This is for all my Andhra friends out there…Chepala Pulusu (Chepala-Fish, Pulusu-a tangy gravy). This dish is similar to the Tamil Meen Kolumbu.
The use of red chili and tamarind makes this curry very spicy and tangy. In my home state of Kerala we do not use the type of tamarind used in this dish for fish curries—we use a special sour fruit–kokum ( a fruit from the tree Garcinia indica, part of the mangosteen family) .
In this dish the addition of sambar tamarind yields a more thick and dark colored gravy.
1-2 lbs-Pomfret, Porgy, king fish, Blue fish, etc…cleaned and sliced into steaks or chunks
Marinade for fish: 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt
1 large onion + 2 green chilies- pureed
1/2 onion, sliced
Few sprigs of curry leaves
1 lg tomato–pureed
3-4 tbs oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 tsp Red chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp coriander pdr
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
1 heaping tbs of tamarind block/paste dissolved in 4 tbs water and strained
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Step1: Take the cleaned fish and add marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hr.Heat oil 1-2 tsp oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the fish until light brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.
Step 2: In a frying pan add remaining oil and add mustard seeds and fry til popped, add cumin and fenugreek seeds. Add sliced onions and curry leaves and fry until brown. Add ginger-garlic paste. then pureed onions. Fry until lt brown. Add all masala powder and sauté for a few minutes (until raw smell is gone). Add pureed tomatoes and allow to cook for 5 mts. Add more water if gravy is getting too thick. Oil should start separating. To this add tamarind paste and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add more water as needed to get a semi thick gravy. Add coconut flakes. Now drop in the fried fish and allow to cook for another 5 mts.
Transfer to a dish and garnish with chopped cilantro. Best served with white rice. Serves 4-6.