Fish Kuzhambu

There are several different ways to make fish kuzhambu, but this recipe is a very easy one. My mom usually grinds fresh coconut to a paste and adds it to the kuzhambu. I have used coconut milk instead and it adds a mellow sweetness and a richness to the kuzhambu.

4 pieces of mackerel fish(I usually add the head and the tail pieces of the fish in the curry)
1 red onion, chopped
6 whole garlic cloves
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilly powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup tamarind extract, from a lemon sized ball of tamarind
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbsp gingelly oil
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp thalippu vadagam
sprig curry leaves
salt to taste

Add 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, the pepper, cumin and fennel seeds into the blender jar. Make a smooth paste adding enough water. Add the chilli powder and coriander powder into the paste and incorporate it. Set this spice paste aside.

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the mustard, fenugreek seeds and thalippu vadagam. Let it fry in the oil. Add the curry leaves. Saute the onions and whole garlic cloves adding a little salt and the turmeric powder. When the onions are soft and garlic is cooked, add the tomatoes and saute until pulpy. Next add the ground spice paste. Saute over medium heat until the oil seperates. Add the tamarind water and bring to a boil. If it is too thick, add a half cup water. Let this cook until raw smell of masala and tamarind is gone.

At this point you may add the fish and omit the coconut milk. But if using coconut milk, add it and bring it to a gentle boil. If catering for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, remove a little bit of the curry at this point. It will taste like a kara kuzhambu. Add the fish gently into the mixture. Cover and poach the fish in the curry mixture. Fish cooks in barely 5 minutes. Serve hot spooned over white rice. Goes well with idly/dosa also.

Verdict: Smooth, spicy and sweet fish kuzhambu. Usually fish curry tastes better the next day, but this kuzhambu was good even on the same day. My mom adds a small piece of jaggery to this curry, but I didn’t as the coconut milk renders a mild sweet taste.

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest


  1. Hmm.. Miss good old times when we use to relish aunty’s fish kulambu… This one looks so very tasty… bookmarked..
    one question. If I am using coconut instead of coconut milk, I should be adding it in the first step to make a paste.. correct?
    and how much should I add?

Leave a Reply