Thursday 9 August 2012

Viral Meen Kulambu

Viral fish (Pronounced as V-raal) is a very tasty fresh water fish variety and compliments gravy or any fry recipes well. Am not sure about the English name for Viral, but Googled to find its name to be Butterfish, but still not sure about that. Two days back me and my dear hubby went shopping to a grocery shop and found a small notice on the doors of the shop saying "live viral fishes available here for Rs.375 per kg". I was so interested to get it because fresh fishes tastes so good when cooked, also viral fish tastes great, its flesh is so soft and tastes so good. We asked for a kilogram of it and we got a whole fish that weighed just a little below a kilogram, then we got it chopped. I came home and stored it for next day's use. I made this fish gravy and fish fry the next day. It was really awesome, the fish tasted so good and it was so soft, succulent and delicious, that me and my hubby picked out all the fish pieces leaving some gravy behind after dinner. Next day I had to pack lunch for my hubby and so wanted to make dishes really quick, so decided to make Kathirikai Puli Kulambu / Spicy Brinjal Tamarind Curry with this leftover fish gravy which came out really lip-smacking, I've never tasted such an awesome and spicy puli kulambu before. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow. Coming to the Viral meen kulambu, the gravy has a very good aroma was very delicious especially the addition of fennel seeds makes it more flavorful. Now lets see whats required and how to prepare this Viral Meen Kulambu.

For my other Sea-food recipes click here.


(Serves 4 people)

  1. Viral Meen - 750 grams
  2. Coconut - 1/4 of a big coconut (If its small use half of it)
  3. Big onion - 2 (or) Shallots - 8 to 10
  4. Tomatoes - 1
  5. Garlic pods - 2 
  6. Raw mango - 2 long pieces (Optional)
  7. Tamarind - A small lemon sized ball
  8. Red chilli powder - 3 to 3.5  spoons 
  9. Turmeric powder - 1/4 spoon 
  10. Cumin seeds - 1/2 spoon 
  11. Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 spoon 
  12. Fennel seeds - 1/4 spoon
  13. Mustard - 1/2 spoon 
  14. Curry leaves - Few 
  15. Salt - As per taste 
  16. Gingelly oil - 10 spoons 


  • Wash fish pieces well in water.
  • Soak tamarind in two cups of water and leave it undisturbed for 15 minutes. Then using your fingers mash it well and extract the juice from it and set aside, discard the pulp.
  • Coarsely grind the following or chop them finely;
(Coarsely grind / Chop finely) 
1. Onions - 2 
2. Tomatoes - 1 
3. Garlic pods - 2 
  • Make a very fine paste using the following ingredients;
(Very fine coconut paste)
1. Coconut pieces - From 1/4 of a  big coconut 
2. Cumin seeds - 1/2 spoon 
  • Heat oil in a wide and pan/wok, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add fennel seeds, curry leaves, and fenugreek seeds and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add the coarse paste of onions and tomatoes and stir well. Add a pinch of salt to make it get cooked faster.
  • Once the raw smell leaves add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and stir well. 
  • Add the tamarind water and coconut paste and stir well.
  • Slide the raw mango pieces into the pan and stir well, cook on medium flame. (If you are going to use mangoes reduce the amount of tamarind). 
  • Add 5 cups of water or more according to the quantity of gravy you need.
  • Then add salt and let the gravy boil well.
  • After the raw smell leaves and the gravy starts boiling well, slide in the fish pieces slowly and leave it undisturbed until the pieces gets cooked. Cook on low flame. 
  • Fish gets cooked soon so check frequently whether it has got cooked and also check for salt add if needed.
  • Once the fish pieces gets cooked remove from flame and serve. 

TIP 1: If you are going to use raw mangoes (unripe mangoes) then reduce the amount of tamarind. If in case you have added too much of tamarind and the gravy tastes sour then compensate it by adding more coconut paste or coconut milk. But do all these adjustments before adding the fish pieces.

TIP 2: Never stir or adjust anything (except addition of salt) after adding fish pieces. Because the fish pieces will easily break.

TIP 3: Never over cook the fish pieces, if overcooked it will break and dissolve in the gravy. So check regularly after 3 minutes. This viral fish will get cooked within 5-7 minutes. 

TIP 4: Wash this fish well with salt and turmeric powder it will be very slimy and so will slip of easily from your hand. Salt will help you hold the fish well and will also help to remove the microbes. 

TIP 5: Make sure that the gravy is not too watery. Add more coconut paste if it turns too watery. Do this adjustment before adding fish pieces. Be very cautious to add fish pieces only after the gravy thickens. 

Delicious lip-smacking Viral Meen Kulambu is now ready!! Serve with Hot rice and enjoy!!

Linking this recipe to Anu's SIC Series

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  1. I have not had fish in such a long time .. sigh I should stop coming here at least for a few days till shravan is over. But I like ur blog too much so cannot do that!

    1. Wow that's a really sweet comment Gauri :) Thank you so much!!

  2. Can imagine the flavor and taste,tangy and yum curry

  3. looks delicious! My mom makes something similar to this.

  4. Super tempting fish curry. Inviting clicks dear.

  5. Looks delicios. Hearing this fish name first time...looks perfect.

  6. The curry and it's presentation looks awesome Divya..I long to have some..Truly yummy.

  7. i love fish curry.. mouthwatery kuzhambu :)

  8. Tempting curry looks awsome....mouthwatering...

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Wow Divya u made me hungry :)

  11. lovely blog and a great recipe... Hi dear first time to your blog and had a good look at your collection, you've got some interesting recipes, happy to follow you do visit me

  12. Mmm... what a wonderful dish. You are a professional!

  13. Perfect color and texture Divya..inviting me..


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