Being a coastal state, fish is an integral part of the meal in most Kerala homes. I have always liked fish fry better than fish curry. But this spicy fish curry, which is usually made in the southern part of Kerala, is now one of my favorites. Its interesting to see that there are small variations in the method of preparation depending on the regions that are geographically very close to each other.
After having this kind of fish curry in many homes, I was tempted to try it myself. And DD, coming from the southern part of Kerala, never found any similarity between what I make and what he was used to eating 😦 . Well, after my 3 trials went flop, I almost gave up. I thought I am never gonna get it right. That’s when I borrowed my mother-in-law’s recipe, which she graciously offered me 🙂 , and thought of giving it a last shot.
And voila! What a success 😀 I have never been happier with my fish curry experiment, so was with DD 😉 I have got compliments for this curry from all those who had it. Thanks to my MIL 🙂 . Now, there are couple of tips that you need to follow blind folded.
Tips: 1. Don’t stir the fish pieces once you put it in the gravy for cooking. I haven’t really understood the reason for it, but it makes a difference. The fish tastes better if you don’t stir it while cooking!!
2. Make the fish curry the previous day you plan to serve it. It tastes better the next day.
3. Use an earthen vessel/pot for preparing fish curry. It enhances the taste of the fish curry.
Fish(I used salmon) – 300 gms(apprx. 2 fillets)
Ginger – 1 inch
Garlic – 6-7 pods
Kodum Puli/Gambooge/Dried Kokum – 3-4 nos
(A variety of tamarind)
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 generous pinch
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Coconut oil – 5 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1.5 tsp)
1. Clean and cut the fish into small square pieces and keep aside.
2. In an earthen pot, heat coconut oil and add chopped(into small pieces) ginger and garlic.
3. Also add the curry leaves and the kodum puli. Let the ginger and garlic cook till it turns light brown/golden.
4. Keep in medium low heat and add red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder. The reason for using kashmiri red chilli powder is that it gives the color to the gravy and doesn’t make it too spicy.
5. Add fenugreek powder and asafoetida powder and stir for just few seconds. Don’t cook the spices for too long else it will burn and give a bitter taste.
6. Immediately add 2 cups of water(2.5 cups if you want more gravy) and add the required amount of salt. Increase the heat and when the water starts to boil, add the fish pieces.
7. Let the fish to cook in medium low flame. As I mentioned above, don’t stir the fish pieces using ladle/spoon. The fish will not burn or stick to the pan since you are cooking it in low heat.
8. Cook for about 7-8 mins(Salmon takes little longer to cook, about 10 mins). You would know that the fish curry is ready when the water thickens and just about covers the fish pieces.
Serve with rice or kappa vevichadu/puzhungiyathu(a popular tapioca dish in Kerala).