Chepala Pulusu or Fish Pulusu is a spicy and tangy popular Andhra Style fish curry, especially in the district of Nellore. The fish pulusu recipe is prepared with freshwater fishes, sesame oil, and ground masala which gives a unique traditional taste and flavor to the dish. This Andhra fish curry is an inviting treat for seafood lovers and can be a perfect side dish for white rice, appam, dosa, idli, roti, and similar dishes for lunch and dinner.
About Chepala Pulusu
Chepala/Fish Pulusu is one of the most flavorful and tastiest South Indian seafood dishes of Andhra and Telangana Cuisine particularly from the region of Nellore. The word Chepala means fish and Pulusu means tamarind gravy. So Chepala Pulusu is nothing but fresh fish simmered in a spicy and tangy tamarind sauce.
This Andhra fish curry is prepared with a generous amount of spices that make the curry glowing red and of course spicy. Especially the masala paste made with roasted peppercorn, mustard, fenugreek, cumin, and poppy seeds gives a unique flavor and taste to this dish. And the sesame oil used in this recipe gives a traditional earthy and rustic flavor to the curry.
This fish pulusu recipe is one of the traditional dishes and it's popular in most households and restaurants of the states. In fact, you could also find this fish pulusu as a signature dish in most Andhra restaurants in foreign countries. This Andhra fish curry can be the ultimate feast for seafood lovers and it literally leaves any fish lovers licking their fingers and ask for more.
Variations in Chepala Pulusu recipe
This Chepala/Fish Pulusu is one of the most appetizing dishes to enjoy and it has a lot of variations too. The recipe for fish pulusu varies according to the place, local produce, and tradition of the people( Andhra and Telangana). You could find so many variations in the recipe within the states themselves. Each variety is unique in its taste and flavor. And makes a delightful seafood meal that one could enjoy over and over again.
For example, Chintha Chiguru Chepala Pulusu is one such variation where people use tender tamarind leaves instead of tamarind water to make this fish pulusu. And it delivers a unique tangy flavor and taste to the dish.
Even though I have used poppy seeds as one of the ingredients while roasting the paste, you could add coconut to achieve similar results. There are also variations where you can add raw mango pieces to given an extra punch to this Chepala pulusu curry.
Apart from this, Rayalaseema Chepala Pulusu, Rajahmundry Fish Pulusu, Bhimavaram fish curry are some of the other variations one should definitely try and enjoy for more different flavors and tastes.
Best Fish for Andhra Fish Curry
Andhra fish curry tastes delicious when prepared with freshwater fishes. To name a few Tilapia, Catfish, Trout, Indian Seer fish, Butterfish, Milkfish works well for this curry. Even though bone-in fishes are considered best for Andhra Pulusu, you could also make this curry in bone-less fishes.
How to make Nellore Fish/Chepala Pulusu?
The recipe I have shared here is a traditional Nellore Chepala Pulusu and the quantity yields to 4 people. In this part, let us see how to prepare/make this curry with detailed step-by-step instructions that I believe will help you to make it easily at home.
To give a clear idea, following are the steps involved in making this fish pulusu recipe.
- Preparation of fish pulusu masala
- Preparation of fish pulusu curry
1. Steps to prepare fish pulusu masala
To prepare the masala paste, in a pan with medium heat add peppercorn, mustard, fenugreek, cumin, and poppy seeds. Roast all the ingredients until it to start to splutter. Make sure not to over roast them which will deliver a bitter taste to the curry. Once done, transfer the spices to the blender and grind them to a paste using little water. And reserve the fish pulusu masala paste for later use.
2. Step to prepare the fish pulusu curry
To make the fish pulusu curry, in a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add the mustard, fenugreek, and cumin seeds. Allow the seasoning to splutter and then add the onions, green chilies, and curry leaves. Saute the onions until it turns soft.
Once they are soft, add in the ginger-garlic paste and sauté until it turns fragrant. Then stir in the salt, turmeric, chili, and coriander powder. After that, sauté the tomatoes until they turn mushy. Once they are mushy, pour in the water, and masala paste, and give a good mix. Allow the seasoned water to boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
Once the time passed, drop in the fish pieces one by one into the curry. Give a gentle mix and close the pan with a lid and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure not to over-mix the fish pieces which will break them into pieces.
After the above suggested time, open the lid and add in the tamarind paste or water and give a gentle mix. Then simmer the heat and cook the gravy until it leaves oil on its sides. Now the Nellore Chepala/Fish Pulusu is ready for you to taste and enjoy.
The key to getting a delicious Chepala pulusu is to use the right quantity of ingredients. For example, if the mustard and fenugreek seeds are gone a little higher, then this Andhra fish curry tastes extremely bitter. So make sure to stick to the quantity mentioned in the recipe card below to enjoy the authentic taste and flavor. It is also important to roast the ingredients for fish pulusu masala in medium heat to avoid burning. This also helps in achieving a great taste and flavor to this curry.
