Its raining cats and dogs in my part of the world!!! I m thinking of an authentic mallu delight Kudampuliyitta Meen vevichathu aka Hot and Spicy Kottayam style Red fish curry to warm up my senses. I think i need to rewrite the lines of JD's "You fill up my senses".
In picture:- Rice, Meen vevichathu, Cherupayar Mezhukkupuratty
Innu enna meen kitti? (what fish you got today?) Wasn't that the regular chatter from our homes while growing up from one house to another to another and on and on....
It was like the first thing you ask when you see your neighbor, instead of how are you or whats up?I talk to my mom and Mother in law every morning and again even i ask them the same thing u know , innu enna meen kitti ? A day without more of a Changancherry style fish curry in my home back in Kerala...Nada..Its such an integral part of the daily meals in kerala.Oh my dad, he says he can sacrifice anything in life , but a meal without fish curry especially changanacherry style fish curry..oh no!!!
Update :- A picture by Vazhayila's reader Prasad from Oman
I used to wonder as a kid why on earth everyone ask the same question everyday. So later in life, I understood, one can infer a lot from that single chatter. Ordinary fish- nothing much, things as usual, expensive fish -special occasions, guests are coming etc..etc..But things have obviously changed now, and every one prefer to buy butter fish every day :)
Have you ever ponder over the fact why we like fish so much? Recently I happened to read about "taste dialect", which says your birth place( and genetics too) designs your taste buds , just like our spoken dialect. No wonder those who are born in Kerala and Bengal have such an affection to Fish :)
In picture:- Meen Vevichathu
- Fish - 1/2 kg
- Shallots/Small onion chopped - 1/4 cup
- Garlic sliced - 6-7 cloves
- Ginger sliced - 1 inch piece
- Green chili slit lengthwise - 2
- Kashmiri chili powder - 2 table spoon
- Coriander powder - 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Kudampuli/Fish tamarind/Gambooge - 2 ( see notes)
- Curry leaves - a handful
- Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
- Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tspn
- Coconut Oil or any oil
How to make Kottayam red fish curry:-
Clean and cut the fish into medium pieces. I used Tilapia fillets and i cut a single fillet into 2-3 pieces.
Wash and clean the kudampuli. Soak Kudampuli in a cup of water and set aside.
Lightly crush the chopped small onions in a mortar and pestle.
(this is optional, you can use as chopped too).
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and fry it for 30 seconds.
Add small onions,sliced ginger and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add Kashmiri chili powder, Coriander powder and turmeric powder and fry it for 2 minutes.
Add the soaked kudampuli along with water, and 1/2 to 1 more cup of water( only if you want more gravy) to the pan and combine well.
Add salt to taste. Stir in the fish pieces, combine well and cook it covered for 10-15 minutes.
Uncover it,add a few more curry leaves,sprinkle a tspn of oil and simmer uncovered for another 3-4 minutes.
In picture:- Rice, Kottayam style fish curry, Cherupayar Mezhukkupuratty
- To make it less hot :- Reduce the amount of chili powder to 1 table spoon Or add a cup of thin coconut milk instead of water
- Instead of chopping Shallots, ginger and garlic, lightly crush it in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
- In that case use only 3-4 garlic cloves.But i always love to get the bite of tiny pieces of garlic and shallots in my fish curry.
- Making Meen vevichathu in claypot (Manchatti) makes it more tasty and i sometimes do that and keep it in the same outside for 2 days.
- The number of kudampuli/ Fish tamarind depends on how much tangy you want it to be. i usually add 2 large or medium , if its tiny add 4 for 1/2 kg fish , and it will be more tangy the next day.so add it accordingly :)