Andhra Rayalaseema chepala pulusu (Fish Curry)

One more fish curry, the famous Andhra Rayalaseema fish curry – chepala pulusu, which means Tamarind fish curry and is very popular in the houses of Rayalaseema, Andhra Pradesh. This fish curry is similar to my other chepala pulusu, but in this curry I have added roasted special spices. Fish is cooked in a tangy sauce and in the end roasted spices are added, which gives this curry a different taste. As with all fish curries, this one also tastes even better the next day. There are so many variations in the chepala pulusu itself as each house has their own touch. Some add tomato paste, some add chopped tomatoes, some prepare it with just onion and spices. The main taste comes from the fresh fish and the tanginess of tamarind.

If you are using fish like cutla (carp), or rohu or any fish like catla, when the curry is cooked, it leaves lot of fat or oil because of the fats/oil in fish. This also makes the curry tastier. The stomach part of the carp or rohu will be soft and fatty and is my personal favourite. I also love the the fish head. This fish curry is eaten with plain rice, sometimes with ragi ka mudda (made with rice and ragi – millet flour). The next day, you can serve it with idli or dosa.

Fresh water fish like bocha, cutla(carp), rohu or any fish from fresh water can be used. You can also use any sea fish like vanjaram (king fish), sea bass etc.

Benefits of carp fish (cutla or rohu)

  • Carp fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acid content.
  • Carp Fish are excellent sources of protein that are low in fat.
  • The protein in fish is of high quality, containing an abundance of essential amino acids, and is very digestible for people of all ages.

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Cuisine: Andhra pradesh

Serves: 2

Spiciness: Hot, sour

Ingredients

  • Fish (cutla/carp) – 5 medium sized pieces
  • Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 20
  • Onion (medium size) – 1
  • Tomato (for puree) – 1
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste (optional) – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste (thick, concentrated) – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 2 to 2 1/2 cups
  • Green chillies (slit) – 4
  • Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/3 cup
  • Special spice powder

  • Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Dry red chilli – 1
  • Black pepper seeds (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – as per taste

Method

  • The fish pieces are medium 1 inch thick, medium size cut. You can also use fillets.
  • Slice the green chillies into thin long strips.
  • Grind the tomato to puree and keep aside.
  • Roast the spices on low flame for a few minutes until the colour changes lightly and the aroma starts to come. Allow to cool and grind it in a mixer to a fine or may be even a little coarse powder.
  • I have used tamarind paste (store bought, double concentrated) and used water as per the curry requirement. Use the tamarind as per the sourness you like.
  • If using dry tamarind (about the size of a lemon) soak in 1/2 cup warm water for a few minutes. Extract the tamarind water by squeezing the tamarind nicely. Strain the tamarind water and keep it aside. Add again 1/2 cup of water to squeeze the remaining juices from the tamarind. Strain again and keep it aside. Use this for the curry. (Refer my other Andhra fish curry – chepala pulusu).
  • Heat oil in a wide vessel and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) and curry leaves and let them splutter for a few seconds.
  • Add the green chillies, saute for about 30 seconds, add chopped onions and fry on medium heat until the onions turn transparent. Add ginger and garlic paste (optional) and fry for 1 min.
  • Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and salt and fry for 1 to 2 mins on a low flame.
  • Add 1 cup water and let it boil for about 5 to 8 mins.
  • Add the tamarind paste and remaining water. Boil for about 5 mins again.
  • Now carefully place the fish pieces in the vessel, cook for 10 to 12 mins with the lid closed until the fish curry is cooked. Shake/swirl/rotate the vessel slightly instead of stirring. Cook until you get to the consistency you want for the curry and the rawness of the tamarind disappears.
  • Reduce the flame, add salt, add coriander leaves and sprinkle 1 tsp special spice powder on top of the curry. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 to 12 mins. Let the sauce thicken and until the oil separates.
  • Shake the vessel in between so that special spice mix gets mixed well. Do not stir to avoid breaking the fish.
  • Cook the curry in the afternoon and eat it for dinner. The fish curry tastes more delicious.
  • Adjust salt and garnish with chopped coriander leaves again.
  • Serve this delicious Rayalaseema chepala pulusu (Fish curry) with plain rice or roti (chapathi).

Notes

  • You can use any fresh water fish or sea fish also like vanjaram (king fish) or sea bass.
  • Do not stir too much with a spoon as the fish pieces can break. Just hold the vessel and rotate it clock wise or antilock wise direction and by doing this the fish pieces won’t break.
  • After adding tamarind water, add extra water as per the requirement.
  • You can reduce the chilli powder and green chillies as per your taste.
  • If using dry tamarind, add water as per the requirement of the curry (3 cups water).
  • If you want you can add a pinch of roasted methi seeds powder in the curry.

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