Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tangy Fish Curry - Meen Kozhambu

I still haven't got to the stage where I can make the "man chatti meen kozhambu" the way it's made down south - this is usually made in an earthen vessel and has only tamarind as the base. Tastes exquisite the next day. Its a combination of the sesame oil, local fish flavour and addition of just the right amount of spices, cooked for just the right time.A little like these delicious vegetarian kozhambus which I got better at making, over time and with practice.

But I was really hankering for that kind of kozhambu and also having been told to increase my protein intake, so need to include fish as well in my diet. Since I couldn't risk the curry becoming very spicy (now that I am eating food which is a bit blander than our normal) I decided to add coconut milk to the kozhambu to finish it off and ensure the sourness and spice was tempered. It turned out really well and I loved the flavours of the fish, the tamarind and the coconut milk. I would have usually used seer fish (surmai or king mackerel) but this time I had sole at home, so thats what I used.

Tangy Fish Curry - Meen Kozhambu

Sole Fish  (Sear/King fish) - 350-400gms cut into 2" pieces
Tamarind extract - from 1 small lemon sized ball in 1.5 cups of water
Coconut Milk - 1 cup( I used fresh, canned is fine, but maybe a little lesser in quantity)

Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - pinch
Curry leaves - a handful
Onion - 1 medium sliced
Garlic - 3 cloves sliced
Green chillies - 2 slit

Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder - 1 /2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

1. Clean the fish, marinate with the turmeric powder and a little salt for about half an hour.
2. Heat the oil in a wide pan and add mustard seeds, when they pop, add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
3. Put in the sliced onions, garlic and green chillies and saute 4 minutes till onions are softened.
4. Add the red chilli powders, salt and tamarind extract and simmer for 10 minutes or till the raw smell goes away.
5. Add the fish pieces and coconut milk and simmer 8-10 minutes till the fish is just cooked, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
6. Serve with steamed rice.


Priya said...

Slurp, mouthwatering here, such a flavourful and inviting fish curry..

Shammi said...

Hi, I'm very new to cooking fish, so please bear with me. Are the fish pieces supposed to be deboned before you use them? or is it ok to use bone-in fish?

Miri said...

Hi Shammi, ask away- I had even more questions when I began cooking, not having grown up cooking fish ( or any meat fir that matter)
I used boneless fillets of fish ( you can buy them like that) so that's what I would recommend, but I do know that this kozhambu is traditionally made with the bone, so go ahead and use whatever pieces you are comfortable with.

shammi said...

Thanks Miri :) I'm vegetarian but I'm trying to get my husband to eat more fish and less meat - so that's why I'm on the lookout for simple recipes that I can make without worrying about undercooked fish!

Arch said...

I always add the coconut milk to my meen kozhambus too...gets too tangy for me otherwise...My mil's recipe is slightly different...she adds fennel seeds too and it gives the curry an awesome flavour..

vanzare auto said...

Hmmm i just love fish with curry. This recipe looks so good and i`m sure it is delicious, so i will give it a try. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Miri said...

Shammi- fish takes the least amount to cook, in fact it turns rubbery if you cook it for too long. So, I would take care not to overcook rather than undercook!

Miri said...

Arch- you're right, fennel is added to Kozhambus as well, but then the fenugreek isn't, according to my Mom- sort if an either-or with her for some reason. And I'm becoming my Mom as I grow older - sigh!

Miri said...

Btw, for simple fish recipes which are healthy- look at Jamie Oliver's website recipes- he has some really nice ones. I have made and posted one ( an adapted version) on my blog as well - it's baked fish on a bed of noodles.

Krithi's Kitchen said...

Simple and healthy kozhumbu... kashmiri chilli powder gives a lovely hue..
Event: Healing Foods - Banana

BongMom said...

Something about the kerala fish curries makes me want to have them right away.Sesame oil is important here ?