Meen kuzhambu - fish curry
Buying fish from market can be a very pleasant experience, if you seriously love seafood. In my hometown we prepare the fish kuzhambu in earthenware, which yields a native flavor. Nothing can beat a meen kulambu prepared in clay vessel. Love to remember the way hubby and myself searched for this earthenware vessel to make the fish curry in Madras:)
Before marriage I used to go with my Anna (elder brother) to buy fish. Even though anna is a physician, he loves to do grocery shopping (see, its in the genetics...hi..hi). So he would enjoy chatting with the vendor , but never bargains (I am good at bargaining though). He is crazy for crab and shrimp along with all the sea food. That's what makes me love him more. He likes my cuisines very much and always say lovely words about it to all he know....I am not sure , if I cook that good , but his encouragement makes me to do better:) There were days , when he would come home to taste my fish kulambu even at odd hours and drive back home. Even that slightest thought makes me feel home sick.....so, lets go to vaawal meen kulambu now:)
I prepared this curry using pomfret fish. We can use any fish for this recipe.
English names: silver pomfret fish / pompano fish
Tamil names: vaaval meen, vowval meen, vellai vawal meen.
others: Maanji in Tulu and Avoli in Malayalam.
Click to know about this fish.
Tips to buy good fish:
Always buy fish that looks and smells fresh.
It should be firm to touch.
The gills should be red and never pale.
Fresh pomfret fish washed and cleaned:
Fish - 1 lb
sesame oil - 2 tbsp
mustard seeds- 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - 1 small keylime size
Red chilly powder -1.5 tsp
coriander powder- 3 tsp
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
tomato - 2
green chillies - 2
curry leaves- 2 sprigs.
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
shallot - 8
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
wash the fish and remove all the fins and scales by a knife.
Then slice it into big chunks.
Apply little turmeric powder over the fish and keep aside.
Extract juice from tamarind and add chilli powder, coriander powder, pinch of turmeric powder, salt and mix well.Keep aside.
Heat the sesame oil in vessel. (Fish curry prepared in earthen vessel tastes good).Add mustard and fenugreek seeds. After the mustard seeds crackle add the curry leaves .
Then add chopped tomato and saute till oil separates.
Add tamarind juice mixture and let it boil for 5 minutes.
Then add the finely ground coconut-onion paste.
Immediately after this starts boiling add the fish pieces.
cover the vessel and simmer the heat.
Keep the curry gets cooked in simmer heat for 15 minutes.
DO NOT stir the curry after adding the fish, otherwise you may end up with broken pieces.
Then put off fire.Garnish with chopped green chillies and curry leaves.
Serve hot with rice , chapathi or Idly or dosai .
Deep fried fish, omelet ,ripe mango are good side dishes along with meen kuzhambu and rice.44
(Add a tsp of jaggery / brown sugar before switching off, for a more subtle taste)