Chennai is known as the treasure trove of seafood. The city is famous because of its vibrant coastal culture and traditions. Chennai benefits from its strategic coastal location, providing convenient access to the Bay of Bengal. This proximity allows for the availability of fresh and high-quality seafood catch. From juicy prawns to traditional curries, they have got it all! Immerse yourself in an excellent experience by relishing their delicacies. Here’s a list of the top 20 seafood items you can’t miss along the coast in Chennai:
One of the most famous seafood dishes is fried anchovies or Nethili fry tossed in a spicy masala, commonly spicy 65 masalas. You can top the dish with a zesty sprinkle of lime. Then shallow fry the marinated fish until they turn crispy and golden brown. The frying process gives the fish a delightful crunch. Nethili fry is commonly served as an appetizer or as a side dish alongside rice, sambar, or rasam.
2.Mango Fish Curry
Mango fish curry is a quintessential delicacy in Chennai. It is a curry made with onion, tomato, tamarind, and raw mango. You can make this curry using sea bass, salmon, kingfish, or snapper. It has a sour and tangy taste. The dish needs to be kept for a while after it is made for the best taste. The curry is best served and complemented with rice or dosa.
This dish is a delightful combination of flavorful spices such as pepper, garlic from rasam podi, and the juicy crab. It’s best to use crab claws and remove them from the rasam before serving. Crab Rasam also has nutritional values like low calorie, fat, and omega-3 fatty acids. Crab Rasam is also a good remedy for colds and coughs.
Meen Kozhambu is a specialty in South India, particularly Chennai, made in a spicy, tangy tamarind base. You can also cook it in a Chettinad and Malabar-style Coconut gravy. You can use fish like Pomfret, Snapper, Mackerel, Salmon, or Sea Bass fillets to make the curry. You can also use smaller varieties like sardines or anchovies and serve with rice or dosa.
Rooted in the origins of South India, the creamy base of Fish Moilee is lightly spiced with coconut milk gravy. The dish tastes best when served with steamed rice, spaghetti, or bread variations. There’s a legend behind the dish’s name, which says that the Kerala fish curries were spicy for the Portuguese during their reign, so a woman named “Molly” made the taste milder by adding coconut milk, leading to the dish name after her.
Koonthal or Kanava fish is a kind of squid eaten in the coastal regions of India. It is also known as Kadamba in Tamil Nadu. It is usually either deep-fried or roasted. Many people think of squid as fish due to its aquatic habitat. However, it is not a fish. Squid meat is white and firm. It has a sweet, nutty, and mild flavour. Besides fry, it is also prepared in the form of gravy and even in dishes like Risotto, Pepper Squid, and Sushis.
Clam is also another bivalve mollusk. In the Konkan region, clams cook curries and side dishes. In Kerala, people widely consume Clams in the form of curry prepared with green coconut masala and eat it with rice. Consumption of Clam is associated with many health benefits.
While stuffed squid is not a traditional dish in Chennai, various eateries in Chennai offer this goan delicacy, which has led to its popularity in South India. The restaurants prepare a stuffing with the tentacles of the squids and the masala and then stuff it into the squids. They then fry the squids with a little recheado masala.
Originally, Shrimp Scampi is an Italian dish but has gained popularity in Chennai with a different rendition offered in restaurants. This fusion includes preparing the shrimp with local spices like turmeric, chilli powder, and coriander before cooking them in a buttery garlic sauce infused with curry leaves and mustard seeds.
South Indians make Masala Crab by preparing a thick gravy of coconut, along with onions, ginger garlic paste, and other spices. The masala crab can also be prepared in a tomato-based sauce. We garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Like most seafood, crabs are also known for their ability to help remedy a cold. It is advisable to use smaller crabs as they are more tender and juicier.
11.Indian Style Lobster
You can enjoy a succulent lobster at Chennai’s famous seafood eatery – The Marina. The blend of aromatic spices and the buttery texture is mouth-watering. The best way to cook and enjoy the lobster is in a thick creamy gravy prepared with hung curd and khoya.
Fish Cutlet, also known as Fish Cakes, is coated in spices, eggs, and breadcrumbs and then deep fried till it’s the perfect golden brown colour. They are the perfect appetizer that is quick to make. The texture is so wonderful – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You can use fish like kingfish, salmon, or mackerel.
Kadhai Prawn is a popular seafood delicacy because of its aromatic kadhai masala. The kadhai masala is prepared by roasting a combination of spices and then cooking it in a thick and tangy tomato-based gravy. The dish tastes best when the spice level is mild to high. Kadhai prawn is often garnished with fresh coriander leaves and served hot with naan or rice
Spicy mackerel is commonly found in the Indian Ocean and is famous for its versatility, richness, and high nutritional value. It’s an excellent source of protein, mega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. Consistently including Indian Mackerel fish in your diet can improve cardiovascular well-being, enhance cognitive function, and mitigate bodily inflammation. Due to its versatility, you have the option to cook it in multiple ways such as grilling, baking, frying, or even steaming. Additionally, you can marinate it with various spices and herbs to enhance its flavor. It is best to serve the fish with rice, mixed veggies, and roti.
15.Viral Fish Fry
Viral fish is a popular fish-based dish prepared with curry leaves and tamarind and can be well complemented with sambar, dal, or rasam with rice. The fish is also known as Murrel, Varuval, or the ‘river’ fish, which is mild, firm, and flaky. The Murrel fish belongs to the “snakehead” family of Channidae and has several health benefits for your skin, hair, and eyes and boosts brain development.
16.Butter Garlic Crab
Initially inspired by butter garlic prawns in Goan beach shacks, this variation, with crab meat, is a popular South Indian delicacy. To mitigate the strong smell of the crab, it is seasoned with a subtle touch of turmeric and included in the sauce. The dish’s creamy consistency, the richness of butter, and the aroma of garlic make it a must-have. The best way to serve the dish is with pasta or freshly baked garlic bread.
17.Fish Curry Rice
The fish curry rice is another staple for South Indians. You can’t miss this delicacy when you’re in Chennai. Fish curry rice is typically served with steamed rice, which helps to balance the spiciness of the curry. It is common to accompany it with side dishes such as fish fry, papad, and various vegetable curries or pickles.
In chilli prawns, the prawns are marinated in spices, followed by a stir fry in onions, garlic, and green chillies to enhance the spice. Once the prawns become tender, we cook them in a tangy sauce. This dish is often served as an appetizer or enjoyed with rice or roti. The prawns are cooked until they turn tender and are coated in a spicy and tangy sauce. The dish is often garnished with fresh coriander leaves and served hot as an appetizer or as a main course with rice or naan bread.
A classic Chettinad-style prawn Biryani is a popular South Indian dish that stands out for its unique blend of assorted spices and authentic Chettinad flavors. It is infused with the distinct taste of black pepper, shallots, and coconut. Typically served with raita, Chettinad style Prawn Biryani is a complete and wholesome meal.
Tandoori Fish is a favorite among grilled fish enthusiasts. We marinate it with yogurt and tandoori masala, and it can be either pan-grilled or baked to achieve a smoky flavor. The tandoori masala is prepared using spices such as chili powder, cumin, turmeric, chaat masala, tandoori masala, and lime juice.