As the days grow shorter and the rains come in, we know that the salted fish season is going to start soon. These days, we can find several varieties of fresh fish in our villages, but the one that comes to mind when we think of dry fish is Karuvadu varuval (dry fish fry). This traditional dish is prepared with a particular ingredient that is grown only in the Western Ghats.

I am a foodie, I love cooking and I really love to eat good food. I live in a country that has a rich cultural heritage of excellent food. I decided to start a blog just to share my experience with food (and cooking). I will be updating on a regular basis.

Fish is a staple in Tamil Nadu, the southern Indian state with a large population of people who are vegetarian. However, when fish is eaten it is usually the more expensive karuvadu variety, which is not readily available in most of India. Accordingly, karuvadu varuval is a popular street food made from the karuvadu fish. It is prepared by dipping the fish in sambar, or lentil gravy, and marinating it in a mixture of spices and mustard oil. The fish is then fried in mustard oil and served with fresh fenugreek leaves.. Read more about small dry fish fry recipe and let us know what you think.

Because of its smell and flavor, dry fish fry (karuvadu varuval in Tamil, sukhi machi fry in Hindi) is not for everyone. But I like the flavor, and I’m accustomed to the scent. When my grandparents visited Chennai, my grandfather enjoyed going to the fish market first thing in the morning, and I was the one who used to accompany him. Because the market was not far away and it would be my school vacations, we always went for a stroll while chatting to each other. I used to cover my nose with my fingers as soon as I entered the fish market because I couldn’t stand the smell of the fish, particularly the dried fish, but now I’m accustomed to it and like going to markets.

Because it is marinated in sea salt (fish mongers massage the fresh fish with sea salt) and dried in the sun like pickles, dry fish (karuvadu or sukhi macchi) is extremely salty. We purchase and utilize a variety of dried fishes from fishmongers, such as anchovies (nethili meen in Tamil), king fish (vangaram meen), and ribbon fish (Vallai meen). It is not eaten like a fresh fish fry in our house; a few pieces of fish are plenty, and it is served with various side dishes like a pickle. Dry fish may be cooked and served with plain dal and rice. It is prepared without the use of salt or chilli. It’s a pretty straightforward and straightforward meal.

When we buy dry fish, we cook it in a variety of ways at home, including frying, creating khar (dry fish crushed with spices and combined with fried onions), and preparing dry fish curry. You may store it in the cupboard for many days or months, or you can keep it in the fridge if ants are present.

Time to prepare: 20 minutes (soaking time)

Time to cook: 10 minutes

South Indian cuisine

2 to 3 people

Mild spiciness


  • 6–7 pieces dry fish (vaala meen/ribbon fish)
  • 2 tbsp oil (or as needed)


  • First, wash the fish to remove any sand (dirt) or excess salt, then immerse the fish in water for about 20 minutes, then wash it again and set it aside.
  • You don’t want the oil to splatter on you when frying the dry fish in oil, so wipe it with tissue paper to remove/absorb the extra water.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil to a kadai or tava/frying pan. Place the fish in the hot oil and cook it. Turn the dried fish pieces after approximately 1 minute and continue to cook.
  • As you can see in the photo, the dried fish’s color changes from white to brown.
  • Cook thoroughly on both sides, turning the fish pieces halfway through. When the fish is done, turn it off. There’s no need to add salt or spice; just cook it as is.
  • Cook it on a medium heat setting.
  • If necessary, sprinkle some oil in between. Remove the chicken and set it aside on a dish after it has been thoroughly cooked on both sides.
  • The fish will not be tender like fresh fish after being fried; instead, it will be crispy or somewhat firm in texture. As a result, it is consumed in tiny amounts, similar to pickles; a small piece of dried fish is sufficient for one member; however, it may be eaten more if desired.
  • Serve with simple rice and dal as a side dish.


  • You may marinate the dried fish with a pinch of chilli powder if you like.
  • Dry king fish chunks may also be substituted.


The karuvadu is a popular dish in Tamil Nadu, made from dry fish, onions and coconut. It is usually served for New Year’s or other celebratory occasions, as a snack and as a side dish. Traditionally it is made by frying the fish in a small amount of oil first, then adding onions, spices and chillies and finally cooking it on low heat until it is dry.. Read more about vala karuvadu in english and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you dry fish for frying?

You should use a paper towel to pat the fish dry. Then, you should place it in a bowl and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap. Finally, you should put it on top of your stove and turn your burner on high heat.

How do you clean dried fish before cooking?

To clean dried fish, you can soak it in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes.

What is Karvad?

Karvad is a planet in the Star Wars universe.