Beyond Dosa: Southern Delights

Tasting platter at Zambar serves South Indian coastal cuisine

Tasting platter at Zambar

A Taste of the South at Home

Zambar, a restaurant in Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, is an exploration into South Indian coastal cuisine, highlighting the catch of the seas – prawns, fish and crab with authentic recipes from the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.

The dishes are a union between fresh seafood and pungent spices and ingredients including lime, tamarind, chilies, peppers and coconut milk.

So till you can  get to go and try Zambar yourself, here are two recipes for you from the chef to try at home.

Zambar -   Kodi Koora is one of the many South Indian coastal dishes served in Zambar in Ambiance Mall in New Delhi

Kodi Koora from Zambar

Kodi Koora


Chicken – 500 gms

Onions – 3-4 finely chopped

Green chilies – 5 to 6 (slit into two halves)

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Chili powder – 1 – 2 tb sp

Poppy seeds  – 3 to 4 tb sp

Cloves – 6

Cardamom – 3

Small cinnamon stick

Coriander seeds – 2 tb sp

Cashew nuts – 2 to 3 tb sp

Ginger – 1″ piece

Garlic – 3 pods


1. Grind poppy seeds, cloves, elaichi, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cashew nuts, ginger, and garlic to smooth paste.

2. Mix chicken with ground masala paste, chili powder, turmeric, and salt, leave aside for 15 mts.

3. Sautee chopped onions, a pinch  of turmeric, curry leaves, green chilies

4. Add chicken cubes and cook.

Meen Polichathu from Zambar

Meen  Polichathu


Fish (whole)                : Pomfret/Pearl Spot/Mackerel

Banana Leaf                : Large enough to wrap fish

For Marinade:

Chili Powder               : 3 tsps

Turmeric Powder        : ¼ tsp

Pepper Powder                        : ½ tsp

Ginger-Garlic Paste     : ¾ tsp

Lemon Juice                : 1 Tbsp

For Coating Gravy:

Red pearl Onions        : 1 cup finely Chopped

Ginger                         : 1Tbsp chopped

Green Chilies              : 4-6 chopped

Curry Leaves               : 1 sprig

Turmeric Powder        : Pinch

Chili Powder               : Pinch

Coconut Milk              : 4 Tbsps

Salt to taste


Make a paste of the Marinade ingredients. Make slits in the fish and apply paste. Leave for 2 hrs. Shallow fry, 2-3 minutes each side.

Sautee onions, Ginger, Green Chilies, Curry Leaves. Add turmeric & Chili powder. Roast for a while. Add coconut milk and salt to taste. Mix well.

Wilt the banana leaf over a low flame.

Put ½ the gravy in the center. Put fish over it. Pour the rest of the gravy over the fish. Wrap the fish well with the banana leaf.

Place in a flat non-stick pan. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.

Meen Polichathu, a fish dish at Zambar in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Meen Polichathu

Related Article:

Zambar – Celebrating South Indian Coastal Cuisine


About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

1 Comment

  1. Stuck in a jam once, we took a detour and discovered a South Indian Khoka just opposite Vasant Kunj DJB Collection Centre. Pressed for food we just dug in whatever he had.
    This is a must try. Have it in your car. The Sambhar and Chutney accompaniments are fresh and very yum.