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Chepala Pulusu (Fish Pulusu)

Jun 1st, 2009 | By | Category: All Recipes, Curries & Gravies, Non-Veg Recipes

 chepala pulusu

A finger lickin dish made with fish and tangy tamarind sauce is the traditional delicacy of andhra pradesh. Although a variety of fish are used to make this pulusu, korameenu is the most popular of all. Interesting thing is that the pulusu tastes amazing when eaten the next day 🙂 but if you could’nt resist yourself, give it atleast 2 hours after you cook it. Lets take a peek at how we cook this …


2 – 3 fish fillets ( I used tilapia but catfish or mackarel also can be used) – cut into 8 pieces

½ cup cooking oil

3 medium sized onions (about 2 cups finely chopped)

Salt to taste

1 ½ tsp ginger & garlic paste

1 tsp mustard seeds (avalu)

½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

¼ tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

10 – 12 curry leaves

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

3 tbsps chilli powder (adjust

1 large lemon size tamarind (Soak in 2 cups of warm water and extract juice out of it))

5 green chillies (slit into halves)

4-5 tbsps freshly chopped coriander for garnish

Cooking fish pulusu

Fish Pulusu ~ Step by Step Pictorial

How to:

  • Heat 4 -5 tbsps of oil in a deep and wide bottomed pan. On medium flame, add chopped onions, salt, and fry for 5 to 8 minutes or till the onions turn soft. Add ginger & garlic paste and fry for another 3 mts till the raw smell disappears. Turn off the flame. Allow to cool, grind it to smooth paste and set aside.
  • In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, gently place the fish pieces beside each other and fry just for 1 minute on both sides till the pieces turn to white in color. This would help the fish to hold its shape while cooking in the gravy. Turn off the flame. Gently lift each piece, arrange them in a plate and set aside.
  • Heat remaining oil in a pan, on low flame, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add methi seeds and fry till brown. Add curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
  • Add the onion paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, chilli powder and fry for a minute on low flame.
  • Add the extracted tamarind juice without pulp, increase the flame to high and bring it to a good boil. Add slit green chillies. Let it cook  on high flame till the froth on top disappears, and oil starts separating on top of the gravy(about 10 mts). Taste the gravy and adjust salt, chilli powder or tamarind juice if required. (If adding more tamarind juice allow to cook for a while till the rawness disappears.)
  • Gently place the fried fish pieces in the pan, reduce the flame to low, cook covered for 10 minutes till the gravy thickens and oil floats on top. Once you add the fish pieces to the gravy do not mix it, lest the pieces would be break. (To mix, my mom used to catch hold of the pan and gently rotate it)
  • Add freshly chopped coriander leaves. Turn off the flame and let it stand for atleast 2 hours allowing the spices and tamarind juice to be absorbed by the fish before serving.
  • Serve with steamed rice.

A few tips to follow to while cooking the recipe are:

  • Always use fresh fish as it tastes best.
  • Use a wide heavy bottomed vessel so that it fits all the fish pieces in one layer.
  • Do not get tempted to mix the dish frequently after adding the fish pieces to the sauce. Fish pieces are very delicate and stirring frequently would break them.
  • To prevent fish from breaking u may fry the fish for a minute in oil. This helps the fish hold its shape when adding to the gravy. (optional step)
  • Let the pulusu rest for atleast 2 hours before serving.
  • If you have some time on hand then its worth replacing regular onions with shallots. Also dry roasted spices bring the best flavor out of the dish.

 Note: Frying the fish pieces is an optional step. Raw fish pieces can be directly placed in the gravy. However first timers to the dish, may try frying the pieces, because fried fish holds it shape.

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  1. Sowjanya, this is such a mouthwatering dish and reminds me of my neighbor aunty who invites me for lunch everytime she make fish!!! Am bookmarking this!!! slurrp!!!

  2. Wow the dish looks very tasty..heaven for fish lovers!!

  3. wow the curry looks delicious & tempting pictures …

  4. Curry looks delicious,mouthwatering.Best eaten the next day with hot dosa 🙂

  5. Delicious curry sowjanya..chala bagundi..

  6. hiiii sowjanya, this food is looking very delicious,it helps so much in cooking 4 the first time

  7. You are a wonderful cook. The step by step process gives a very clear explanation. It’s awesome that you have explaned a few things which could land up as mistakes which most of the people tend to do. Thank you for posting the recipy.

  8. Thank you sathya, I am overwhelmed. Hope to keep up the blog to your expectations.

  9. i love this recipie . authentic fish pulusu with adding spices.. coconut milk etc..

  10. my bad its without adding spices…
    i love this recipie . authentic fish pulusu without adding spices.. coconut milk etc

  11. I tried this recipie.it came excellent.

    Can you post some fish friy without much spices added

  12. its delicioous

  13. simple and excellent one… i liked it 🙂 easy to make delicious to taste… thnx a lot.

  14. sowjanay….your fish curry dish is superbbb i have tried in my home without taking my mothers help! its too good ! keep it up dear !

  15. i wanted to make this fish curry, pulusu, but in usa which is the closest tasting fish to koraminu. i tried on the web i got confused is it , catfish, tilapia , red snapper or rohu… plzzzzzzzzzzz let me know whats the closest…. looking for any telgu guys to tell me.

  16. we made Chapala pulusu, after reading your blog, it was really mind blowing. we really loved it a lot.

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