Tamarind claypot fish recipe

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The southwestern coastal town of Ambalangoda first made this dish famous. The tamarind both imparts its characteristic sharp taste and also acts as a preservative. Even in Sri Lanka’s heat and humidity, an ambulthiyal can keep for up to a week. Serve with plain rice.


  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp soaked in
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 lb (500 g) tuna or other firm fish
  • 1 lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper and Salt to taste
  • ½ cup (125 ml) water 6 cloves
  • 1 slice of ginger
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
How to Make It
  1. Soak the tamarind pulp in 4 tablespoons water, stir and strain, discarding any solids.
  2. Cut the fish into eight pieces, wash them well with the lime juice and arrange the pieces in a single layer in a pan.
  3. Blend the tamarind water, ground red pepper, pepper, salt, and a little water to a paste. Mix this paste with the fish in the pan, coating each piece thoroughly. Add the cloves, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, and the water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until all the gravy has reduced and the fish pieces are quite dry, about 15 minutes.

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