Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meen Kuzhambu

Hurrayy!! I have spotted the first snow of the year. The sight of fresh snow is always a delight to me. A thin layer of soft white powder is seen over roof tops of houses, on car glasses,  on the pavement, on every single blade of grass and on every single grain of sand. When I tread over the snow covered pathway, I can feel the softness even under the thick boots. I wonder how it would feel if I touch it with my barefoot. Even the thought brings a chill to me. Ooohhh! Shivers!!

Most of us would love to watch the rain through a windowpane. It brings an unexplainable pleasure on watching the rain drops dance and drizzle. Where the beauty of rain is in the rustle, the beauty of snowfall is in its elegant hush. Sitting on the couch, cuddling on a soft pillow, a cup of tea in the hand, seeing the gentle snow silver everything outside the window - believe me,  it is a very serene moment. If you have got  snow where you live,  go get yourself a break and don't miss to enjoy what nature offers you.


This weather brings a never ending craving for warm and spicy foods. Last weekend, my husband brought home some fresh fish. My only thought went to the spicy tangy tasty fish curry my mom prepares. Ever since the day I was old enough to appreciate the tastes of food, I am in love with my Amma's Meen Kuzhambu (Fish Curry). I have tasted other lovely preparations of fish too, but this one always tops my favorites list.

Though I could not attain the 100% perfect taste (Amma's Kai manam), I think my preparation was almost as tasty. I'm giving the recipe here and feel free to try and adjust to your tastes.


Serves: 3-4
Preparation Time: 30 mins

Ingredients:
Fish - 1/2 kg
Onions - 2 big, chopped
Tomatoes - 2, diced
Green chillies - 2, slit lengthwise
Fresh Coconut - 1/2, grated or diced into small pieces
Red Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - from 1/2 lemon
Tamarind - marble sized
Salt - to taste

Cooking Oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - from 2 twigs

Method:
Clean the fish and cut into pieces. Take 1 tsp of chilli powder, a pinch of turmeric, enough salt and the lemon juice in a bowl. Mix and rub the mixture over the fish pieces gently and keep aside.

Soak the tamarind in warm water in a small bowl. Keep aside.

Blend the grated coconut in an electric blender with little amount of water. Extract the juice out of it. Save this as the first milk. Blend the same coconut again with some more water. Extract the juice out of it and save this as the second milk.

Heat oil (I used gingelly oil) in a wide shallow vessel. Add mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustards crack, add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Now, add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté well. When the onions have become soft and translucent, add the diced tomatoes. When the tomatoes are well cooked, lightly mash them and add 1 tsp of chilli powder, coriander powder and enough salt. Cook the spices for a few minutes without burning them.

Now add the fish pieces and one cup of first coconut milk. Close the vessel with a lid and cook in medium heat. Meanwhile, extract the juice out the soaked tamarind. After about 10 mins of cooking, add the tamarind juice and one cup of second coconut milk. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for a few more minutes.

When little droplets of oil separates out of the curry, it means completely cooked and switch off the heat. Enjoy with fresh steamed rice.


Notes:
  • Depending upon the size of the coconut, you would get 2-3 cups of milk. I got 1 cup of first milk and two cups of second milk, out of which I used one cup only. 
  • My mother blends the coconut in a stone grinder until it get so soft that she adds the coconut directly to the curry instead of extracting the milk. 
  • Always use a wide shallow vessel for fish curries. Do not mix the curry often with a ladle while cooking, as it might break the fish pieces easily.
  • Depending upon the type of fish used, the cooking time might vary. So, keep a careful eye while cooking. I used Red fish / Ocean Perch. You can use any solid fish suitable for curries.
  • The curry tastes better when cooked in an earthen vessel. It tastes even better when served on the next day.

13 comments:

  1. oooh tht does look absolutely perfect :)

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  2. Hey girlie, missed ya! As usual, great write up, and gorgeous curry too. I make meen kuzhambu using canned coconut cream, saves a lot of trouble :)

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  3. this is a typical meen kuzhambu my mom makes .....mouthwatering ! promise me tht u would make it for me (exclusively for me :) ) when we visit u the next time inshallah !!!

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  4. delicious dish.Thanks for the recipe
    -
    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  5. this Fish curry looks so so super delicious....

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  6. Yum! I dont understand but i know its good just by looking at it... YUM! once again, yum!

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  7. Delicious and lovely looking Fish Kuzhambu. Lip smacking pics.
    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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  8. @All, thanks everyone for your lovely comments :)

    @Plateful: I agree, canned coconut milk makes the process a lot more easier. However, the ones we get here are way too sweet for spicy curries like this. So, I prefer using fresh coconut instead :)

    @Reshmi: Insha Allah, surely I shall make this exclusively for you dear!! :)

    @Jesica: Thanks for your visit and your comments. Try it out sometime, I'm sure you'll love it.

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  9. Slurp,fingerlicking meen kuzhambu,truly tempting and inviting..

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  10. Sorry dear,couldn't comment early and often,my blogger sometimes go haywire not showing new posts.Loved your write up.Enjoying the nature for me is a great stress reliever.calms me down though you couldn't find much in this part of the world.Meen Curry's shine makes me want to dig in with a piece of appam,maybe.

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  11. A very well written post n the curry looks spot on!
    USMasala

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  12. First time here. u have a nice blog. ur pics and recipe collections are really nice..:)

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  13. I can use any fish in this recipe, right? This recipe look very delicious. Now I'm really getting hungry.

    catering consultancy

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