Fish Curry – Salem Style


I have already shared few fish curries based on the region and this time it’s salem. I came across this recipe through one of my friend, I tried out and it was yummy, tangy, little spicy and flavorful with spices. Usually this curry should be tried out with the big fishes like pomfret, seer fish and barracuda (fish with middle bone). I would say that this is a must try recipe and now let us move on to the recipe…

Do check out my other fish recipes (curry, gravy and fry) in this link:

Fish Curry - Salem Style

Fish Curry – Salem Style


  • Seer fish – ½ kg
  • Big onion – 4 nos (medium sized)
  • Tomatoes – 2 nos
  • Coriander seeds – 3 tbsp
  • Red chilies – 7 nos
  • Garlic – 8 cloves
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Black pepper – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Coconut pieces – ½ cup or a handful
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Fenugreek/Vendayam – ¼ tsp
  • Tamarind – 2 balls (gooseberry size)
  • Curry leaves – two sprigs
  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves – for garnishing


  • Peel and roughly chop 2 ½ onions and finely chop the rest over onions and keep it aside.
  • Clean and roughly chop one tomato and finely chop the other one, keep it aside.
  • Clean, slice the fish into pieces and keep it aside.
  • Finely chop 6 cloves of garlic and keep it aside.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick kadai, add in the red chilies, coriander seeds, black pepper, 1 ½ tsp of cumin seeds, 6 cloves of garlic, coconut pieces and cook them until the raw smell goes off or the onion start turning golden brown.
  • Transfer it to a plate, bring to room temperature and grind them to a fine paste by adding little water.
  • Heat rest of the oil in a non-stick vessel, add in the mustard, leftover cumin seeds and curry leaves and wait until they crackle.
  • Add the finely chopped onions, garlic and cook until the onion turns golden brown.
  • Add in the tomatoes and cook until they turn mushy.
  • Pour in the ground masala, cook until the masala starts turning brown or until the raw smell goes off.
  • Pour in the tamarind extract, add in turmeric powder and salt, give a stir and cover with the lid.
  • Once it starts boiling remove the lid, gently add in the fish pieces one by one along with required amount of salt.
  • Cover with the lid and cook until the fish is done. Remove the lid, keep in low flame for few mins, until the curry starts thickening and the oil floats on the top of the curry.
  • Meanwhile fry the fenugreek/vendhayam seeds in a vessel, grind it to fine powder.
  • Sprinkle the fenugreek powder over the curry and let it boil for few mins.
  • Remove from fire and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot. Goes out well for lunch along with steamed rice. I have accompanied this fish curry wit steamed rice and Fenugreek Leaves Dal.

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