Be My Guest – Chepala Pulusu/ Andhra Fish Curry

PinAs I was scheduling the last laddoo post, I was in for a surprise. For the Recipe Swap, I was assigned Usha’s blog, and the same blogger is gracing my space this month as the guest! What a lovely coincidence! 🙂 I have been harassing Usha (if that’s an apt word!) for a guest post since months now. Somehow I didn’t feel like leaving her alone. Finally she is on my blog… 🙂


I started interacting with Usha when I joined the Blogging Marathon. We may not have participated in too many mutual weeks, but I totally love her blog. It has lovely clicks and some very simple recipes, captured in a very attractive manner. I have already written about her blog in my last post, so I won’t be mentioning more. 🙂


I guess this is my first fish recipe provided by a guest to my blog. I love fish as such but my family is very dicey with it. Sometimes they love fish curry, but most of the time, they put up an “ugh” face. How much I hate them when they do that! 😕 However, my umma and sister are fish fans. They can have fish any time of the day. Actually, when I saw this curry in my mail box, I suddenly remembered my sister. I have to make sure she sees this post and cooks it for herself. Hehe… Let’s go off to Usha’s recipe… and don’t you agree how pretty her clicks look! 🙂




Hi, I am Usha and blog at MySpicyKitchen.  I am originally from Hyderabad, India and live in New York.  MySpicyKitchen was born 11 years ago to kill boredom and also to document recipes I try at home.  I usually cook Indian food at home but enjoy other cuisines as well.  I love baking though I do not bake as much as I would love to, as there are no takers for bakes at home.  Coincidentally, baking is how I first came across Rafeeda’s blog.  Long time ago, she and I were part of a baking group.  She often pick delicious bakes for the group to try.  She also has a wonderful array of recipes on her blog!


Rafeeda approached me a year ago to do a guest post and I immediately accepted.  I had 3-4 months notice and was excited to do the guest post.  However, life had other plans and I had to put blogging on hold for sometime due to personal reasons.  A year later, I am finally fulfilling what I committed to a year ago!  Thanks a lot Rafeeda, for understanding and not removing from your guest list!


This is my first guest post and I was clueless on what to post.  After lot of going back and forth, I finalized the recipe.  Since this is my first guest post, I wanted to cook something native to my cuisine and picked fish pulusu or chepala pulusu.  Pulusu is a tangy gravy from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.  Vegetables, eggs and fish are common star ingredients for pulusu and today it is fish.

Fish Pulusu ~ Chepala Pulusu Recipe
1 lbs Tilapia fillet, cut into 2- 3” pieces
1 tsp. Chili Powder
¾ tsp. Salt
Onion Paste
1 tbsp. Oil
½ big Onion or ½ cup chopped Onion
¾ tsp. Cumin
¾ tsp. Fenugreek Powder (store bought) or ⅓ – ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp. Oil
6-8 Curry Leaves
½ big Onion sliced
1 – 1 ½ tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
3 Green Chilies, slit
3 tsp. Coriander Powder
1 tsp. Chili Powder, adjust to heat tolerance level
½ tsp. Salt, adjust to taste
Turmeric Powder
2 tbsp. Yogurt
3 tbsp. Tamarind Paste
2 – 2 ½ cups Water
¼ tsp. Fenugreek Powder
Pinch of Garam Masala, optional and I usually skip it

Marination – marinate fish with chili powder and salt.  Marinate for 15 – 20 minutes or overnight.  It is not a must but I prefer marinating.

Onion paste – heat oil, add cumin followed by onions and saute for a minute or two. Add fenugreek powder  and continue sautéing until onion is brown. Let cool and grind to paste.  If using fenugreek seeds, add along with cumin.

Pulusu – Heat oil in a pan, add curry leaves and let leaves change color.  Add onions and saute until onions are soft.

Throw in ginger garlic paste, green chilies and saute until chilies are lightly roasted and raw smell of ginger dissipates.

Take ¼ or ⅓ of the onion paste, add to above mixture and roast until oil separates.

Add coriander powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric and give a good stir.

Reduce the flame to low, add yogurt and stir vigorously until it blends into the onion mixtures. Continue frying until oil separates from the sides and yogurt thickens.

Add tamarind paste and give a good stir.  Add water, mix well and bring it to a boil. If using tamarind, add extracted juice.

Once the pulusu comes to a boil, add remaining onion paste, fenugreek powder, mix and boil fro few minutes.

Drop  fish into boiling pulusu and stir gently taking care not to break the fish pieces.  Do not stir it too often as fish tends to fall apart as it cooks.

Cover and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling for 3-5 minutes or  until fish is cooked.

At this point taste the gravy and adjust seasoning to taste.  Add a pinch of garam masala.

If the gravy is thin, partly cover the pan and simmer until desired consistency is reached. However, do not overcook as the fish could become dry and tasteless.

Serve with rice. It tastes better the next day or at least 4-5 hours after cooking, as the flavors blend in.


Tamarind – Adjust tamarind paste to taste and the quantity varies depending on the degree of tang it has.  I used homemade tamarind paste.

If using tamarind, soak about ¼ cup loosely packed tamarind in water and extract the juice.  Tanginess of tamarind varies from tamarind tree to tree.  Use less/more tamarind depending on the tanginess of the fruit and how tangy you want the pulusu.

Gravy –  we tend to eat less pulusu and more pieces.  Hence, adjust quantity of pulusu to fish depending on your family’s preference.  If one eats more gravy and fewer pieces, use ¾ lb fish for the above recipe.

Fish – Catfish works well in this recipe or use any fish that you prefer for Indian curries.

Leftovers – Pulusu taste better the next day or at least 4-5 hours after it s prepared. Hence cook it few hours or a day before it is served.

I would have loved to stretch my hands and have that bowl of rice and pulusu all by myself! Surely it looks so delicious. I am just glad that Usha, you were able to join in my blog at least at the last moment, I really didn’t mind the wait. 🙂
Hope all of you have a wonderful week ahead… 🙂

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Rafeeda, what a coincidence, right? Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be your guest and thank you so much for the lovely intro! Looking forward to seeing lot more guests here and your yummy recipes as well!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Yes Usha! I was also literally shocked when I got your blog to try and the dates were just up and down each other! It is my pleasure hosting you here…

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