This is my mother’s recipe for the spicy and extremely tasty Kottayam style fish curry. This fish curry can be left outside for 1-2 days and tastes better the next day. My fish curries were always a flop until I tried this recipe. Those of you who have never had success with a fish curry will find this recipe really useful. Do try it out sometime and tell me how you liked it. It goes very well with rice/ kappa puzhukku/ idli/ dosa.
- Fish – 3/4 kg (I used salmon fillets. Clean and cut the fish fillets to medium-small sized pieces)
- Ginger – 2 tbsp, thinly sliced or chopped
- Garlic – 2 tbsp, slice if the garlic flakes are large
- Shallots – 5-6, thinly sliced (Optional)
- Green chilly – 1, slit (Optional)
- Kudam puli – 2 – 3 or to taste (Wash and soak them in 1/2 cup warm water for at least 15 mts. Tear into small pieces)
- Curry leaves – 2 – 3 sprigs
- Chilly powder – 2 – 2.5 tbsp (Adjust according to your spice tolerance. Use Kashmiri chilly powder to make it less spicy.)
- Coriander powder – 2 – 3 tsp
- Fenugreek powder/uluva podi – 1/4 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Dry red chilly – 1
- Coconut oil – 2.5 tbsp or as required (Use more oil if you are not using coriander powder)
- Salt – To taste
- Hot water – 1.5 – 2 cups or as needed
1. Make a paste of the chilly powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder and turmeric powder in little water(around 1.5 – 2 tbsp) and keep aside.
2. Heat 2 – 2.5 tbsp coconut oil in a claypot/meen chatti or a deep pan at medium heat and splutter the mustard seeds. Fry the dry red chilly and add the ginger, garlic, pearl onions, green chilly,curry leaves and saute until they turn golden. Bring down the heat and add the chili–coriander-fenugreek-turmeric paste. Saute for a minute (take care not to burn it) or until the oil starts appearing on the surface. Now add about 1.5 – 2 cups hot water, salt and the kudam puli pieces. Bring it to a boil, check for salt and add the fish pieces. (If the gravy is not sour enough, add some water in which the kudampuli pieces were soaked.)
3. After adding the fish pieces swirl the clay pot to mix everything well. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Cook at medium-low flame. Remember to rotate the meen chatti or pan every 6-8 mts. It generally takes less than 20 mts to cook the fish.
4. Cook until the fish gets done and the gravy is medium-thick. Taste-check the gravy, if it tastes very sour, remove one or two kudam puli pieces. Switcch off. Add some curry leaves and 2 tsp of coconut oil for an extra taste and aroma. If there is a lot of gravy, cook for a few more minutes at medium flame without covering it. Serve with hot rice, kappa puzhukku or even idli/dosa. This tastes best after one day.
1) You can also add shallots along with ginger and garlic but remember to fry them until golden, In order to increase its shelf life.
2) You could also arrange the fish pieces on lots of curry leaves in a meen chatti and make the gravy in a separate pan. Once the gravy is prepared pour it over the fish pieces and cook.
3) If you prefer a thick gravy, you can add around 1 – 1.5 tbsp coriander powder for this curry. But in order to increase its shelf life, avoid adding it.
4) You can try this fish curry with any fish you prefer. Here’s a pomphret curry…