So the mother has been having this nagging stomach ache and she’s decided to go traditional in her medicine. The Alappuzha girl decided to treat her stomach with a nice tangy fish curry. So here we go; a real quick and tangy fish curry. Alleppey style!
Pink Perch/ Rani fish is the one that has mom’s culinary attention today.
www.pescafresh.com says: The Rani fish or the Pink Perch is a sought after fish not only for sporting but also for its taste. It is a wonderful dish to serve in any occasion and taste best when pan-fried. The Perch is cooked when its meat turns opaque but is still moist on the inside. Being a lighter food, it is tender and rich in DHA which is the highest in any freshwater fish. Quite naturally, it is healthy and nourishing for the brain. Besides, it contains high-quality protein but has low fat contents.
You will need:
Madras onion/ shallots
Red Chilli Powder
Fenugreek seeds Powder
Black Pepper Powder
Garcinia Cambogia (Kudampuli)
Wash the fish well. If needed, scrub wash the fish with rock salt. Keep it aside to drain out any water that may remain.
Take the peeled ginger, garlic cloves and shallots in a manual grinder and crush well. You can also use the electric mixer/ grinder but make sure that the ingredients are only crushed minutely and do not become a paste.
Take coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder in a small pan and dry roast. (If any of these spices were dry roasted before grinding into a powder, skip re-dry roasting.)
Put the dry roasted powders into the wet jar of your electronic mixie, add some water and wet grind it into a thick paste. (Ref.: should be thicker than dosa batter). Keep aside.
In the next step use thick bottomed earthenware (called chatti in Kerala) and original coconut oil for the authentic taste. You can also use your aluminium or nonstick pans but the taste of Kerala also lies in its mud 😉
Heat the earthenware and add few teaspoons of coconut oil. (Though the use of the oil is to splutter the mustard seeds and saute the crushed ingredients, the mother recommends that coconut oil be added a bit extravagantly as it adds to the taste.
When the oil is hot enough, add few mustard seeds and as the seeds start sputtering, add a few twigs of curry leaves (pealed.) Add the crushed mixture of ginger, garlic and shallots.
Add slit green chillies and curry leaves twigs. Let it cook and turn brown on low flame. Keep stirring with a spoon. (Because if you have used less oil, ginger and garlic can stick to the pan.)
Once the shallot pieces start turning a nice golden brown, add Garcinia Cambogia (Kudampuli). If it isn’t broken into thin vertical pieces, do so before adding to the pan.
Now pour the wet grinded mixture of coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder into the pan. Mix it well with the fried mixture and keep stirring. Take care not to burn it, so keep stirring. We need to take it to the point where the mixture starts leaving oil.
Once the mixture starts leaving oil, you can add little water to the mixture if you like your fish curry to be a little runny. (Only little, as too much water will spoil the consistency and taste. Boiling to reduce the water content affects the taste, so try and add water considering that it needs to boil only till the fish cooks.)
Stir the mixture. Add little fenugreek seeds powder and a pinch of Asafoetida powder. Add salt and bring it to boil. Stir well.
Once the mixture starts boiling, add the fish pieces. Close the vessel with a lid. Let the fish cook well, imbibing all the aroma and taste of the added spices. Keep the spoon aside now. Do not stir now onwards to avoid breaking the fish pieces.
Pink Perch is a fish with soft meat and hence does not take too long to cook. Hold the vessel on the edges and shake lightly, so the pieces don’t stick to the pan and cook well in the curry.
Once the fish is cooked and you are satisfied with the consistency of the curry, turn off the flame. Add black pepper, some more fresh curry leaves and round off with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Hold the vessel on the edges and shake lightly.
We alaphuza natives also call this ‘Pulimulag Meen Curry’. If you try out this recipe, do let me know in the comments how it turned out. Meanwhile, it is rice and this tangy-spicy fish curry tonight for dinner 🙂