Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meen Kuzhambhu / Fish Kuzhambhu

In Tamil fish is 'Meen' and 'Kuz(l)hambu' is a tamarind based gravy which is spicy and tangy, more like the pulusu in Telugu. Meen kuzhambhu is the most common recipe in the southern part of India and is the most favorite recipe for fish. Growing up whenever Amma cooks fish its always been this kuzhambhu accompanied by a spicy fish fry.The menu never changed and we never got bored with this dish :). 
After venturing into a totally different style of cooking after marriage (Tanjore based) which was quite difficult for me adapt I was quite releaved to see that there was no change in this particular kuzhambhu made by my MIL :) . So this is the common recipe used in most of the household, with very slight changes, sometimes with coconut or without coconut. I personally prefer the no coconut version which is slightly more tangy than the other. My mother regularly adds 2 or 3 whole slit brinjals or some pieces of mangoes (when in season) which also enhances the taste greatly.

1/2 kg of any white fish( catfish, tilapia, trout..)
11/2 tsp chilli powder 
3 tsp coriander powder 
1 lemon sized ball tamarind
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced.
1/2 cup shallots/onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 tsp of Karu vadagam/kuzhambhu vadagam *
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp methi seeds/vendhayam
few curry leaves

Soak the tamarind in warm water and squeeze the thick pulp out of that (approx 2 cups).
If using Tamarind paste , mix 1tblsp of the paste to two cups of water. 
Wash the fish pieces with little bit of salt and keep aside.
In a kadai or sauce pan add 3 tblsp of gingelly/sesame oil.
When the oil is hot add the tempering ingredients, then add sliced garlic and chopped onion and fry till translucent.
Now add the chopped tomato, turmeric and salt.
Fry till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and the oil seperates out.
Now add the chilli powder and coriander powder and fry for 2 mins. Now add the thick tamarind juice stir and close with a lid.
Let it boil in medium heat for about 10 mins. 
Add the fish pieces one by one gently. Close with a lid and simmer for 10 mins. Do not over cook the fish as it will become mushy. 
Switch off the stove and let the kuzhambhu sit for atleast an hour before serving.

  • I have used sesame oil which needs an acquired taste, you can also use any other type of oil except olive oil.
  • Vegetables like Brinjal or mango can be added while frying the onions to bring out an extra flavour.
  • 1/4 cup of  ground coconut paste can also be added as a yummy variation.
  • The amount of onion should be very little as given in the recipe,more onion will give a mildly sweet taste to the kuzhambhu.
  • If the kuzhambhu is little thin or watery - fry 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Grind to a paste and add along with the tamarind juice.
  • * Vadagam is a homemade combination of different spices like fennel, methi, garlic onion , mustardd etc., bind using castor oil and sundried till its completly dry. This vadagam is regularly used for tempering especially for the tamarind based gravies.


Sukanya Ramkumar said...

My all time fav. Looks so good. So mouthwatering. Nice recipe. YUM!

Suja Manoj said...

Yummy and tempting fish curry..love it.

Aarthi said...

Yummy recipe..bookmarked


Reshmi Mahesh said...

Delicious tempting fish recipe..

Cham said...

We don't add garlic- but the kuzhambu is same, i love mangai and brinjal in meen kuzhambu. Very classy dish and delicious :)

Achu's Amma's Kitchen said...

delicious fish curry

Julie said...

Mouthwatering kuzhambu,yummy!!

Erivum Puliyum

Cilantro said...

I make it the same way but always add coconut to it. Looks delicious!

maha said...

This looks very yummy n delicious..loved it


Sravs said...

Lovely and tempting curry !!

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Mélange said...

Nice flavored fish kulambu!Love to have with rice!

faseela said...

a mouthwatering recipe sumi...

Spandana said...

Delicious curry!!! Love it!

Jay said...

deliciously done..looks wonderful..
Tasty Appetite

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy...

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