Telangana style Chepala Pulusu | Fish Curry | How to Make Fish Curry

The Telangana Style Chepala Pulusu (Fish Sour Curry) is a very tasty curry with a subtle smoky flavor and a strong, sour, spicy and thick gravy.

There are a few differences between the Chepala Pulusu made in Andhra and Telangana. In the Telangana version of Chepala Pulusu, Tomatoes are not used. Dry Coconut, Khuskhus, Cinnamon, Cloves and roasted garlic are used and the sour gravy is cooked into a thick consistency.

The Telangana style Chepala Pulusu is high on Chilli and spiciness!!! The Pulusu is good to eat with not only rice but also with Idli, vada, Dosa etc.

You may also like this Recipe Fish Curry

Before you cook the Chepala Pulusu do look at the Tips. You’ll understand what kind of fish to use and how to cook the Pulusu. You’ll get to know why the Pulusu is better eaten the day after it is cooked; and how to keep the fish curry fresh for a longer time.

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• I have used Bochcha (Catla) fish fillets. You may use any fish of your choice and cook as per the method shown here

• Do not discard the fish head piece. It gives a lot of taste to the fish curry. Many people do not like to add it to the curry. Even if you do not relish eating the fish head, please understand that the Pulusu is tastier when the head piece is cooked with the gravy.

Sour content:

• Soak the tamarind in hot water to get pulp easily

• Use only pulp for this Chepala Pulusu. Do not take out thin juice of the tamarind. When the tamarind pulp is cooked slowly, and oil floats on top of the curry, it helps in storing the curry for longer time.


• If you take fish fillets weighing one Kg, you’ll find that 4 medium sized onions are sufficient.

• Fry the onions on a low flame slowly, stirring often. The onion will cook well on the inside, the skin will get burnt, and it will get a smoky flavor.

Some tips to get the best fish Pulusu:

• The Pulusu should boil over a low flame until the oil floats on top. Then, the pieces of fish will get firm and will not break. Also, the Pulusu will not go bad for about three days.

• Many people like to test if the fish is cooked by pricking the fish pieces with a fork. This may help you to see if the fish is cooked or not; but the curry will turn stale on the very second day.

• All of you know that Chepala Pulusu tastes better on the day after it is cooked, much more than on the day of cooking. This is because the fish pieces get time absorb the sourness of the tamarind well.

A few more tips at the end:

• I had ginger garlic paste with me and I marinated the fish at the beginning without frying the pieces. I suggest you fry the fish.

• I have kept the gravy of the Pulusu rather thick. Thick gravy of Chepala Pulusu is delicious when eaten hot and fresh. But the curry becomes thicker once it is cold. Thick gravy is good to eat with rice. But it is not suitable to be eaten with Idli, vada or Dosa. So, if you plan to eat it with Idli or Vada or Dosa, it is better to keep the gravy a little then!!!

Telangana style Chepala Pulusu | Fish Curry | How to Make Fish Curry - Recipe Video

Telangana style Chepala Pulusu | Fish Curry | How to Make Fish Curry

| nonvegetarian
  • Prep Time 1 min
  • Soaking Time 30 mins
  • Cook Time 45 mins
  • Resting Time 1 hr
  • Total Time 2 hrs 16 mins
  • Servings 6


  • For the fish marinate:
  • 1 Kg Fish Pieces
  • 1/2 tbsp Turmeric (Haldi)
  • Salt (As per tatste)
  • 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Pulusu Powder:
  • 1 tbsp Fenugreek (Methi seeds)
  • 1 tbsp Cumin (zeera)
  • 2 tbsp Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya)
  • 4 Cardamom (Ilaichi)
  • 5-6 Cloves (Laung)
  • 1.5 Inch Cinnamon stick (Dalchini)
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds (Khuskhus)
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Coconut
  • 2 Pinches Carrom Seeds (Vaamu/Ajwain)
  • 1/2 tbsp Pepper Corn
  • For the sour gravy (Pulusu):
  • 60 gms Tamarind
  • 4 Onion
  • 2.5 tbsp Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • 60 ml Oil
  • 1 litre Hot Water
  • 3 Sprigs Curry Leaves
  • Cinnamon Stick (Small Piece)
  • Kothmir (A little)


  1. Smear Ginger Garlic paste to the pieces of fish and keep aside. (I have used roasted Ginger Garlic Paste. You may fry the fish pieces in oil).
  2. Soak the Tamarind in hot water and squeeze out thick pulp
  3. Roast all the ingredients of Pulusu Powder except Khuskhus on a low flame. Keep stirring. After roasting turn off the flame, add the Khuskhus. The heat is enough to make the seeds splutter.
  4. Cool the mixture and grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.
  5. Dry roast the onions along with the skins on a direct flame. The onions will soften on the inside and the skin will get charred. Remove from the fire, peel the charred skins off and grind the onions to a fine paste with a little water.
  6. Mix the onion paste with the thick tamarind pulp along with Chilli Powder and salt.
  7. Heat oil in a Pan and fry curry leaves and Cinnamon stick. Now fry Ginger Garlic Paste here (since i have used roasted Ginger garlic paste to the fish in marination)
  8. Add the tamarind pulp-onion mixture into the fried seasoning. Without adding any water, let the mixture boil on medium flame, till oil floats to the top. Keep stirring all the time
  9. Once oil floats on top, add the Pulusu powder and 1 litre of water. Let the Pulusu boil for 5 minutes on high flame.
  10. When the gravy is boiling lower the fish pieces in, and let it cook till oil floats well on to the top. (Do not stir the pieces with a spoon or ladle, lest they should break).
  11. It took 25 minutes for the oil to float to the top when I was cooking. Sprinkle a little Coriander and take the curry off the stove. Let the Pulusu stand undisturbed for at least one hour for the fish to absorb the spices and sourness well. The Chepala Pulusu tastes even better if it is kept untouched overnight.

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