This post is dedicated to my friends Reena Varghese and George Varghese with whom I stayed for 18 months after coming to Kuwait not as a paying guest but as a family member! George introduced me to Kuwait and Reena to Kerala Food and most importantly Kerala Style Fish Curry!
Initially I literally used to have it everyday but then my interest waned off and I completely stopped eating it! But sometime back I felt like eating it again and what better way to try a new recipe and then sample it!
I looked for some recipes on the internet and went to one of my favourite websites named Curry Trail which is managed by Ms. Jyothi Rajesh. It has a wonderful collection of recipes across genres. You can follow its Facebook Page as well. Her recipe which I used: Aracha Thenga Meen Kozhumbhu | Fish Curry in Coconut Gravy
The recipe had the mention of an ingredient named Kodampuli (also known as gambodge, Malabar tamarind, fish tamarind, and mistakenly as kokum) is a fruit used to add sourness to curries in Kerala. When the fruit ripens, it’s removed from the vine, seeded, and left to dry in the sun. The skins are then smoked, infusing them with a peculiar aroma. I was so intrigued to read about this description at Spice Hunting: Kodampuli and was determined to make this dish with Kodampuli than the usual Tamarind! Thankfully I got this special ingredient from a shop very close to our home here in Kuwait!
There was another first as well! This was the first time I was making a recipe with fresh fish. We bought 2 pieces of Tilapia Fish from Lulu Hypermarket. We were a bit worried about the “fishy” smell but surprisingly this fish didn’t smell at all!
After all the research, shopping and the unending excitement, I got to the kitchen last evening to start a new try with a new cuisine. The end result was incredibly delicious which was a silver lining of sorts. The curry was differently tangy, very flavourful, infused with coconut, tomato & curry leaves plus was very similar to the curry which Reena used to make! All my efforts were worth it in the end! Abhay also loved the curry and had multiple spoons!
Without further adieu….the recipe:
Fish- 500 gms, medium sized pieces of Tilapia (you can use any fish fillets like seer, salmon and tilapia or even Sardines)
Kodumpuli – 4 small pieces (you can use Tamarind if you can find Kodumpuli)
Garlic, finely chopped – 2 tsp
Green chilies, cut vertically – 2
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Shallots, sliced – 8
Tomatoes – 3 medium sized, finely chopped
Water – as required
Salt as per taste
Oil – 2 tbspn
Lemon Juice from 1/2 lemon
Salt – 1 tspn
Tumeric powder – 1/2 tspn
Red chilli powdder – 1 tspn
Oil – 1 tbspn
For Coconut Paste:
Fresh Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Shallots – 5
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – as required
1. Grind together all the ingredients listed under ‘for coconut paste’ to form a smooth paste. Keep aside.
2. Soak kodumpuli in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Don’t discard the water and use it in the curry.
3. Wash, clean an marinate the fish for 30-40 minutes.
4. After the marination, in a pan, shallow fry the fry till the fish browns on both side. Remove from pan and set aside until use. Frying the fish adds a distinct flavor and taste to the curry. Don’t skip this step.
5. In a kadhai heat oil. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, chopped garlic and shallots. Bhunno until onions turn light brown.
6. Add the tomatoes and bhunno until tomatoes gets cooked and the oil is separated.
7. Add the ground coconut paste and bhunno for 7-8 minutes.
8. Add the kodumpuli water and bring it to boil.
9. Add salt as per taste and finally add shallow fried fish. simmer and cook for 5 mins.
10. Switch off flame, cover the kadhai and let the curry rest for 10-15 minutes so that the flavours get infused completely.
11. Serve hot with steamed rice or tawa rotis.
12. Thank Reena first then Ms. Jyothi Rajesh and me later.
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…