Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu


Inorder to enjoy the true essence of Chettinad cuisine, always prepare the dish with fresh spices and masalas… don’t ever compromise over any susbtitutes. This meen kuzhambu is just like any other regular kuzhambu preparation except its made with a fresh blend of spices and sauteed in pure sesame oil which gives life and brings out that finger licking flavour.
6 nos Shallots (sambar onions finely chopped)
3 nos Dry red chilies
3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Toor dal
1 tsp Bengal gram (kadhala paruppu)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Fennel seeds (perum serakam)
½ tsp Black pepper corns
4 nos Curry leaves
1 tsp Dry dessicated cococnut
2 nos Fish fillets (or 1/2 kg fish of your choice)
3 nos Onions (finely chopped)
1 no Tomato
6 clove Garlic (small or use 3 if big)
½ tsp Turmeric powder
4 tbsp Tamarind juice (or thick store bought pulp 1/4 tsp)
½ tsp Jaggery
½ tsp Mustard seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
6 nos Curry leaves (for tempering)
4 tbsp Sesame oil (nallennai)
¾ tsp Salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp Asafoetida
2 cup Water






Roast each ingredient from table -1 except onion, with a drop of oil and keep aside. Toast every item separately to brown them evenly. Grind the spices with shallots to make a thick paste and keep aside. Now heat sesame oil and splutter mustard, fenugrek and curry leaves. Sprinkle asafoetida and start frying the garlic and onions. When they turn light brown, add the chopped tomatoes, ground masala, turmeric powder and fry till the oil leaves the sides. (This should take about 6 minutes over medium flame with occassionaly covering with the lid to cook the toamtoes) Now add 2 cups of water, tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt. Bring it to one boil, bring down the flame to low, add the fish pieces, cover and cook for 5 minutes. When done, the oil would separate and float on top of the kuzhambu. Switch off at this stage and serve hot with rice and pappadams.





Yield: 4 servings.

If having this for dinner better make it in the morning and let the fish soak in gravy for atleast 6 to 7 hours, this way the kuzhambu will taste even better.


Mullai’s special spice blend

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36 comments to Chettinad Meen Kuzhambu

  • Preena

    Dear Ms. Mullai,
    I got attracted to your website bcos of this recipe. It came out so well for me. Now am trying all your other recipes. Thank u so much..

  • Hai mam,yesterday I tried your chettinad meen kuzhambu…. wow it was really good & yummy every loved it thank you so much mam…..

  • kumar

    Mullai madam,

    We made this chettinad meen kulambu today.

    It is such a wonderful dish and i don’t know how to express the taste in words.

    Staying away from our country, i felt that sitting inside anjappar restaurant and having this dish today.

    The same anjappar restaurant taste 100% i felt and i was so happy for learning this mouthwatering dish.

    Thank you somuch for sharing this lovely recipe.

    Thanks for your guidance in making this.

  • kumar

    Mullai madam,

    Thanks for your timely help and reply.
    We got the things to make it tomorrow.
    My roommate always like to cook with tomato puree get from fresh tomatoes.He does that.He doesn’t like to use canned ones.
    For home made tomato puree also i have to proceed with 4 tbsp(1/4 cup) or measurement with more or less to proceed for this recipe.We need approximate cup measurement from u and i don’t want to try by my guessing measurement.

    Please guide us as we love to make this yummy dish.

    By looking at the picture, it reminds me of Anjappar chettinad restaurant in chennai.I loved to have this kulambu always whenever we go there.

  • kumar

    Mullai madam,

    All recipes are great.We found this website very useful.
    We would like to make this yummy fish curry on this weekend.Instead of 1 tomato, we like to use tomato puree for this recipe.can u guide us howmany cups (we are using usa standard cup sets of 240ml)of tomato puree we may need for this recipe.We are just beginners in cooking and confused about it.

    We are looking forward for your reply so eagerly.Please guide us to make this wonderful dish.


