My article that first appeared in iDiva today.
Recipe: Delectable Mangalorean Fish Curry
I hail from Mangalore, a coastal city in Karnataka – the very mention of which reminds you of the sea breeze, sands and coastal food. Mangalore reminds me of love, home cooked food, the comfort of my parents’ retirement home and peaceful surroundings cut off from the hustle-bustle of the big city.
Living with my mum in Mumbai accustomed me to a particular kind of food. Since I didn’t learn all of her recipes, before marriage, I began to miss her signature fish curry. My dad, too, who is an exceptional cook cannot for the life of him imitate the way she makes the fish curry. He is however quick to compliment her every time she makes it saying no one can duplicate the precision with which she makes it.
My dad on the other hand is an expert at picking the freshest fish. Take him to any fish market and he will know a good fish from a bad one, just by looking at it. This is an art I would say which has been developed over several years of buying fish – in Mumbai and in Mangalore.
For making the fish curry taste delectable it is important that you select the right kind of fish. Let’s suppose you want to make a pomfret curry. Make sure the liquid that oozes out from behind the gills in milky white and not red. That’s the sign of a fresh pomfret and not something that has been on ice. Fresh fish is best for fish curries – stored fish is ok for fried dishes. The fish actually lends its flavour to the curry.
The sure shot way to make sure your fish is fresh is to consistently buy from the same fish monger or fisherwoman. Again here it is the relationship you build that seldom goes waste if you want fresh fish consistently. If not just make sure that the fish looks happy to you. Your gut can never go wrong if you are a regular fish-eater.
Here is the recipe for my mum’s fish curry. Even though I have given it to you (obviously learnt from her), I can bet that no one can actually make it like she does. But I am sure you will be able to make it YOUR best fish curry.
Clean and de-scale the fish. Ask the fisherwoman to make curry size pieces. Keep the fish head for the curry. It lends a distinct flavour to the curry.
2 fresh pomfrets (or 8 large slices)
½ onion medium sized (sliced)
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking
How to make the curry paste:
1 cup of grated coconut
5 Madras red chillies
2 Byadgi red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cummin seeds
4 pepper corns
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 clove of garlic
1 medium sized onion
10 gms tamarind
1. Wet grind all the ingredients for curry paste till it is smooth
2. Fry the sliced onion in vegetable oil till golden brown.
3. Add the curry paste to this with a little water to make the curry moderately thin. Add salt to this. Allow to boil
4. Add the fish pieces to the boiling gravy and allow the curry to boil for 5 -7 mins for the fish to cook.
The fish curry tastes best with red boiled rice which is typical of Mangalore and Goa and very healthy as well. If you aren’t too fond of rice, you can make the gravy a little thicker by reducing the water you add and enjoy it with chapattis or rotis.
When you make this fish curry, I can guarantee you that you won’t be fishing for compliments!
For more articles on Indian cooking visit the link on iDiva