A typical Kuttanadan preparation that tastes best with a mild flavoured fresh fish .Back home this curry is usually made with karimeen/Perl spot ,I used Tilapia this time and have tried it with rock fish, sea bass and sardines too. The idea is to have the fish shine through since the whole dish is not complicated with addition of any masalas.It is a simple dish that tastes as good/fresh as the fish you use.Some people add thick coconut milk at the end , I prefer it without the coconut milk.
For me this dish brings back memories of my maternal grandmother and our vacations during school days.
- Fish - clean,skin and cut into medium pieces(2 whole medium sized tilapia),
- Kudam puli/cocum soaked in water - to taste
- shallots, ginger, garlic and dry red chilly - crushed 1.5 cups(lots).
- Green chilies slit in the middle - 6 or 7
- Curry leaves - 2 springs
- Methi/fenugreek seeds - 1/4'th tsp
- turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Coconut oil - 1 tsp.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan - add the methi seeds and when it splutters add in the crushed shallots, ginger,garlic and dry red chilly and the Green chillies and turmeric powder.
Sauté for 5 minutes .
Pour in the Cocum water and add more water as needed to cover fish pieces and bring this to a boil .
Add salt and taste for the balance of salt,spice and sourness.
Add the fish pieces into the boiling curry and cook until the gravy is reduced - there should be some gravy but not too watery.
After you turn off the flame add in the curry leaves and coconut oil and keep the curry covered for flavors to blend.
This curry tastes better as it sits for a day and the flavours blend.