Madras Fish Curry: Meen Kuzhmabu (A South Indian Home-Style Fish Curry)



  • You are unlikely to listen to the time period Madras fish curry in Chennai.
  • It is referred to as meen (fish) kuzhambu there.
  • This is a recipe of the genuine model of Madras fish curry.

In nearly the identical manner that many Mumbaikars nonetheless cannot get themselves to say Mumbai – opting as a substitute for Bombay, many Chennaites nonetheless cling to Madras. They’ll let you know that Madras is an emotion and Chennai is a metropolis. That is one purpose why many issues intertwined with the id of the town – particularly amongst international audiences, proceed to retain the Madras prefix. Meals is a giant a part of that id; it is why you continue to discover Madras curry powder on grocery store cabinets in London after which there’s Madras fish curry.

Many international cooks have come to the town in pursuit of this earthy recipe and have carried out their bit to popularise this iconic dish. In fact, regardless of their finest intentions there are jarring inconsistencies, like suggesting basmati rice as an accompaniment with this spicy, tangy fish curry. It is nearly like suggesting Kerala matta rice as an accompaniment for Rajma (as a substitute of basmati rice). It isn’t simply international gourmands, I’ve seen premier eating places and cooks throughout India stumble often of their interpretation of Madras fish curry. I’ve needed to maintain a straight face and be well mannered when requested about my suggestions.

(Additionally Learn: 10 Native Dishes You Should Attempt in Chennai)

You are unlikely to listen to the time period Madras fish curry in Chennai (I can already sense the ‘Madras’ loyalists taking offence). It is meen (fish) kuzhambu right here and there are few dishes which might be romanticised in in style tradition (particularly in Tamil cinema) like this excellent dish that’s actually an explosion of flavours. It is a dish that originates in Chennai’s fishing hamlets which were right here lengthy earlier than the British established trendy Madras as we all know it in 1639.

I’ve had the chance to work together with some house cooks in Chennai whose signature dish is the quintessential Meen kuzhambu. It was fantastic to satisfy considered one of these consultants at Sea Salt, a Chennai restaurant that promoted sustainable fishing and put easy, native flavours below the highlight. Chef Harish Rao, (who was concerned with this challenge), has explored a few of Chennai’s fishing communities in his seek for genuine recipes. He additionally believes that the time period Madras fish curry has been loosely used for nearly any fish curry from Tamil Nadu cooked with tamarind and in earthen cooking pots.

There’s multiple method to make a Meen kuzhmabu in Chennai. This is one genuine model:

Meen Kuzhambu recipe

500 gm King fish
1 lime sized ball tamarind

1 tbsp chilli powder
1 half tsp salt
1 tsp lime juice

Spice Paste:
2 half tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp pepper corns
7  purple chillies
25 gm garlic cloves
25 gm ginger
100 gm grated coconut

half cup sesame oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
half tsp fennel seeds
four sprigs curry leaves faraway from stalks
100 gm shallots
100 gm purple tomatoes, chopped
half tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt or to style
half cup chopped coriander leaves


  • Clear and wash the fish totally with turmeric powder, chop into cubes, Soak the tamarind and extract juice after an hour.
  • Drain the fish cubes, and marinate with chilli powder, salt and lime juice for an hour.
  • Warmth the oil in a kadai, and fry the cumin and coriander seeds, pepper corns and purple chillies. After they change color add the garlic and ginger and fry for two minutes. Add grated coconut and take away from fireplace. Cool and grind right into a clean paste.
  • Warmth the oil in a clay pot and mood with mustard and fennel seeds and after they splutter, add the shallots and brown barely. Add the tomatoes and sauté until they’re delicate. Combine in  the spice paste, saute; for two minutes, add the turmeric powder,  tamarind extract and salt, and let the combination simmer for 15 minutes until the masala is effectively blended. Add a cup of water if the gravy is simply too thick.
  • Add the fish items, and gently simmer for about 7 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
  • Add coriander leaves and take away from warmth, cowl and maintain in clay pot until serving time.

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Madras fish curry is spicy and tangy.

Sundavecha Meen Curry

Recipe Courtesy:  Harish Rao – Chef and Culinary advisor

Chef Harish’s trails in North Chennai helped him unearth this distinctive recipe that he calls a fishing hamlet curry. It is a in style recipe in areas like Kasimedu – house to one of many metropolis’s largest fishing harbours, and does not use tamarind. This one’s often made with Sankara Meen or native purple snapper. It is commonplace for some locals in these fishing communities to make use of bricks to take away fish scales whereas cleansing the fish. I struggled to seek out the English equal for ‘Sundavecha’ but it surely refers back to the means of lowering a gravy by simmering or reheating. It is why it tastes even higher a day after it is cooked.

For the paste:
2 tablespoon sesame oil or (gingelly oil)
shallots 150 grams
half cup recent shredded coconut

Different substances:
500 grams Mackerel
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/four teaspoon mustard seeds
1/four teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon purple chilli powder
three teaspoon coriander powder
three tomatoes
1 half teaspoon salt (or to style)


  • Warmth sesame oil in a pan and add within the shallots and fry until barely golden.
  • Then add the recent shredded coconut and fry on low flame till its golden. Grind to a clean pasting including as much as a cup of water.  Grind the combination to tremendous paste . Put aside.
  • Warmth sesame oil in a pan till scorching. Add within the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Let the mustard seeds splutter. Add within the sliced onions and curry leaves. Sauté until the onions are delicate.
  • Add within the masala powders Turmeric, Chilli powder and Coriander Powder and sauté on low flame.
  • Grind the tomatoes in a small mixer to a paste. Add it to the pan.
  • Fry till the combination is totally dry.
  • Add within the floor shallot-coconut combination. Wash the mixer with half cup of water and add again to the pan. Add in an extra cup of water.
  • Let it simmer lined for 20 minutes on low flame.
  • Stir the curry a few times when simmering. After 20 minutes, add within the fish. Cowl the pan once more and cook dinner for 7-Eight minutes on low flame. Take away from warmth.
  • Let the curry relaxation for no less than one hour. The fish Curry style higher if its cooked a day earlier than.
  • Serve with rice.

About Ashwin RajagopalanI’ve found cultures, locations and felt at house in a number of the world’s most distant corners due to the varied meals I’ve tried which were ready with ardour. Generally they’re conventional recipes and at most instances they have been audacious reinterpretations by artistic cooks. I won’t cook dinner typically however once I do, I think about I am in a cookery present set – matching measuring bowls, et all!meen kulambu madras samayal,relish the bite fish curry,sankara meen kulambu recipe in tamil,meen kulambu amma samayal,fish kulambu home cooking,fish kulambu in tamil by damodaran,fish curry recipe,indian fish recipes,curry recipe