A traditional fish curry of Kerala… this dish is a must try for all the fish lovers who get a chance to visit Kerala, in South India. The recipe is very similar to the Red Fish Curry (coming soon), with the only difference being the addition of coconut milk. Just the thought of the taste of tamarind with coconut milk makes my mouth watery.
For this recipe you can either use canned coconut milk or prepare it yourself by grinding grated coconut with a little water and then squeezing out the milk. I would recommend the freshly made milk as it given a better flavor, color and aroma.
The tanginess of this curry comes primarily from Gambooge (kudampuli/Malabar tamarind) which is widely used in Kerala style fish recipes. This recipe goes well with different types of fishes like sardines, mackerel, pompano, and tilapia.
Prep time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4 servings
Boned fish : 1 pound (Tilapia fillets can also be used)
Gambooge/tamarind : 2 – 3 (soaked in hot water)
Red Chili powder : 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
Corainder powder : 2tbsp
Fenugreek powder : ½ tbsp
Mustard seeds : 1 tbsp
Onion : 1 big, sliced (or pearl onions can also be used, 8-10)
Green chillies : 2 (slitted)
Ginger : 1tbsp (chopped thinly)
Garlic : 2,3 (chopped thinly)
Curry leaves : 2 sprigs
Oil : as required
Salt : as required
Water : ½ cup
Coconut milk : ½ cup
- Clean the fish and cut it into medium sized pieces. Keep it aside.
- Soak tamarind in a small bowl of hot water for 10 mins.
- Take a pan (I prefer using a clay pot while preparing Kerala fish curries as it gives the authentic taste) and add oil, mustard seeds and put it on a low flame. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, sliced onions, green chilies and a little salt, and saute it well.
- As the onions start breaking down, add chopped ginger and garlic, and saute and cook till the rawness of the ginger and garlic subsides.
- Add red chili, coriander and turmeric powders to the pan and mix well. Add the soaked tamarind and saute for 2- 3 minutes.
- Add water, salt and set the flame at high. When the water starts to boil add the fish pieces. Close the pan and let the fish cook in a low flame for some time till it becomes tender.
- Add fenugreek powder and coconut milk to the pan. Gently stir to allow the milk to mix without breaking the cooked fish.
- Allow the curry to cook for another 5- 8 mins on a low flame to thicken the gravy.
- Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with curry leaves.
- Remove the pan from the flame and allow it to rest with the lid on for at least an hour so that the fish gets to properly absorb the gravy and the flavour.
Serve warm with Rice or Naan.
- You can vary the spiciness and tanginess of the dish by altering the amount of chili powder and tamarind used respectively. Also vary the amount of coconut milk and water used, to adjust color and gravy consistency.
- Do not boil the fish curry too long after adding coconut milk as it may cause the milk to split.