Monday, November 8, 2010

#4 Fast Kerala Fish Fry

Kerala's long coastline, numerous rivers and backwater streams have built up a strong fishing industry that contributes to the abundance of seafood dishes. Rice is grown in plenty and along with
cassava(tapioca) are the strong starch components found in the food of  Kerala. The state also has major production of spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Most of Kerala Hindus are vegetarian by religion and love to serve food on a banana leaf (not because there is a shortage of dinner plates but because the leaf adds flavor to the food), and there are minorities of Christians and Muslims that are non-vegetarians therefore, Kerala has a large collection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. My ancestors were vegetarian although our generation has ventured out to eat meat and fish.

Every restaurant menu includes some form of fish prepared in rare spices--- whether it be a gourmet five star restaurant or the most common street vendor.  Besides being fried, different fish may be cooked up into a variety of fish curries immersed in simple hot gravies. The larger fish are sliced or cut into steaks and slowly cooked in milder versions of coconut paste gravies. A common fish curry is combined with raw mango and coconut, Fish Mollee is a version with a gravy of coconut milk. We love our fish and serve it with rice or mashed tapioca/yuca root called "Kappa Puzhukku". Sometimes it may be a Raw Jackfruit mash (Chakka Puzhukku). Here is a quick recipe for fried fish steaks.

Fish Filets/Steaks-2
Chilli Powder- 2 tspns
Pepper powder-1/2 tspn
Haldi powder- 1/4 tspn
Lemon Juice- 2 Tblspn
Salt to taste.
Oil for shallow Frying

1. Remove skin from the fish steaks. Cut up into bite size pieces.
If using filets(I used Tilapia) slice lengthwise.
2. In a plate, mix together all the rest of the ingredients with a fork or spoon.
3. Marinate the fish pieces in the marinade for at least 6 hours.
4. Heat a pan and add oil to shallow fry the fish in small batches.
5. Do not disturb the fish or turn over until they are browned slightly on both sides or they turn crip outside and moist inside.
We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.  ~W.B. Yeats

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