Karuvadu Fry

Karuvado Fry

My Tamil food mentor  cooked this dish while I hovered over her shoulder and guessed at the Amercanized quantities (teaspoons and such). I’ve reproduced it successfully multiple times now at my fiance’s passionate requests. Karuvado fry is an essential Tamil side dish. My fiance loves karuvado fry, and our dog hates the smell of it cooking (you’ll want to crack a window).

Karuvado is an instant rice transformation…one minute you have rice, the next you have a meal. You know the little packets you mix with water to create a new drink, that is like Karuvado fry (I use dried anchovies from the Asian grocery stores). You eat this fry with yogurt mixed with rice. As Hostess Twinkies have gone bankrupt, I’d place this in the running for food that can survive post-apocalyptic environments (a real picnic dish). It has a great spicy flavor, and is very unhealthy for you–which of course means it tastes excellent.

Let’s skip the fore play, because this dish takes approximately an hour to cook!


Karuvadu Fry
(Specialty ingredients: Sambhar Powder, Dried Anchovies)

  • Soak 1 bag of dried anchovies in cold water for 15 minutes.
  • Afterward, remove the head and guts from the body (throw away).
  • Wash the fish bodies twice more, the water should be somewhat clear.
  • Drain the water, and squeeze away any excess which should help reduce the splatter when frying.
  • I would recommend chopping the fish at this point, it provides a better texture than keeping the fish whole.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil on a medium heat, once oil is hot, add:

  • Anchovies
  • 1 tsp of turmeric

Fry well (approximately 3-5 minutes), add:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

Fry until well-cooked (5-10 minutes), adding extra oil if anything begins sticking. Add:

  • 1/2 tsp of Cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1, 15oz  can of petite diced tomatoes (or two ripe and finely diced tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoon Sambhar powder (I prefer to use my homemade powder, but store-bought is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Cook approximately 15-20 minutes, until almost all of the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally. Add more oil as necessary to prevent sticking.

Enjoy about a spoonful with white rice and as much yogurt as you prefer.

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