Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#26 Kerala Fish Curry with Gambooge

A fruit called Gambooge is used for preparing fish curries. It is called 'Kodum Puli' in Malayalam. The outer cover of the fruit is dried in the sun and being considered as a digestive aid, it is the essential ingredient of some traditional fish recipes in Kerala.

When I have a craving for this type of fish curry, I generally King Fish, Mackeral or even canned sardines in hot tomato sauce because of their nutritional value. 

A Traditional Clay/earthen Pot or "Meen Chatti" with a curvy base is used for authentic Kerala fish curries. The pots are either red or black in color.  If you prefer to use the Oval cans of Sardines in Hot Tomato Sauce, then you may add the fish at the end along with the tomato sauce. Of course, you always have the options of selecting any other fish of your choice. 

Fresh Mackeral-2
Sardines in Hot Tomato Sauce- 2 large cans
Kokum(Kodam Puli)-2 large pieces
Green Chillies-3
Ginger- 1" piece
Garlic- 4 cloves
Curry leaves- 4 sprigs
Coriander Powder- 1 tspn
Chilli Powder- 2 Tblspn
Paprika- 1 Tblspn
Whole Black Peppercorns-1/2 tspn
Methi Seeds(Uluva)- 1/4 tspn
Mustard Seeds-1/4 tspn
Haldi- 2 pinches.
Red chillies, Salt and Oil as Needed.

1. Clean the Mackeral inside and out. Remove the skin without bruising the flesh. wash well with salt and keep aside.
2. Soak the dry Kokum skins in 1/2 cup of cold water. Keep aside to soften.
3.In a food processor, crush well the shallots, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Keep aside.
4. In a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds, methi seeds (keep a pinch of seeds aside)and crush black pepper seperately and keep aside.
5. Place the Clay Pot (you may use a regular pan if you do not have Meen Chatti), on the fire and add some Oil to it.
6. Add a pinch of methi seeds from the 1/4 tspn and then the Red Chillies. WHen the seeds crackle, add the Shallot -ginger mixture from step 3.
7. Turn down the fire and add the Coriander powder, roast for a minute. Add Chilli Powder and saute for a minute.
8. Add 1 cup of water very slowly. Then add the Paprika and Kokum along with the water. Add salt and haldi.
9. Close with a lid and boil for some time to reduce the gravy.
10. If using fresh fish, add the fish pieces and the shredded curry leaves into the gravy and let cook on very slow fire.
11. At this time, do not stir the curry or you will break up the fish.
12. If using canned sardines, let the curry cook down and thicken well before sliding in the fish along with the tomato sauce. Let the curry just start simmering.
13. Turn off the fire and serve the most fragrant fish curry with steamed rice.

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