Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Arachuvitta Meen Kuzhambu (Fish with Ground Masala)

Voting for Open Sesame 2 has started today. If you liked my baklava buns, please vote for me by clicking here and logging in. Thanks in advance for your support!

I've probably mentioned before that fish addiction runs in my family. Let me give you an example... My grandfather would go fishing late at night at a lake in our village. I'm told that he would tell my grandmother to grind the masala and keep everything ready for when he got back. As soon as he returned with the live fish, she would quickly prepare the fish gravy. He HAD to eat it before he'd be able to get some peaceful sleep.

My mother and amayee (my maternal grandmother) both start drooling the second they set their eyes on fish. I wasn't a huge fan of fish as a child, but I think the fish bug has bit me too! I often find myself in a fix getting a really strong fish craving only to run to the fish market, buy some really good fish, make some fish kuzhambu and proceed to devour it!

This recipe is one that always hits the spot! It's inspired by a recipe that I saw on the internet long before I started this blog. I quickly scribbled down some of the points and didn't record the website. So, I apologize for not being able to give that person credit.

The awesome thing about this recipe is that you grind all of the required masala. Seasoning is done with onions and garlic. The fish is then cooked in the ground masala and tamarind. It's really delicious without the addition of any coconut (if you're concerned about that)!

Also, if you have any reservations about your fish (i.e. you're not sure it's the best), this is the recipe to go with! The combo of the fennel flavor with black pepper, green chillies, and garlic is really special and will help to overcome any possible fishy aroma you may be concerned about. Without any further ado, let me get to the recipe!


Fish - approx 2 lbs, cleaned, cut into thin slices
Tamarind - small key lime size, soaked in water, and juice extracted
Shallots - 2 medium, sliced finely
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped finely

To grind into paste:

Shallots - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Black peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 3-4, or to taste
Curry leaves - 6-8 (optional)
Chilli powder - 2 tsp, or to taste
Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

For seasoning:

Oil (recommended: sesame oil)
Methi seeds/vendheyam - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 10


1. Wash the fish in water with turmeric powder and keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the seasoning ingredients. Once the methi seeds have browned and spluttered a little, add the sliced shallots.

3. Fry the shallots until softened. Then, add the chopped garlic and fry until fragrant.

4. Pour in the ground masala, tamarind extract, and required salt. Allow to boil until thickened to desired consistency. Note: Make this a little thicker than your ideal gravy consistency as the fish will cause the gravy to loosen once it's added!

5. Now, gently place the fish pieces in the gravy. Do not mix with a spoon at this stage. Just pick up the pot by the handles and gently swirl the gravy over and around the fish. Allow to simmer until the fish is cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Turn off and enjoy with hot steaming rice!

This delicious bowl of meen kuzhambu is on its way to dear Sig who is hosting JFI tamarind this month. Hope she enjoys it as much as we did!


Asha said...

I just love the name "Arachuvitta!!":)
Looks great Kalai. Wish I could love fish and sea food as much as coastal people do!

Sujatha said...

Kalai, I am drooling on your meen kuzhambu! This is almost the same how I make it too! I can feel the aroma here :) Nice to read your grandpa's fishing talent :)

Cham said...

Different Kuzhambu Kalai. Ha,ha the fish craving is starting in West coast now :) Will vote sure, especially after seing ur floating fish!

indosungod said...

Fish is one of my favorites too. The kids love it too which is a good thing. That curry looks delicious Kalai. The older it gets the tastier it gets! I bet you have heard of the famous tamil movie song :)

Sig said...

Oh I love it... I think this is the only fish curry I got for JFI, and one among the very few seafood entries... :) I love fish in all forms, we used to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner :) So you know how much I love this entry. It looks delicious. Thank you darling!

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Kalai
Meen kuzhambu looks yummy. I love fish kuzhambu and it would taste great with dosas the next day. adding fennel to the grinding ingredients is new ...thanks for the lovely recipe.

kamala said...

My hubby's fav kalai...Looks delicious..

sra said...

Enjoyed reading about your grandad's nocturnal fishing expeditions. I usually have those midnight cravings for sweet or some mixture!

Jyothsna said...

I like these fish curries with tamamrind!

Anonymous said...

Wow...this dish looks so delicious! I can almost smell the fragrance here :)

Sireesha said...

Looks delicious........

Veda Murthy said...

check my blog...

theres something for you there!



A&N said...

Hi Kalai, the gravy sure looks good. I guess I could replace the fish with something veggie (paneer or capsicum, perhaprs?). Any particular recommendations?

easycrafts said...

I have something for u on my blog Kalai

Cynthia said...

Oh I love your grandfather :) That is exactly how I would want to eat it and at that time of the night too!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

This is one mean platter of 'meen kuzhambu'...looks far out! I have plenty of fishy reservations, but you are enticing me to forget about them & try again. Loved the grandpa & fish tale...saw it like a movie & laughed all along!ha ha!!

Sailaja said...

something is for u in my blog

Seema said...

Lovely fish curry...

Shreya said...


Rina said...

lovely meen kuzhambu kalai...i want same w/ hot rice

Malar Gandhi said...