I was a very fussy eater as a child and lunch was something I never enjoyed eating because we almost always had rice and curries, something that never really impressed me all through my childhood. Though I did like some of my mom’s vegetarian items, what I dreaded most was ‘Fish’. I completely detested fish curries and just ate very few varieties when fried. To worsen my plight, fish curries were my dad’s favourite item and my mom kept making it every now and then and the worst part; there was no saying a ‘no’ to any item on the table!!!
All of this changed with 5 years of hostel life…. Everything I detested became close to my heart and it didn’t take much effort at all!! I remember the days when I used rush home for the weekends after 5 days of starvation and homesickness. Anything my mom made was a treasure be it even bitter gourd. Seriously, I even began enjoying bitter gourd thoran (a traditional Kerala style dry curry). Food never tasted better!!!
It was like rediscovering my mom’s cooking and I began enjoying homemade food more than ever.
Obviously, fish curries too began to taste different for me. I am sure my mom must have had a hearty laugh seeing me gobble down fish curry and rice like some refugee!! She’s really had a tough time forcing it down my throat when I was a childJ
After marriage this was one of the first items that I learned to prepare well because my husband is a fish lover.
Mom makes fish curries in quite a simple way but the taste is awesome and so here goes the recipe.
FISH CURRY (KERALA STYLE)
Fish any variety- 1 kg cut and cleaned (use vinegar or lime to get the fishy smell off)
Coconut milk – milk from 1 coconut (I prefer using freshly squeezed coconut milk. But you can use the coconut milk powder too. But I recommend the fresh milk as the taste enhancement is incomparable!!) if you are using coconut milk powder, mix 3 tbsp of powder with ¾ glass water.
Chilly powder- 2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 ¾ tsp
Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
Chillies slit – 3
Ginger crushed- 3 inch long
Curry leaves- a handful
Small onion- 3-4 sliced
Gamboges ( kudam puli) – 2 pieces
Raw mango – 1 small cut into long pieces
Use a clay pot if you have one. This kind of Fish curry tastes best in clay pots, but its okay if you don’t have it, you may use any vessel of choice.
First, pour the coconut milk into a blender, add all the powders (chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder) along with it and blend for a minute or two.
Put the chillies, ginger, gamboges and raw mangoes into the pot and place it on the fire. Now pour the blended coconut milk into the pot and let it boil for around 5 minutes.
Once the coconut milk starts boiling, slowly put the fish pieces one by one into this gravy. Lower the flame, place the lid on the pot and let the fish cook. After around 5 mins remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5 – 10 mins or until the gravy starts getting thick. Do not use a spoon to stir or you may break the fish pieces.
Instead, just lift the vessel and rotate it slowly so that you don’t risk burning the gravy.
Take a small wok and pour around 2 tbsp of oil into it. Once hot, put the sliced onion pieces and fry till golden brown; put the curry leaves along with it.
Once the curry is cooked, take it off the flame and garnish it with the fried onions and curry leaves.
You can enjoy this with hot steaming rice or tapioca.