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Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu Recipe

Chettinad Meen Kuzambhu Recipe

One of the most famous dishes from the Chettinad region, this fish curry is pungent, spicy, aromatic and so flavourful that it instantly becomes a favourite once you have had it. Pairs beautifully with rice, appams, dosas….with just about anything.
Recipe adapted from ‘The Bangala Table’

Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu Recipe
Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu Recipe


Wet paste 1
1. 1 tsp white poppy seeds (khus khus)
2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
3. ¾ tbsp fennel seeds
4. ½ cup fresh grated coconut

Wet paste 2

5. 10-12 shallots (small onion); peeled
6. 5-6 medium garlic cloves; peeled

Other ingredients:

7. 600 gms Spanish mackerel steaks
8. 40 gms brown tamarind; soaked in warm water
9. 1 tsp fennel seeds
10. 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
11. 6 medium garlic cloves; finely chopped
12. 12-14 shallots; halved
13. 2 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
14. 2 tbsp coriander powder
15. 1 tsp turmeric powder
16. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
17. 1 medium ripe tomato; chopped
18. 5-6 tbsp vegetable oil
19. Salt, to season


1. Wash the fish steaks, pat dry and keep aside.
2. Make wet paste 1 by grinding together all the ingredients listed with a little bit of water to get a smooth paste.
3. Make wet paste 2 by grinding together the ingredients to get a smooth paste (add water only if necessary)
4. Extract tamarind water and keep aside.
5. In a kadai or pan, heat the oil and add the fennel seeds. As it begins to crackle, add the fenugreek seeds, garlic and shallots. Then add wet paste 2 and stir well to combine.
6. Next, add the wet paste 1, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder. Stir well to combine all the ingredients together.
7. Add the curry leaves, tomatoes, season with salt and cook on low to medium heat till the oil begins to separate from the masala and it takes on a darker colour.
8. Next add the tamarind water and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes.
9. Add the fish steaks carefully and cook on medium heat till the fish has cooked through. Add more water if necessary.
10. Serve hot.

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