Chettinad Fish Curry

I call myself a foodie and I love food. However, I don’t like trying new food or meat, especially when I’m at a restaurant. I always order a dish that I have tried and tested and liked, rather than something on the menu that I have never eaten before. I will always be intrigued by something else on the menu but I can never convince myself to order it. For example, my absolute favorite brunch dish is Eggs Benedict. And I always order that! My husband teases me about this all the time because he on the other hand is quite adventurous when it comes to trying out new food and / or meat. He has a list of different kinds of meat that he wants to try! Not me. So I usually order chicken when I’m out and I cook chicken for the most part. I recently cooked turkey which we really enjoyed. And this is only the second time I have cooked fish ever.

Chettinad cuisine originated in a region called Chettinad in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Chettinad curries use ingredients like fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, tamarind and coconut. This recipe is my version of a Chettinad Curry. Here’s the recipe:

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes


  1. Oil – 5 tablespoons
  2. Shallots – 6 (Sliced)
  3. Fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
  4. Fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon
  5. Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  6. Black peppercorn – 1 teaspoon
  7. Cardamom pods – 3
  8. Cinnamon – 1 stick
  9. Dried whole red chillies – 2
  10. Ginger – 1 teaspoon (minced)
  11. Garlic – 1 teaspoon (minced)
  12. Fresh curry leaves – handful
  13. Grated coconut – 1/2 Cup
  14. Tomato paste – 3 tablespoons
  15. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  16. Tilapia fillets – 500 gms (Cut in small pieces)
  17. Salt – 1.5 teaspoon
  18. Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
  19. Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon


  1. Mix the marinade ingredients (1/2 teaspoon salt, tamarind and lemon juice) and rub liberally over the fish. Leave for half an hour.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add sliced onions, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and red chillies to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add ginger, garlic and curry leaves and saute for a couple of minutes.IMG_20170319_165649_087
  5. Add grated coconut and saute for 5 minutes.
  6. Add tomato paste and salt and saute for 7 minutes.IMG_20170319_165911_193
  7. Add 1 cup of water and saute for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cool the ingredients of the curry before blending it.
  8. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in another pan and add the marinated fish. Shallow fry for 6 minutes.
  9. Add the contents of the blender back to the first pan and add 1.5 cups of water. Cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Add the fried fish fillets to this pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Garnish with fresh curry leaves, grated coconut and serve hot with freshly made basmati rice.



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