Fish curry nellai style

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Preparation Time : 20 minutes

Cooking Time : 20 -25 minutes

Serving : 5-6 members


Fish curry or meen kolazlambu as we call this curry at home . This is an authentic fish curry recipe fresh and fragrant,  that I learnt from my mother -in – law . Very simple to make with easily available ingredients at home . My mother – in – law is very particular about one thing when it comes to making a perfect meen kolazmbhu . The masala and coconut should be ground in a traditional ammi / sil patta ( pistol and mortal ) . The curry is so velvety when the masala paste is ground in the ammi . My mother – in – law always adds whole dry red chillies instead of the powder . I suppose that always helps to add more colour and flavour to the curry . She asks us to follow another trick while grinding in the ammi . While grinding always pull the pistol towards you and then roll back from where you started . Never pull and push bake in the same motion as the stones being moved in the same direction will generate heat and that spoils the masala paste and the kolazmbhu taste gets affected . You can taste the skill that goes into making an authentic home style masala paste and thats how it should be made too . Every morning the sound of grinding in the ammi was a regular sound at home back then . I used to love to grind in the ammi as it helped me burn some calories . Now a days even when there is a power cut no one is ready to use the ammi .  I still have a ammi which was gifted to my  mother – in – law by her mother at home . It’s sad that the busy hassle  and fast pace of life today leaves way to fade away our tradition , authentic dishes and utensils .
Meen kolazmbhu Nellai style

Ingredients to be ground to a smooth paste

Coriander powder3 tablespoons full
Red chilli powder2 1/2 tablespoons full
Turmeric powder1/4 teaspoon
Cumin powder 1 teaspoon
Coconut1/4 cup

Method for Smooth paste

  1. Grind all the above mentioned ingredients together to get a smooth masala paste
  2. Grind coconut separately to a smooth paste

Other ingredients

Cleaned fish 1/2 kg
Small onions 1 1/4 hands + 6-7 to season chopped into two
Tomatoes2 medium sized chopped ( my mother- in - law just squeezes the whole tomatoes into the tamarin water )
Green chillies2-4 slit
Tamarind lemon size ball , soaked in 1 cups of water and pulp squeezed and strained
Salt to taste
Sesame oil ( gingely oil /nalla ennai ) 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds1 teaspoon
Curry leaves1 strand


  1. Mix tamarin pulp water , ground masala paste , salt to taste , chopped small onions 6-7 , tomatoes and green chillies together . Add 2 cups of water and mix well .
  2. Taste and adjust . Heat sesame oil in a heavy bottomed board vessel . Add fenugreek seeds , cumin seeds , chopped onions and curry leaves . Once the fenugreek seeds crackle And small onions are brown and crisp ,
  3. Pour the tamarind masala water base . Cover and Bring to boil . Once the raw smell has gone and the green chillies are boiled and changes its colour . Add the cleaned fish pieces .
  4. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes by just rotating the vessel once in a while making sure the gravy coats and covers all the fish in the curry . ( do not use a spatula to toss or mix the fish into the curry as the fish pieces might break ) .
  5. Dilute the coconut paste with little water . Pour into the curry and mix well . Lower the flame and cook further for another 4-5 minutes until oil separates and floats on top . Remove from heat and serve hot with white boiled rice , iddli , dosa , appam , chappathi …