and running consistency of tamarind extract.
Coconut Milk. 
Grind 3 Tbsp of grated coconut with 1/2 tsp of Fennel seeds(Sombu) and little water.
Filter the extract.
That is all the ingredients.


Follow every step to make a great south Indian fish curry.
1. Take a wide and heavy bottom kadai or saute pan with high sides, so that fish don't break. 
2. Heat the oil in the pan, when the oil is hot, add mustard and fenugreek seeds, wait till they crackle. 
3. Add curry leaves and green chilli (break the chilli into two)
4. Add chopped small onions(sambar onions) and add a pinch of salt.
5. When the onions turn transparent, add the diced tomatoes and 2 small garlic cloves.
6. When the tomatoes are soft and cooked, add chili powder, coriander powder, 1/2  tsp of turmeric powder. 
7. After 20-30 sec. add the thick tamarind extract. Add salt for taste.
8. After 5 -7 min on medium heat, add coconut milk, and leave the curry on low for another 3 - 4 minutes, just to cook the coconut milk.
9. Now taste the curry the salt and chili flavor should be little high as we are yet to add fishes.  
10. Now add the fish steaks and cook for another 3-4 min on medium heat. When the fishes are fully cooked, it will float back to the surface of the curry. 

Enjoy the Delicious fish curry with fish fry. 
I am using king fish for both Fish curry and Fish Fry. 
Choice of fish is absolutely yours. I am trying with King Fish(vanjram), you can also try butter fish. 

Buying Fish in USA - choice of fishes for curry
1. King Fish with big steaks.
2. Cat fish.
3. Butter fish.

Fish Fry
1. King fish
2. Tilapia
3. salmon

Tamil Names for fishes. 

Just got this from internet

Anchoves - Nethili
Kilanga Meen - White fish
Kola Meen - Saw,Gar fish
Kerai-Yellowfin Tuna
Kendai-Indian goat fish ,carp
Kanawai-Cuttle fish, Squid
Kelluthi-Marine cat fish
Kanagnkelluthi-Indian Mackerell
Viral Meen - Butter fish,murrel
Vaalai-ribbon fish
Vavwall -Pomfret
Vanjaram Meen -King fish,Seer fish
Sankara Meen - Red Snapper
Seepu Thiratai-Spade fish
Seela/Sheela Meen -Barracuda.
Soorai-Little Tunny
Ooli meen-Barracuda
Oosi kanawai-Squid


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I started learning cooking from my grandmother, Mrs. Gunaseeli, who gave me her recipes and tips and some measurement tools for making them. The red measuring cup that I use in my recipes was once owned by my granny. My grandmother is very passionate about cooking and travel. She has written many cook books. This blog is one way to document her writing and to make it available for everyone.