Today, I will be posting my signature fish recipe – Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry (Pulusu is a term to indicate a tangy curry). A simple tamarind based gravy which pairs well with any delicate white fish such as tilapia; it is served best with hot steaming white rice.
For all you guys who got lazy and skipped reading my about me section, let me tell you that I am a hardcore seafood fanatic. I admit that seafood in not for everyone as it has a strong distinctive flavour and odour. But when used in the right manner with the right spices, it will surprise your taste buds like never before. Try out this Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry recipe and let me know if you have any suggestions for variations of your own ….of course I would anyway be posting my other versions in future.
Random facts – My favourite aspect of this curry is the way the garlic cloves soften in the curry and absorb the tangy flavour. When you get a bite of this, its sweet and sour piece of magic that melts away in your mouth.
The longer the fish swims in the curry, the better the Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry tastes. Flavour of the fish blends well with the gravy and enhances the taste and aroma if served the next day. This finger-licking curry just peps up your appetite, longing for more.
Are you a fish lover?? If yes….then get ready to drool 😉
Off to the recipe for Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry!!
Step-by-Step process in making Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry:
- Clean and wash fish pieces thoroughly under running water in a colander. Clean fish finally with rock salt to avoid raw smell.
- Marinate the fish pieces with red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Leave it for 20 minutes. The longer you marinate, the better the spices blend into the fish pieces.
- Soak tamarind in half a cup of water and microwave for a minute to extract the juice by squeezing it with hand and discard the pulp.
- The extract should be thick because this forms the base for the gravy. Finely chop onions, peel garlic pods and slit green chillies lengthwise and keep them aside.
- This recipe requires quite a bit of oil but you can reduce or increase if desired. In my opinion there will only be a slight change in taste.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add fenugreek seeds. Once the seeds turn slightly brown add chopped onions, garlic and slit green chillies. Sauté the onions till they turn slightly light brown.
- Now add diced tomatoes and sauté till they become mushy.
- Gently place the fish pieces spreading throughout the pan, flip and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- You can also add some chopped coriander and curry leaves at this stage to enhance the flavour while cooking.
- Pour tamarind extract over the fish pieces and mix carefully. Add water if required just to immerse the fish pieces, adjust salt and chilli powder (Optional). I usually add one extra teaspoon chilli powder, as I like it to be spicy.
- The fish pieces have to partially immerse in the liquid. If required add some more water. Make sure not to add lot of water, otherwise you get a runny gravy. Now increase the heat till it starts to boil. This takes about 5 minutes. Once you see bubbles bring it back to medium heat. Let it cook for 5 more minutes and simmer.
- Do not stir with ladle any more because the fish pieces may break apart. Just tilt the pan to one side with your hands and get the gravy onto the pieces.
- Finally adjust salt if required, add some more coriander and turn off the heat. The reason to adjust salt repeatedly is because it is easy to misjudge amount of salt in tangy gravies. It just comes with experience.
- Serve Fish Pulusu or Tangy Fish Curry with hot steaming rice, idli or dosa. The curry tastes awesome the next day.
- 500 grams cleaned Tilapia slices
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons of red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Required salt
- Big lemon sized tamarind soaked in half a cup of water
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 big onion finely chopped
- 5 green chillies slit lengthwise
- 6 to 8 peeled garlic pods
- 1 large tomato diced
- A sprig of curry leaves
- 1 cup finely chopped coriander divided
- Clean and wash fish pieces thoroughly under running water in a colander. Rinse finally with rock salt to avoid raw smell of fish.
- Marinate the fish pieces with red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Leave it for 20 minutes.
- Microwave soaked tamarind for a minute, extract thick juice and discard the pulp.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add fenugreek seeds and wait till they change colour. Now add chopped onions, slit green chillies and sauté till they turn slightly light brown.
- Now add diced tomatoes and sauté till they become mushy.
- Gently place the marinated fish pieces spreading throughout the pan, flip and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- Add some chopped coriander and curry leaves.
- Pour tamarind extract over the fish pieces and mix carefully. Add water if required just to immerse the fish pieces, adjust salt and chilli powder.
- Cook on high heat for 5 minutes till it comes to a boil and then decrease to medium heat.
- Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes and simmer for 2 minutes..
- Do not stir with ladle because the fish pieces may break apart. Just tilt the pan to one side with your hands and get the gravy onto the pieces.
- Finally adjust salt if required, add some more coriander and turn off the heat.
- Serve with hot steaming rice.
You can also use filet but the taste is not the same as using fish with bone and skin.
Spice levels can be adjusted but proportionally the tamarind and salt has to be balanced which is the tricky part in this recipe.
Ensure to use a wide pan to fit all the fish pieces in one layer.
Do not stir frequently as fish pieces are delicate and they may break apart.
If you have enough time, use shallots instead of regular onion to get the best taste.
Let the gravy sit for 2 to 3 hours before serving…but trust me it tastes best the next day when fish pieces are soaked in the tamarind gravy and absorb all the flavours.