Fish Curry ( Mangalorean style)
Two snow days in a row, almost a weekly event these days! Last evening , on my way back from work I heard the winter weather advisory loud & clear on the radio, and watched people hurrying to buy groceries in the stores , before the frigid weather took over and keeps us indoors for days together. The cold wind was biting through my skin,making a mental note of the ’emergency supplies to buy’ seemed impossible,as I walked into the Fresh Market and saw men & women with scarves & jackets loading their carts to brace against the wintery days ahead. Walking through the aisles, picking up the basics my eyes wandered to the fish stand, the plump healthy looking pompano fish seemed to wink at me saying, ” Take me home!” and me telepathically sending signals to it saying,”Wish you could cook yourself into the most spicy curry now”, coz my hunger pangs had reached a deafening roar of their own by then.So, I finish the express grocery shopping( the circus not done yet ) then head to the day care to pick up my kid & then head home.By now I have started hallucinating about steaming coffee,while my kid blissfully unaware,humming a tune is putting on his jacket & gloves in slow motion…..just as I practice breathing to stay calm smile emoticon Together we head home,after several attempts at trying the keys with my frozen fingers, I finally manage to open the door & get in.The next thing I hear my kid asking me ” Amma, what’s there to eat? I’m hungry!!!” While the fish in my bag chuckled, I silently pray for my “Genie”, Where on earth is the lamp when I need it???? Fixed a quick dinner for him, poured myself some coffee & then sat down in my couch to admire the crazy snow blowing outside.All was well indeed , I’m home smile emoticon
Woke up this morning to tackle the fish in the freezer, Ah! the creativity that flows when you have a good night’s rest is irresistible , so I take the traditional approach to make this spicy fish curry from the land of my ancestors.Needless to say, the spicy aroma took over the kitchen as I ground my spices, (those ancestors certainly knew what they were doing ! ) a certain peace & calm came over me as the curry cooked…..warm feelings,happy laughter around the table is all that I heard & felt….the whole point of preserving age old recipes is just that…in them are sealed memories & aromas only the heart knows & to this day they have the ability to reach all those deep spots to bring the best, out of you to the world.Yes, life must go on and our role is to leave something meaningful for the future generation to look up & savor , even if it means recipes long forgotten, every fish has a story to tell….
Pompano fish- 4 large
Onions-2 ( large)
Oil- 2 tbsp ( preferably coconut oil, adds to the flavor of the Mangalorean cuisine)
Garlic- 8-10 pods
Chili powder-1 tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves/powder- 12 tsp or a few leaves
Coconut shredded- 1/2 cup
Tamarind paste – 1/2 tbsp
Salt- to taste.
1.Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
2.Cumin seeds- 3/4 tbsp
3.Pepper Corns- 1 1/2 tbsp
4.Methi( fenugreek) seeds- 1/4 tsp
1.Dry fry the ingredients mentioned above separately,& set aside.
2.Now in a wok, add a little oil & add the garlic, then add the onions and sauté the onions till they turn light brown, now add the shredded coconut & fry till golden brown, along with the curry leaves.To this add the turmeric powder & chili powder & stir well for a few minutes.Then place it in the blender along with the dry fried ingredients, tamarind paste and little water, and blend them till they become a fine paste.
3. In a thick bottomed vessel, add a little oil & fry the rest of the onions, to this add the blended mix, along with the required amount of water & salt to taste.Allow it to cook, till the raw smell disappears .
4.Now gently add the cut & cleaned fish along the side of the vessel & cover with lid & allow to cook for 10- 15 minutes, taking care to stir it gently along the sides, so you do not break the gentle fish pieces which are cooking.
5.Now remove from stove top & serve hot with flat breads or rice.(Winter blues would never touch you again for a long time).
Note: Pompano fish looks like the Pomfret fish we get in India, I’m not exactly sure if they are the same, yet the taste turns out yummy smile emoticon