Even though this Nellore Chepala Pulusu is known for its spiciness, you could always feel free to reduce the spice level according to your family's needs. While this dish tastes great when made with bone-in freshwater fishes, you could also make it with boneless fillets. And it also tastes equally delicious as the traditional one.
This Andhra fish curry is a must-try delicious seafood recipe especially when you want to try traditional and authentic dishes. And I hope you will try and enjoy this dish with your family and loved ones.
Fish/Chepala Pulusu tastes delicious when served warm but it gets even more flavorful after 4 to 5 hours. This fish curry stays good for 2 days at room temperature and the more it gets old the more you could enjoy its intense flavor and taste. You could also store this curry in the refrigerator in an airtight container and it stays good for up to 4 days.
This Andhra Fish Pulusu tastes absolutely heavenly with a hot bowl of white rice and Meen Pollichathu. To serve it as a seafood platter combine this fish curry with white rice, Fish Biryani, and Fish Fry. And it also pairs perfectly well with Appam, Roti, idiyappam, and parotta.
You could also find similar recipes below and more at Seafood Recipes.
If you are looking for more seafood recipes from fish to prawns and from side dishes to main dishes, you can take a look at this collection of Indian Seafood Recipes from this blog in one place. Take a peek!
Are you looking for more recipes from Andhra cuisine? then check out these Andhra Recipes.
Chepala Pulusu video
I have also shared a detailed video of the Chepala Pulusu recipe that I hope will help you to make a tasty fish curry at home. For a quick reference, you could also find this recipe in story format.
Chepala Pulusu | Fish Pulusu | Andhra Fish Curry
- 8 slice Fish, tilapia
- 0.55 lb Pearl Onion, sliced
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 3 Green Chili, chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- 1½ tsp Chili Powder
- 3 tsp Coriander Powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt, as needed
- ¼ cup Oil, sesame
- ¼ cup Tamarind Juice, diluted from 1 tsp Tamarind paste or 2 tsp Tamarind Sauce
- 2 cups Water
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Mustard Seeds
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 2 tsp Poppy Seeds
- ½ tsp Peppercorn
To Prepare paste for Fish Pulusu/curry
- In a pan with medium heat, add mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, poppy seeds, peppercorn, and saute until they turn aromatic
- Transfer it to a blender and add ¼ cup of water and grind them into a fine paste. Reserve it for later use
To Prepare Fish Pulusu/Chepala Pulusu
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add mustard seeds, fenugreek, and cumin seeds. Allow them to sizzle
- Add onions, green chili, curry leaves, and saute until the onions turn soft
- Now add the ginger-garlic paste and saute until it turns aromatic
- Add tomatoes and saute until they turn mushy
- Add chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt, and give a good mix
- Now add water, ground masala paste, and give a nice mix
- Allow the seasoned water to boil for 5 minutes
- Now add the fishes pieces one by one and gently immerse them in the gravy
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the fish for 5 minutes
- Open the lid and pour the tamarind water or tamarind sauce and give a gentle mix
- Simmer the heat and let the fish gravy leave oil from its sides and now the Andhra fish curry is ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious tangy Chepala/fish Pulusu with hot white rice, appam, parotta, or Idiyappam
- Preparation of Fish Pulusu masala is one of the main steps that deliver a unique taste and flavor to this dish. So make sure to roast the spices in medium heat to achieve the best results
- I have used tilapia for making this fish pulusu but it can be prepared with any freshwater fishes
- I have used sesame oil to make this curry and I would recommend the same to enjoy the authentic taste and flavor
- This fish pulusu tastes great when it is consumed after 4 to 5 hours or even better the next day
- This Chepala Pulusu can be served with white rice, appam, roti, idiyappam, and similar dishes alike
Chepala/Fish Pulusu is a tasty and spicy South Indian Seafood dish authentic to Andhra Cuisine. It is usually prepared with freshly ground masala, Indian spices, tamarind water, and freshwater fish. This Fish pulusu is typically served for lunch and dinner along with white rice, appam, roti, parotta, idiyappam, and similar dishes.
Fishes like tilapia, catfish, seabass, striped bass, snappers, salmon, trout, and other freshwater fishes are best for the pulusu recipes. And it also suits other Indian curry recipes as well.
Andhra fish pulusu recipe is traditionally spicy dish but you could always adjust the spice level according to your family needs. To make it less spicy reduce the peppercorn and green chili quantity as per your preferences.
Andhra fish curry tastes great with white rice but it also tastes delicious with appam, parotta, idiyappam, roti and similar dishes.
Andhra fish/Chepala pulusu stays good for up to 2 days at room temperature. You could also store it in the refrigerator in a air tight container for up to 4 days.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.