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Hello, my lovelies!!!! I am baaaaaack!!!! Ok, I do need to apologize for the extremely long hiatus...and no, I am not going to make any exc...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mommy's fish curry!

Hello all! Last evening I was wondering what to cook next, when I realised that since I had cooked one chicken and one veg dish, I would go the full circle and complete it with...a fish recipe! I am from a place called Kollam in Kerala. For my non Indian friends, Kerala is a state in India, and is divided into different districts. Kollam is towards the south. My husband is from a place called Cochin, which is about 3 hours away from us. In different part of Kerala, fish curry is made in different ways. In Cochin for instance, coconut milk plays a major factor in fish curries. On our side, we have a speciality called "soup curry". As the name suggests, it looks like soup and is made with raw mango as the base. The curry that I am going to make today though is neither of the 2. This curry made me miss my mom even more than usual. she used to make this at home and serve it with rice and "moru kachiyathu". Now that, my friends, in English, is nothing but buttermilk :). Enough with the speech already....this curry is dedicated to, you guessed it, mommy dearest....

  • Fish fillets- 1/2 kilo- cleaned thoroughly with salt, vinegar and lime juice. (Refer notes below).
  • 1/2 of 1 medium sized onion or 8 shallots (small onions). (Refer notes below).
  • 1/4 piece of ginger crushed.
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed.
  • 3-4 green chilies crushed. (Refer notes below).
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds.
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds.
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  •  2 tablespoons red chilly powder.
  • 4 lime size balls tamarind (kokum) soaked in salt water (Refer notes below).
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons oil (Refer notes below).
  • Curry leaves - As much as you like.
  • 1/2 cup boiling water.
  • Salt to taste
  • In a quarter cup of hot salt water, soak tamarind and set aside. Do this before you start cleaning the fish and chopping, so that all the juice gets extracted from the tamarind.
  • In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Once hot, splutter mustard seeds.
  • Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the fenugreek seeds and wait for them to pop. Bear in mind that the heat should not be too high as the fenugreek seeds get burnt easily, leaving the curry with a bitter taste.
  • Now add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and the onions in that order. Simultaneously, in another smaller frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil, vinegar, tamarind pulp, curry leaves and 3 tablespoons of water. leave this to boil.
  • In a small bowl, mix turmeric powder and red chilly powder with enough water to make a paste. Add this to the onion mixture in the main pan once the raw smell disappears.
  • Pour in a little extra water in the bowl to ensure that none of the powder paste goes to waste and add this to the main pan. Saute till the raw smell of the powders disappears.
  • To this, add the boiling tamarind pulp mixture from the frying pan. Add salt to taste.
  • Finally, add the cleaned fish fillets and add sufficient water to cook the fish. This would be approx 1/2 a cup.
  • Add curry leaves to this, mix and close the pan for approx 12-15 minutes. This will give the fish enough time to cook and the gravy to thicken a bit.
  • Pour a tablespoon of oil as a final garnish.
Tada, mommy's fish curry is ready!!!

  • Mom's always told me that for a fish curry, never use big onions, shallots are the best. However, here in Canada, I had to make do with the normal onion. Irrespective, the fish curry tasted awesome, trust me. I used only half the onion, sliced it into fine pieces and crushed it in my mortar and pestle.
  • For non Indians who are not familiar with tamarind, it's a sour fruit that's used in most Kerala fish curry dishes. You can also buy tamarind paste at the local grocery store. In that case, you can use approx a tablespoon and a half for this curry. I love my curry to have the extra tangy taste, which is why I add loads of tamarind.
  • When cleaning fish, mix hot water with vinegar and salt. In the final rinse, pour vinegar and salt and do not wash this away. This ensures your fish does not smell in the curry, in fact it glistens! My mom also adds lemon juice while cleaning fish, which is equally good.
  • Green chilies are normally slit in half for a fish curry. However, i found something called green chilly paste at one of the local grocery stores here, which is just a mix of green chilies, salt and water.This is awesome!
  • Using oil depends on each person. i ave used 4 tablespoons of oil in total for this dish which is not an exorbitant amount. Also, most Kerala dishes use coconut oil. However, both A (hubby) and i are not big fans of the after taste it gives, so I used sunflower oil ,and it tasted great!
  • Last, but definitely not the least, fish curry with tamarind tastes even better the next day, so i cant wait to get home and dig in some more.
So there we are! Oh wait, almost forgot..the photos, silly me!
Closeup of my curry
So, I hope you try this out and have as much fun cooking it (and eating it!) as much as I did. Do leave behind your comments and suggestions. Constructive criticism is always welcome! Take care and God bless!

BTW, am sending this awesome curry to  the Kerala Kitchen  for their May event,  Kerala Kitchen cooking event! Am also sending this over to Srav's Culinary Concepts  for her Cooking Concepts event mentioned below! Wish me luck!!


  1. Hi Neetu, thanks a lot for sending this delicious dish to KK event..I look forward to getting more entries from you..keep them coming! following you too:-)

  2. Wonderful fish curry !! looks so appealing and delicious one !! Thanks for linking to the event !! Appreciate it !!

    Ongoing event CC:Splash Into Summer


Hi there! Thank u for taking the time to drop by and leave a note. It's people like you who make me want to improve my cooking skills more and increase my passion for cooking! Please ensure that you dont leave behind comments that are hurtful or inappropriate. Remember, constructive criticism is always appreciated, not destructive! Have a nice day and God bless!

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