Tuesday 1 May 2012

Indian Sardines Fish Gravy | Mathi Meen Kulambu | Chaalai Meen Kulambu | Fish Gravy

Indian oil sardines (Mathi/Chaalai) is a very tasty and healthy fish variety. This fish gravy, from south India, is delicious and goes well with Rice, Dosa, Bread, and Idly. Its also a best accompaniment for Wheat dosa (Click here for wheat dosa recipe). I have seen people avoiding Sardines, but it is the best nutritious and cheapest fish variety. Indian oil sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, Proteins and very healthy small fish variety that helps in curing inflammations, controlling blood sugar and is an excellent source of Vitamin B12. The fish makes the gravy rich and oily as it gets cooked and as time passes the gravy will taste excellent. I personally do not prefer to serve fish curries immediately after cooking, letting the curry sit for a while allows the fish to absorb more masala and also lets the gravy absorb the fish flavors very well. This  fish gravy goes well with rice, dosa and sweet breads too!! 


  1. Indian Oil Sardines / Mathi / Chalai - 500 grams (or) 10 fishes 
  2. Grated Coconut - 10 spoons (or) Coconut pieces - 5 
  3. Onions - 1
  4. Tomatoes - 2 
  5. Green chillies - 1 
  6. Garlic pods - 3
  7. Curry leaves - Few 
  8. Tamarind - 1 inch sized ball
  9. Cumin seeds - 1 spoon 
  10. Dry red chillies - 15 
  11. Mustard - 1 spoon 
  12. Fenugreek seeds - 1 spoon 
  13. Oil - 5-6 spoons


  • Take the sardines and Chop off the head then pull off the intestines through opening got after chopping the head. (You need a little patience and practice here) Remove the scales using a knife by sliding the knife to and fro along the fish sides. Once done wash fish pieces well in water.Marinate the fish pieces with few pinches of salt and turmeric powder. 
  • Cube one tomato (keep the other one for making paste), chop onions and split green chillies into two and set aside. 
  • Grind the following into a very fine paste and keep aside;
      • Coconut + 1 Tomato + Cumin seeds + Dry red chillies 
  • Soak tamarind in a cup of water for 15 minutes, then extract juice from it and set aside.
  • In a pan add oil, after it heats up splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and chopped onions. Saute for a minute.
  • Then add split green chillies, and garlic pods and saute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and stir well. 
  • Now add the prepared paste and tamarind water and stir well. 
  • Add water and adjust the consistency. Don't make it too watery.
  • After the gravy starts boiling and gets thick slide in the washed fish pieces.
  • Cook on a low flame for 5 minutes or until the fish gets cooked. 
  • For Tempering;
      • In a pan add oil, splutter mustard seeds, then add curry leaves and chopped onions and saute till the onion turns brownish.
  • Add the above mixture immediately to the fish gravy and remove from flame.
  • Serve.
TIP 1: If you prepare fish fry, do not discard the leftover oil used for frying fishes, use it while tempering the fish gravy. It will enhance the gravy flavor.

TIP 2: Also similarly, instead of discarding the masala used for marinating fishes during fish fry, add it to the fish gravy along with the masala.

TIP 3: For a difference try this gravy with sweet bread for dinner! 

Hot Delicious Sardines Fish Gravy is now ready in an authentic South Indian style!! 


  1. Slurp,fingerlicking fish gravy,makes me drool..

  2. Yeah Priya I love this gravy too!! Thanks for dropping by..

  3. my fav with kappa (tapioca)... mouthwatering

  4. My mouth is watering here....

    Event: Dish name starts with L


  5. Hi Reshmi and Akila Thank you so much!!

    Do drop in again..

  6. Hi thangai,
    I'm not a fish person but I would definitely go for the gravy. It looks like a delicious sauce :)

  7. I love the idea of sardines. I do enjoy this fish, but don't know what to eat with them. I'm going to make this recipe. Thanks!!!!

  8. So tempting and tasty fish gravy !! looks so spicy and appealing !!

    Ongoing event CC:Mom’s Recipe

  9. tasty and tempting sardine curry...i love sardines,but we don't get here in New Zealand.

    Shabbu's Tasty Kitchen

  10. the gravy has nice color. delicious.

  11. first time in your space n i absolutely loved it !!!!the fish gravy looks absolutely divine....I'm a huge fan of fish n i hav a space dedicated to only fish recipes...plz check it out in ur free time :-)following ur space !!!!

  12. Hi Suzanne, Sravs, Shabbu, Julie, R and Sonali from Only fish recipes, Thank you so much for the lovely comments..

    Suzanne, Am sure you will love it, try it and lemme know the feedback.. Thanks for visiting!!

    Sravs, thank you so much.

    Shabbu, that's so sad, but you can prepare the same gravy with other fishes too!! Thanks for your time..

    Julie, thank you so much..

    R, Thanks for dropping in again..

    And Sonali, from only fish recipes, Thank you so much for visiting mine, will surely visit yours!! Do drop in again!!

  13. the gravy looks so hot n spicy...i love the color...

  14. Thank you follow foodie :)

  15. Thank you so much Khushi!!

  16. Thank you so much Chandrani!! Do visit again..


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