Sunday, March 03, 2013

How to make Chettinad Karuvadu Kuzhambu / Spicy Dry Fish Curry / Step by Step:

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Chettinad Karuvadu Kuzhambu ( Spicy Dry Fish Curry ) is a very authentic recipe from Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu..!!
It has awesome flavors and aroma, and turns out to be every seafood lover’s delight.!
This is a wonderful dish that my MIL prepares. I do love the dry-fish curry as much as fresh fish curry. Yesterday, I bought this dry fish from market & I quickly called up my MIL for recipe and cooked it right away. It came out awesome with unique aroma. Taste is still in my tongue..;)
We also add mochakottai & veggies to the curry to give extra taste. 
Here is the yummy recipe to treat your taste buds to some traditional food..:)
·      Dried fish                           - 10 to 12 pieces.
·      Thick tamarind paste          - ¼ cup
·      Kuzhambu / Red chilly pwd - 2 tsp
·      Coriander pwd                    - 2 tsp
·      Cumin pwd                        - 1 tsp
·      Turmeric pwd                     - ¼ tsp
·      Boiled mochai / Field beans       - 50 g
·      Drumstick & Brinjal slices         - 1 cup
·      Gingely or sesame oil               - 2 to 3 tbsp
·      Mustard                                  - ¼ tsp
·      Cumin                         - ½ tsp
·      Fenugreek seeds         - 1 tsp
·      Curry leaves                - 6 to 8
·      Sliced onion                - 1
·      Sliced tomato              - 2
·      Garlic                         - 8 pips
·      Coconut milk               - ½ cup (optional)
·      Salt to taste
1.   Clean, wash and soak the dry-fish in steaming hot water for 5 mins.
2.   Once again wash and set aside.
3.   In a small bowl, mix the thick tamarind paste, kuzhambu pwd, coriander pwd, cumin pwd, turmeric pwd and salt in 3 cups of water.
4.   Keep the boiled mochai & chopped drumstick and brinjal slices ready.
5.   Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard, cumin & fenugreek seeds.
6.   Add the curry leaves.
7.   Let them pop and splutter well.
8.   Add finely sliced onions & fry till the onions turn a little brown.
9.   Add the coarsely pounded garlic flakes and saut√© well.
10.Add sliced tomato pieces and cook till it is soft & mushy.
11.Now add the chopped brinjal and drumstick pieces and boiled mochai.
12.Toss well, so that the masala coats the veggies good.
13.Stir in the tamarind spice mixture ( step 3)
14.Let it boil on medium heat  for 5 mins.
15.Simmer for few more minutes.
16.Now add the cleaned dried fish mix well.
17.Cover and cook it for 6 to 8 mins on medium heat until the curry starts to thicken up slightly and the dry-fish is cooked soft & juicy.
18.Turn off the flame, once the oil shows on the surface of the curry.
19.Lipsmacking Karuvadu Kuzhambu is ready.
20.If you wish to add coconut milk, taste for salt and add the coconut milk.
21.Bring to the boil just once and remove from fire.

22.It makes an excellent & mouthwatering combo with plain white rice.
My Notes:
·      Karuvadu Kuzhambu is normally prepared a bit watery.
·      You can add water as and when  needed depending on the consistency of the curry.
·      Usually, I prepare the curry little extra spicy, to compensate the “fishy” smell. You can vary the spices     according to your taste.
Similar Recipes:  

·         Nethili Fish Fry

·         Deep Fried Anchovies

·         Chettinad Fish Curry

·         Seer Fish Fry 

·         Shark Puttu


  1. lovely kuzhambu..very tempting...

  2. This looks heavenly and I really think I can smell it, a nice spicy aroma. How could you resist tasting a lot as you cooked!

  3. Mouthwatering I think my mom would love this curry. Looks super inviting

  4. OMG ! Why u r tempting me like this ??? :( Literally am mouthwatering here....

  5. wow so so so tempting. luv it

  6. It looks beautiful and delicious! Lots of the gravy will go on my rice :)

  7. I love thick curries like this and your karuvadu curry making me hungry dear! Rombeh naala achu ithey saaptu ;)

  8. delicious and inviting dear

  9. i love it....want to have it right now

  10. I love fish and I love curry so this sounds just perfect to me. Have a good week Diane

  11. Love this yummy curry...sooo tempting...

  12. yummy dish ,too tempting!!

  13. Thank you for wonderful feedback. I would love to hear your comments..:)

  14. Yummyilicious and fingerlicking gravy, love to enjoy with a bowl of rice.

  15. sounds really good n u tempting vth pics eve n i don`t like.hehe

  16. you are my inspiration in cooking south indian dish.

  17. I'm trying this for lunch today! My kitchen is filled with wonderful chettinad aroma! Mmmmm....I can't wait for the end result!

  18. Will it taste better if you fry the dry fish and add?

    1. Hi Vidya, usually, we won't add fried dry fish for karuvadu kuzhambu. It will change the soft taste of the fish in curry.


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