Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vaaval meen kulambu

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, 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 kulambu:

Items required:
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.

To grind:
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.

Serving suggestions:
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) 


Hamaree Rasoi said...

The fish with gravy looks so yummmmmy....pomphret is my favourite fish. Wouls definitely try preparing it very soon.


Nandinis food said...

This kuzhambu makes me nostalgic too! I eat this every Sunday in my school days and refreshes my memories! Yummy! I'm drooling!

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Yummy with hot rice..............

Priya Suresh said...

Slurppp, my favourite fish, am a diehard fan of this fish fry..delicious kuzhambu Viki!!

Cool Lassi(e) said...

Kuzhambhu looks awesome. Yes, I agree that fish looks and tastes great when made in earthern-ware!

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear viki
Ha ha Nice to see that you are all praise for your SOMEONE ( like me) .
Hanging around the fish market ..all fish vendors are my friends, they offer me tea before we get down to business...they will pick up the right fish...
they will discount the price on their own...but I know if you bargain hard and reduce price , you get 900 gms instead of 1 kg. They always satisfy the ego of a bargainer. My wife is a hard bargainer...and i just look the other way when she gets into bargain mode..ha ha
I love this southern fish curry...and have strated making southern fish recipes.
As soon as i am back, i will make this marking it
Happy holi and let all the evil forces stay away from you and family.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Deepa: Pomfret is a wonderful fish and won't disappoint us anytime:)

Nandhini:Oh, thanks dear. In my dad's home also we do it on weekends..esp the Saturdays:)

Sailaja: Thanks for liking it dear. Yes, rice and meen kulambu...mmm..mouthwatering combo:)

Priya: Thanks dear.

cool lassie: well said dear, fish curry in earthenware is the best always.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Thanks Ushnish. My brother and hubby too says the same for bargaining with fish vendors....yeah, we get lesser fish for lesser price and they take care that the customer always wins:)
Happy holi.Thanks for the kind words and blessings sir.

Gita Jaishankar said...

Hi Viki, very sweet post dear...nice to read about your fond memories :) I am drooling over that yummy know how much I love this right :) said...

Mouthwatering curry...just can't resist this!!!!

Namitha said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the earthen pot :-)..I reallly miss one here :( This looks wonderful !

Shama Nagarajan said...

i love any recipe with fish..yummy pomfret curry

Saraswathy Balakrishnan said...

Looks so yummy and delicious Viki:)

Urmi said...

Wish you and your family a very Happy Holi.
Fish kulambu looks delicious and tempting.

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Wow the kulambu looks very tempting Viki... I love to shop for fish unlike any other meat... For some reason I love to visit the chinese market for those fresh ones, the fresh ones make a great kulambu!!!

Sashi said...

Kulambu looks tempting Viki !! I must soon try this.

gtyuk said...


you're making me crazy with that vavaal meen curry !!!

you're absolutely right, fish curry in that clay pot is something special!!! andha taste-ey thani dhaan !!!

indha meri vavaal meen kozhambu vachaa, naaney flight pidichu unga veetukku vandiduven, unga annan senjadhula aachariyamey illa :)

sari, indha kozhambukku side dish meen varuval, omelette sari dhaan, but adhu yenna ripe mango?? dessert-kka? hihhih, yedhaavadhu golden memories combination-aa?

bargain panradhula naa boojium, my husband does well, not by talking but by charming the meen kaarchi, hihhih :):)

excellent recipe!!! enjoy it!!

have a nice day !!!

Sumi said...

I love this fish compared to the much hyped vanjaram....

Chetana Suvarna Ganatra said...

Hey to ur cool space....n thks for stopping by my blog.
Loved dis curry...absolutely mouth watering.

Rina said...

Luv the fish gravy to the core dear..reminds of the good old childhood days..

Devasena Hariharan said...

Fish makes me think of my home.. everyday we have fish for lunch....

Gravy looks delicious........

Sunitha said...

Awesome curry.. drool..drool..drool