Meen Kulambu(South Indian Fish Curry)

  • PrepTime: 15 Mins
  • CookTime: 15 Mins
  • TotalTime: 3 Hrs 30 Mins


  1. 2 dried red chile peppers, plus 1 teaspoon of water
  2. 1 golf-ball sized tamarind pulp
  3. 2 cups hot water
  4. 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  5. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. 1 small coconut, flesh grated
  8. 2 cups coconut milk, divided
  9. 16 ounces firm white fish, cut into 2-inch pieces
  10. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  11. 8 curry leaves
  12. 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  13. 1 green chili pepper
  14. 2 medium onions, ground into a paste, divided
  15. 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  16. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  17. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  18. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the dry red chilies into a coarse paste using a teaspoon of water. 
  3. Add the tamarind to the hot water and, with your hands, squeeze the fruit well to release all the pulp from it. Strain the thick tamarind juice and discard the pith and seeds. 
  4. Mix the red chili paste and tamarind juice with the ground coriander and turmeric. Add salt to taste. Add the grated coconut and 1 cup of coconut milk. Mix well. 
  5. Place the pieces of fish in a large, flat dish and pour the marinade mixture over. Make sure all the pieces are coated and marinate for 3 hours. 
  6. Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan over medium heat until hot. Add the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, and green chili. Sauté for roughly 2 minutes, or until the oil stops splattering. 
  7. Add half of the onion paste and sauté until the onion begins to slightly brown. 
  8. Add the chopped tomato. 
  9. Sauté till the spices start to release their oil and tomato turns darker. Stir frequently. 
  10. Remove the fish from the marinade and set aside. Add marinade liquid into the pan and stir. 
  11. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the garlic paste, cumin, pepper, and the remaining onion paste. Stir and add the remaining cup of coconut milk. 
  12. Lower to a simmer and cook until the oil begins to appear on top of the gravy. 
  13. Add the pieces of fish and simmer until it's cooked through. If stirring, do so very gently to avoid breaking fish pieces. Turn off the heat. 
  14. Serve curry with the side dishes of your choice and enjoy!