Fish Curry Recipe | Meen Kulambu Recipe | Fish Kulambu Recipe


Fish Curry is a popular Indian dish that is packed with flavor and spice. It is typically made by first preparing a spice masala and then cooking it with fish, tamarind extract, and tempered onion, tomato, and herbs. This dish is known as Fish Kulambu and is an excellent accompaniment to rice. In fact, it gets tastier as it sits, making it a great option for meal prepping or enjoying as leftovers.

While Red Snapper (Sankara) is used in this particular recipe, any type of fish can be used, including Pomfret (Vavval), King or Seer fish (Vanjaram), Paarai (Mackeral), or Salmon, Tilapia, and Sea Bass fillets. Even smaller varieties like sardines and anchovies can be used. The key to cooking the fish in this dish is to add it when the curry is almost done, as this will ensure that it is not overcooked. It’s also important to avoid breaking the fish into pieces during cooking. Cooking the fish for 5-8 minutes is usually enough to ensure that it is fully cooked.

One of the main factors that contribute to the authentic taste of this dish is the freshly sautéed and ground masala. However, if you are short on time, you can use simple kulambu podi (red chilli powder and coriander powder) instead. While the taste will be different, it will still be delicious. Some people may wonder whether adding tamarind extract and green mango will make the curry tangier. The answer is no, as the taste can be balanced with chili powder and coconut added to the fresh masala paste. The green mango adds a tangy flavor that complements the dish well. To achieve the best results, it is recommended to use somewhat old or dark tamarind pulp.

When it comes to selecting the type of fish to use in this dish, Pomfret and King fish (vanjaram) are often preferred for frying as they are easier to remove bones from. However, Sankara fish kulambu is highly favored because it is both delicious and easy to cook. In fact, many people enjoy eating it for breakfast the next day, as they believe that it becomes even tastier with time.

In summary, Fish Curry is a delicious and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed with various types of fish. It’s important to add the fish when the curry is almost done to avoid overcooking it. Using freshly sautéed and ground masala paste is crucial for achieving an authentic taste. While Pomfret and King fish are popular options for frying, Sankara fish is also a tasty and easy-to-cook alternative.

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Fish Curry Recipe | Meen Kulambu Recipe | Fish Kulambu Recipe

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 30 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


To prepare fish curry

To prepare fresh masala paste


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  1. Wash and rinse fish in cold water. Trim off the fins, remove gills, guts and other entrails.  (Head and tail can be retained, if desired!).

  2. To prepare masala paste, heat oil in an earthenware.

  3. Add shallots and garlic cloves and sauté for a minute.

  4. Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and pepper sauté till get aromatic.

  5. Add red chilli powder and coriander powder sauté in low flame for a minute.

  6. Add chopped tomatoes and fresh curry leaves sauté till tomato half cooked not to mushy.

  7. Add grated coconut.

  8. Sauté in low flame until raw smell goes off, switch off the flame and allow to cool.

  9. Transfer them in a mixie jar and grind in to fine paste.

  10. Transfer this ground paste in to an earthenware and also add water.

  11. Take tamarind extract from medium lemon sized tamarind pulp (2-3cup tamarind water).

  12. Mix everything well.

  13. Add natural sea rock salt.

  14. To prepare fish curry, heat the clay pot with sesame oil.

  15. Add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and allow to splutter.

  16. Add chopped small onion.

  17. Add some fresh curry leaves.

  18. Sauté till onion turn slight golden.

  19. Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies sauté till raw smell goes off.

  20. Add turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder and mix well.

  21. Add tamarind and freshly ground masala mix.

  22. Add required water to reach desired consistency.

  23. Cover and cook in medium lame for 10minutes.

  24. Do occasional stirring, the gravy get thickened and oil start separate from the gravy.

  25. Keep the flame in low-medium and add fish pieces and cut mangoes.

  26. Cover and cook again for another 5-8 minutes in medium low flame.

  27. Stir very gently to avoid breaking the fish shapes.

  28. Finally seasoning with sundried onion balls in a hot oil (thalippu vadagam).

  29. Garnish with fresh curry leaves.

  30. Very tasty Sankara meen kulambu / fish kulambu is ready for serving.

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Gomathi Ramesh

Food Blogger

Hi there! I am Gomathi Ramesh, a full-time food blogger, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and a lovely wife. I come from a family of fantastic cooks and I’m here to share generations of recipes that are homey, fresh, healthy, family-friendly, authentic, and adventurous. Most importantly, our recipes taste great and you can trust that they actually work.

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