Chaala Meen or Sardine fish curry prepared with lots of red and green chilli with a flavour of tamarind. That combination of tanginess and spicyness is mouthwatering. Chaala Meen is said to be nutritious and tastes better when made into spicy gravy.

This curry tastes scrumptious when had along with rice or Tapioca  / Kappa.


Preparation time : 10 mins

Cooking time: 20 to 25 mins

Serves: 5


  • Chaala / Sardine fish: 1/2 kg
  • Onion: 1 big sliced
  • Tomatoes: 2 small roughly chopped
  • Shallots/ Kunjulli: 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • Ginger: 1 small piece finely chopped
  • Green chillies: 3 slit
  • Red chilli powder: 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: 3/4 tsp
  • Salt: as needed
  • Tamarind: 1 medium ball sized
  • Fenugreek seeds/ uluva: 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves: few sprigs
  • Coconut oil: 4 to 5 tbsp


  • Clean and slice the fish .
  • Marinate the fish with red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and cover and keep aside.
  • Soak tamarind in 2 cups of warm water.
  • Heat oil in clay pot or any vessel of your choice. ( cooking fish in clay pot adds up more taste)
  • Add ginger, green chilli and curry leaves and toss for few seconds.
  • Add onions with little salt and saute till it becomes translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and cook till they turn soft and mushy.
  • Pour the tamarind soaked water into the marinated fish and mix well.
  • Add this directly to the pot and mix.
  • Cover and cook for 5 to 7 mins.
  • Check for salt and add if required.
  • Open the lid and cook on medium to high flame for 10 mins.
  • The gravy tastes better with thick consistency.
  • Switch off the flame when the gravy thickens.
  • For seasoning, heat a small pan, add 2 tbsp coconut oil and add curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and finely chopped shallots.
  • Saute till the onions become light brown and pour this to the prepared fish curry.
  • Mix and keep the fish curry covered for few hours for enhanced flavour before serving.



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