    • Kumar, if using tomato puree add about 3-4 tbsp. Canned tomato puree is naturally sweet, tangy with salt added. Just add a couple of tbsp first and then see how it tastes then add extra. A cup of puree will be too much remember we are also adding tamarind, also check the can for salt content. Most of canned items are salted, so adjust accordingly. Hope this helps and good luck with your cooking. Thanks.

  • Santhosh

    Mullai madam,
    Thanks for the reply. i follewed ur measurements nd tried this today and turned out great.It’s very very tasty and all liked verymuch.Thanks for sharing nice recipe.

  • Santhosh

    i like this kulambu very much and i want to make it.In ingredients-2,
    can u give the gram measurement for onion(3nos),tomato(1no)?

    i am very new to cooking,it will be helpful for me to get the exact taste.


  • Gowri Nair

    Hi Mullai,

    What can I use as a subtitute for Shallot?
    I dont get them where I live.


  • leena

    thanks mullai,
    first time i tried to cook fish i tried your recipe
    iwas successful in first attempt itself
    im very happy
    im pleased you to give us a wonderful website

  • Amuthavalli Arasu

    worst receipe. It is not a authentic chettinad meen kozhambu

  • saima.najeeb

    mullai, your recipes are all excellent !!!! i joined a few weeks back ,and i have tried some of the recipes ,they all came out well ,thanks mullai!!!

  • freya


  • prianca

    Hi Mullai, Its been 2 weeks since i joined ur website and tried few recipes. So far everthing has turned out wonderful. I simply love the way you explain and present your dishes!! Keep up the good work man!! So far this has been my Fav recipe. Thank you.

  • Ramya.B

    great recipe.. thnx a lot

  • umav

    thanks for such a great recipe. I tried it and it came out very tasty.

  • kaviarun

    Mullai thank u, thank u, thank u…..just finished meen kuzhambu….couldn’t wait till lunch…


    I tried this recipe came out well, my family enjoyed. Thanks

  • thiya

    Thank you mam.
    My family members like your recipes a lot.
    This fish curry is very tasty.

    thanks a lot for posting the recipes.


  • sugakar

    Hai Mullai, A very great recipe my husband is found of fish gravies and he loved this a lot. I have tried many of your reiepes all were very good and came out very well this fetched me a lots of appreciation. Thanks a lot.

  • shan

    Ma’am done with chettinad puzhikuzhambu…Really superb taste and nice aroma. Thanx for ur excellent and fabulous receipe.

    Have a great day

  • varshitha

    tanx for the recipe mullai..i did meen kuzhambu for the first time and it did came too gud…but some how my husband dint like the chettinad style fish fry that contained spices like whole garam masala …could u please suggest some other alternate recipe for fish fry ..b'coz i totally have no experience with fish..

  • shan

    Ma'am what kind of veggies are perfect to make this chettinad pulikuzhambu…(without fish)b'coz my hubby is vegetarian. Going to make tomorrow…

     Have a great day

    • abhimuthu


      It is like our normal puli kulambu, instead of fish add veggies like pavakkai/okra/poondu/brinjal-potato. Or if you have dry vathals you can just fry dry vathal in this kulambu. I use vathals like manathakkali, sundakkai, dry papad etc.. sometimes if I dont have any veggies I just use shallots and it will be tasty too.

      Hope this helps.

    • Mullai


      Fry okra or brinjal in little oil and add while you simmer the gravy. This way they remain separate, non sticky and appealing. Drumsticks is another option and as Abhi suggested you can also try varthal or plain shallots.

      • shan

        Mullai ma'am, onngaloda special spice blend nu sollirukeenga…Kandippa, i must try that one. Planning to make this evening and will let you know the outcome.

        Have a great day

    • sudha

      shan i tried  this with raw banana  it was good

  • white

    hi mullai mouth watering and thanks for this recipe

  • catysaty

    hai …..i tried th recipe it came out v welll……but i didnt get thz color and i added some chillies also………..i got my husbandz appreciation,…………..thanx a lot

  • axs1111

    Hi! Thanks for the recipe – tried it out, and it came out really well.



    very nice reciepe, thanks

  • abi

    ishhhhhhhh mouth watering mullai….

  • kaviarun

    Mullai, mouth watering………

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