Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu! The Best Fish Curry Recipe.

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chettinad meen kuzhambu fish curry recipe

Chettinad, Mains

5.0 from 1 vote

A spicy and tasty fish curry made in the Chettinad style. The spices taste delicious in this proper chettinad fish curry.

Every community in Southern India has their unique style and take on flavours of the curries they cook. Food in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are distinctly different to one another and yet similar in certain ways.

There are signature dishes that set them apart and Chettinad cooking is one such cuisine. It is hugely popular from the south of India. Chettinad is a region in the southern part of Tamil Nadu and is synonymous with spices, meats and robust flavours in the curries.

Fennel, red chillies and peppercorns are the main ingredients that make up the list of spices adding aroma and heat to the dishes. Chettinad Meen Kuzhumbu as its known is a Fish Curry made with whole spices, and often the fish used is shark! 

When I make the recipe I tend to use monkfish; which is meaty, firm and holds its own in the curry. It has just one central bone which makes it easier to cut into steaks and easy for the family to eat too.

Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu – One Of The Best Fish Curry Recipes

Recipe by HolisticJB
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: Entrees, MainsCuisine: South IndianDifficulty: Intermediate


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Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu is a well known and much loved South Indian curry dish. Hailing from Chettinad it utilizes the local spices and flavors, so it’s hot, spicy and delicious.

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  • Marinate Fish
  • 500 g 500 Fish

  • 1 tsp 1 Turmeric powder

  • Spice Paste
  • 2 tbsp 2 Oil

  • 5 5 Dried Red Chilis

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Mustard seeds

  • 1 1 Curry leaves sprig

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Fennel seeds

  • 15 15 Shallots

  • 5 5 Garlic Cloves

  • Liquid Spice
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Tamarind Water

  • 2 tsp 2 Red Chilli powder

  • 3 tbsp 3 Coriander Powder

  • 1 tsp 1 Fennel Powder

  • 1 tsp 1 Cumin powder

  • Salt

  • 1.5 cup 1.5 Water


  • Begin by cutting the fish into pieces. Then clean and wash the fish pieces in cold water and pat dry. Add the fish to a bowl and stir in the turmeric powder. Cover and set aside to marinate. Let the Fish Marinate For 10 Minutes.
  • Heat your oil in a kadai,or heavy wok. When the oil is hot add the fennel seeds, curry leaves, dried red chilis, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Cook until they splutter, This will be a matter of a few seconds.
  • Lower the heat and add the chopped shallots and chopped garlic. Sauté until the shallots and garlic are translucent and pale. Avoid letting them brown or burn as this adds a bitter taste. Sauté Onions and Garlic for 5 minutes.
  • Add the powdered spices to the tamarind water (red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fennel powder). Stir until this is smooth and there are no lumps of spice powder. Add this to the kadai, and mix well. Allow 5 minutes to cook out the spice tamarind liquid. Cook the Tamarind Spice Liquid for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water to the kadi and bring to the boil. Once your curry starts to boil, cover the kadai with a lid and lower the heat. All the curry to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Simmer the curry for 10 minutes.
  • Add the marinated fish pieces to the curry. Stir gently and allow to cook for another 10 minutes or until fish pieces are tender. You will notice some of the oils will separate and float on top of gravy. Don’t worry, this is what you want to see! Cook the fish for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Serve hot with white rice and a salad.


  • The fish is usually local shark, a delicious white flaky meat that has beautiful flavor. If you can’t source shark, any flakey fish will do, such as haddock or snapper.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size: 1g
  • Calories: 389kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Protein: 39g
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 71mg
  • Sodium: 672mg
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Sugar: 18g

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fish curry / hawker / indian / kerala / spicy

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