Its been months, since I bought some fresh fish from a fishmonger. I always opt for the easy to clean & cook shrimps or prawns. But last Saturday, I saw this fresh sardines butterfly fillets, fully cleaned, scaled & bones removed. That was specially kept for Barbeques. My heart skipped a beat & asked me "You miss Kerala, Don't you? My mouth was salivating uncontrollably & my brain had already decided the menu for the day. "Malabar Fish Curry" & "Sardines Fry" with plain white Rice. I wanted it to be a "Pukka Malayalee lunch" with an hour long nap after that.
The only reason why I avoid Sardines is, the more it tastes good, the more it makes the whole house smelly. And I just pray to god that no neighbours or friends turn up for a few days after my Sardine cooking. It is so very embarrassing when they sniff their nose frequently. :( Anyway, this will not stop me making some delicious fish curry & fry. The "Sardines fry Kerala style" will soon follow but for now, let me take you to Kerala, with my Fish Curry Recipe.
"Malabar", is a popular name given to the southern most state of India, Kerala. And the Malabar Cuisine, without doubt will have the use of coconuts in all forms. So choose your favourite fish & cook it up in a Malabari style coconut gravy. yummy yum!!
- 10 Sardines / Mathi / Chala (Can use any fish of your choice, cleaned & cut into biteable chunks) usually sardines are used as whole in the gravy unlike other types of fish.
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 medium sized onion (finely chopped)
- 1 big tomato (cut into chunks)
- 1 tsp tamarind paste or 1/2 lemon sized tamarind (soaked in 1/2 cup warm water)
- 3-4 green chillies (slit length wise)
- 2" ginger (finely chopped)
- 7-8 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 star anise
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 tbsp oil (preferably coconut oil)
- salt to taste
- Take a deep based frying pan & heat 1 tbsp of oil. Now roast the grated coconut, half the chopped onions, star anise, ginger, garlic & the curry leaves until they turn into light golden.
- Cool & grind the roasted mixture into a wet paste adding required water.
- Heat the previously used pan again adding the remaining oil. Fry the other half of the chopped onion in it until they become translucent. Add the tomato chunks to it. Mix well.
- Now add the wet paste to it & mix well for at least 2 minutes until the raw smell goes. To it add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt to taste. Mix well.
- Add the tamarind paste or pour the tamarind extract at this point. Add another cup of water & let it boil. Add the slit green chillies to it.
- When the water starts to boil, add in the fish pieces to it & let it cook for 8-10 minutes or until the fish is almost done.. Cook on a medium -low heat.
- Now pour in the coconut milk & stir well. Cook the curry on a low heat for a further 4 minutes. Switch it off & garnish it with a sprig of curry leaf & a tsp of coconut oil.
- Serve hot with plain white rice & some fried Sardines for accompaniments. Super Delish!!