Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chapa Pulusu (Andhra-style Tamarind-and-Fish Curry)

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One of the books that I've bought from last BBW book sale, is this rather heavy, very thick book (608 pages), "Mastering The Art of Indian Cooking" by Sanjeev Kapoor. I have heard of this chef's name only in passing when I was browsing for Indian recipes from the internet and have never tried any of his recipes before. Since this book is rather cheap with more than 500 recipes, I figured that at least there would be some good recipes in it. And mind you, there's not a single photo in the book! The only photo is the chef himself at the back page of the book! I don't mind getting books with no photos, as long as the recipes are great, I'll even read the book from front to end!  If only I was this interested in my school books when I was younger, perhaps if I was enrolled in a culinary school, then it would be different!!!   Hahaha!

For this month's Little Thumbs Up event, where the theme is "Curry Powder or Paste", hosted by Everybody Eats Well in Flanders, got me searching for my first recipe from this book. I do have a personal challenge to try cooking or baking at least one recipe from all the twenty over books which I've bought from the book sale, and other books from my collection that I have never used before!

This is a mild fish curry, suitable for the whole family. This recipe uses the tomatoes and tamarind paste as the souring agents. When adding in the tamarind paste, try adding in 1/4 tsp at a time, until you get the sourness that you like. Here I have used only 1/2 teaspoon (Adabi brand tamarind paste),instead of the original 1 tablespoon as stated in the recipe, as sometimes tomatoes can get a little sour. For the fish, I have used black pomfret and cut it into halves. 

One of the interesting thing about this curry dish is, the fish is soaked in a mixture of water, turmeric powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, lemon juice and salt for 20 minutes. Maybe this is to get rid of any fishy smell. Drain the fish before cooking.

This fish curry dish turns out very nice. I can actually taste the fresh sweetness from the tomatoes and the fish is very fresh and tasty. There's no fishy smell. Get some really nice, really fresh fish for a good result, it makes a lot of difference to a good tasting curry. A thumbs up curry, very good eaten with plain white rice.

Thumbs Up for this first recipe and am looking forward to try out other recipes from this book. 

Little Thumbs Up

and ....

"Cook-Your-Books #1" hosted by me, Kitchen Flavours. Cook or bake any recipes from your cookbooks or magazines and link them up at "Cook-Your-Books", full details from here.

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Chapa Pulusu (Andhra-style Tamarind-and-Fish Curry)
(adapted from "Mastering The Art of Indian Cooking", Sanjeev Kapoor)
400gms pomfret, cut into 8 fillets
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
3-1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
2 dried red chillies, stemmed and broken in half
1 large red onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons red chile powder (used 2-1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin (did not roast)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp (use on 1/2 tsp)

  1. Wash the fish slices under running water and drain them well in a colander.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups (400ml) water, the turmeric, 2 teaspoons of the ginger paste, 2 teaspoons of the garlic paste, the lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the fish and set aside for 20 minutes.
  3. Place a nonstick saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, curry leaves, and chiles, and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoon ginger paste and garlic paste, and saute for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Add the chile powder, ground cumin, and coriander, and stir well. Add 3 cups (600ml) water and cook for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes are pulpy. Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp and stir well. When it comes to a boil, cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the oil comes to the top.
  7. Drain the fish and gently slide the slices into the sauce. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  8. Serve hot.


  1. Thank you Joyce for linking up to my curry event. I love fish curry, this is really quite an interesting dish with an interesting name, is that Tamil or Hindi? It must have be very delicious!

  2. Se ve muy delicioso y saludable con curry,hugs.

  3. Joyce, that looks like a delicious fish curry! I am searching for something to cook too and there is so many I can't make up my mind hah! hah!

  4. Good morning, Joyce! I hope that this Cook Your Books will be hosted every month for a long time as I have recipes that I need to try out from my books & magazines, hehe! You & Lena are not just baking buddies but both also shared similar taste. Love your version of the fish curry.

  5. I can smell the sourish fragrance, love it :D

  6. Although I never cooked with tamarind paste, this dish sounds delicious Joyce, very flavorful...I love the combination of spicy and sour.
    Have a lovely week :D

  7. Very flavourful! I have never cooked with tamarind paste...the gravy looks ever so tempting!

  8. I love this tamarind fish. Fish and tamarind are a match made in heaven!

  9. Mmm tamarind is one of my favorite flavors. so tangy tart delicious.

  10. SLurp,fingerlicking and droolworthy tangy fish curry.

  11. good morning joyce! mouth watering..i see that this curry had more spices than my tamarind curry..so did you put on one extra pound after you eat this?

  12. Looks very tempting and full of flavor ! Love the spicy and sour combination of your fish curry :)

    Btw , will link my post later :D

  13. Wow! I'm drooling , need nasi to go with this sedaplicious fish curry! 2 pinggan at least! YUMMY!

  14. I love Indian non veg recipe. Especially sea food recipes like chepala pulusu. Thanks for sharing. Really watering in my mouth after seeing this recipe. Remembering my past days with recipe.