Varutha Meen Kulambu | Fried Fish Curry (Kulambu) Recipe | Fish Curry recipe with detailed notes and recipe video. This is an authentic Tamil Nadu style Fish Kulambu made using tamarind, onion tomato base sauce. The fishes are shallow fried and then added to the gravy. This kulambu is full of flavor and amazing taste. Tastes best with hot steam rice. Authentic fish kozhambu recipe from Tamilnadu. Famous Kozhambu for rice.
Varutha Meen Kulambu | Fried fish curry is an adaptation from my mom’s Sankara Meen Kulambu . This kulambu is no new invention, mom simply drops the leftover fish fries to the kulambu and gives it a boil. 🙂 We loved it. So one day, she tried to add coconut milk to the kulambu and gave it a slight new touch to it. Thats all it is. The rest of the procedure is the same as the usual Meen Kulambu recipe. I did not have any coriander leaves handy, so I did not sauté them with tomatoes. You can 2-3 strands of coriander leaves while sauting onion tomato. Also, I have added green chili and 1/2 tsp ginger. If you want to skip it, you can. Do check our other Fish Recipes you might like.
Things to note
Oil to use
They say Meen kulambu tastes good when cooked with peanut oil or sesame oil. I use corn oil (neutral oil) here and there is no change in taste of flavor. It’s up to you.
Mom always insists to use fenugreek seeds (Vendhayam) a little more for this recipe than other kulambu. She says that’s the secret for the best meen kulambu. When you add the fenugreek seeds to the oil at the right heat, they give an amazing smell as they sputter along with the mustard seeds.
Boil until raw smell leaves from ground paste
After you add the blended paste to the pan, the kozhambu has to boil well in medium heat throughout. Since the onion, tomatoes are ground raw, the smell has to leave the kozhambu before adding the fishes. – This is the key.
I prefer to use red onions for kulambu, sambar and Indian gravies. The yellow ones are little sweeter, they are best for raitas, onion rings, caramelized onions.
I have shallowed fried the fishes separately, until well done and then added to the kulambu. You need not deep fry. Just let the Kulambu boil for 5 mins in medium or medium low flame after adding the fried fishes will help the fishes to absorb the flavors. Note, please adjust the spice level accordingly, as there is masala in fishes as well.
Homemade Sambar Powder / Kulambu millagai tool
I am sure we all use homemade sambar powder or kulambu millage thool. If you do not have them handy, try to replace with 1 tbsp of red chilli powder and 2 tbsp coriander powder. Adjust the spice level accordingly. Also check out the recipe for my homemade sambar powder.
Adding Coocnut milk is optional, however enhances the flavor of the kulambu, so do not miss it. To make 1/4 cup of water, add 2-3 tbsp of grated coconut and add 2 tbsp of hot water and grind to extract the milk. I would prefer to use Fresh coconut to make the coconut milk rather than the canned milk.
Watch Fried Fish Curry Video
Lets check out the recipe.
Firstly, wash the fishes and rinse them thoroughly. Finally rub the fishes with rock salt and rinse them thoroughly only last time. Keep aside. Soak a small piece of (tamarind gooseberry size) in water (1/4 cup) and soak for 15 minutes. Extract thick paste of the tamarind and discard the pulp.
To make the Fish kolambu
To Fry the fishes
Varutha Meen Kulambu | Fried Fish Curry | Fried Fish Kuzhambu
For fish fry
- 500 gms Sankara meen / White snapper fish thin sliced
- Small piece Tamarind gooseberry size
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 - 11/2 Tbsp Homemade sambar powder / Kulambu Millagai Thool See notes
- water as needed
- Oil to fry
To make kulambu
- Tamarind - the size of a lemon
- 1 Onion Medium peeled and finely chopped
- 1 green chili chopped
- 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 1 Tomato large finely chopped
- 1 spring of curry leaves
- 3-4 strands of Coriander leaves finely chopped (optional)
- 1-11/2 tbsp Homemade Sambar powder / kulambu millagi thool* See notes
- 1 cups Water
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut milk
- Salt as needed
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
- ½ of large Onion roughly chopped.
- 1 Tomato large roughly chopped
- 1 spring of curry leaves
- 3-4 strands of Coriander leaves
- 1 Green chili
- Firstly, wash the fishes and rinse them thoroughly. Finally rub the fishes with rock salt and rinse them thoroughly only last time. Keep aside. Soak a small piece of (tamarind gooseberry size) in water (1/4 cup) and soak for 15 minutes. Extract thick paste of the tamarind and discard the pulp
- Secondly In a bowl, add the ingredients under ' For Fish fry' (except the fish, oil) and add tamarind extract (water if needed) to make a semi thick paste. Add the fishes to the marinade and coat them well.
- Let it rest for 30 minutes.
To make kulambu
- Firstly, Soak the tamarind with 1/2 cup of water for 15-20 minutes. After 20 minutes extract the juice and keep aside.
- Secondly, Take all the ingredients under ‘To Grind’ list in a mixer jar/blender. Add ¼ cup of water to it make a smooth paste.
- Heat a deep frying pan or a Kadai over medium heat. Add 2- 3 tbsp of oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and Fenugreek seeds. let it sputter.
- Now add onion and curry leaves to the pan. Saute until onions turn translucent and soft.
- This will take about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid brown the onions. Add 1 green chili chopped, 1/2 tsp grated ginger and saute them well. To the onions, add the chopped tomato and coriander leaves. Continue to saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
- Now add the ground onion tomato paste and give a quick mix.
- Let it boil and raw smell leave. It will taken 8-10 minutes in medium heat.
- Add turmeric powder to this. Furthermore, add the tamarind extract to the pan and gently mix it over medium heat.
- Now add 1 1/2 - 2 heaping tbsp of kozhambu powder/sambar powder, salt to the mixture and let it boil until the raw smell leaves.
- Furthermore, let the gravy boil from 5 minutes. check for the seasoning now, and adjust the spice level accordingly. The gravy should boil until there is no raw smell of the onion, tomato or the spice powder. Continue to boil under medium flame. Do not cover the pan.
- Now in a frying pan, add 1 tsp of oil. When the pan is hot, add the marinated fishes to the pan and drizzle 1-2 tbsp oil.
- Let it fry in medium -low heat for 5-10 minutes.
- You can also cover the pan with a lid and cook the fishes.
- Flip the fishes and drizzle 1- 2 tbsp oil.
- Let the fish turn deep golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
- Once the gravy has boiled and has achieved the thin kozhambu consistency, reduce the flame to medium-low flame. Finally, add the fried fishes/fish pieces.
- Do not use the ladle to mix the gravy/curry - kozhambu as the fish pieces might break. Continue to cook the gravy in the medium-low flame.
- Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of coconut milk if adding.
- And let it boil for 5 mins in medium low flame.
- Once the fishes are cooked the fishes/fish pieces will float on the top of the curry. Now turn off the stove and let the kozhambu rest on the stove for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
- Serve fish kulambu with hot rice along with fish fry / boiled egg/egg fry/egg omelet.