Chennai Fish Kuzhambu


Fish simmered in tamarind juice! Nothing less than fantastic!
I learned this recipe from a friend. Chennai Fish Kuzhambu needs only basic ingredients such as ghee, tamarind paste, and poppy seeds. I believe the key ingredient is the ghee. A hint of ghee gives this kuzhambu its tangy and subtle flavor. I boiled this kuzhambu for about 5 minutes and then thought whether I had made a serious mistake of trying this recipe. I was also wondering how can my friend be wrong…why would she even tell me if it had not come out well for her?
While all this was going on in my head, my husband was eagerly waiting for this delicious kuzhambu. The name Chennai Fish Kuzhambu itself created a huge expectation in him. He was very hungry too. I seriously thought I made a mistake.
Believe it or not, as time passed by, say after 10 minutes, the smell of the ghee together with the tamarind paste gave away good aroma as well as the desired taste. The kuzhambu, at the end, tasted fantastic. We had the kuzhambu for the next day as a sidedish for idly. Fish Kuzhambu usually tastes well the next day. I thank my friend for sharing this fantastic Chennai Fish Kuzhambu. Even now, when I think of this kuzhambu, my taste buds go high.

Fish – 5

Chopped Onion – 1

Tamarind Water- 1 Cup

Garlic Pods – 6

Cumin Seeds – 1 Teaspoon

Mustard Seeds – 1 Teaspoon

Poppy Seeds (Kus Kus) – 3/4th of a Teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – Nearly 2 Teaspoons

Chilli Powder – 1 Teaspoon

ghee – 2 Tablespoons (Do not substitute oil for ghee)

Salt – as desired


1. In a mixing bowl, put fish, onion, and tamarind water.

2. Grind cumin seeds, garlic pods, poppy seeds, mustard seeds, chilli powder, and turmeric powder into a fine paste. Add this paste to the mixing bowl. Stir once. Transfer the content to the frying pan and add salt. Stir once.

3. Heat the frying pan. Add ghee and little water and boil well until the kuzhambu thickens.

Once the kuzhambu thickens, the taste would be very nice.

Now, Chennai Fish Kuzhambu is ready!

Serve: Hot Rice, Dosa, and Idly.


Apply 2 teaspoons of vinegar or 2 teaspoons of thick tamarind juice or even juice of half lemon on both the sides of the fish for few minutes. Then, wash the fish. This will help to clean the fish and remove the odor from the fish to a certain extent.

Meen Kuzhambu



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