This Kerala style fish curry with coconut milk is not just a local favourite but also one of the most recognized dishes from the state, globally.
A lipsmacking, flavourful seafood curry resplendent with the sweetness of coconut milk, tanginess from the tomatoes and the subtle hint of spices; the only way to enjoy it is poured over a bowl of hot, steaming rice. A couple of pappadums also to add to the blissful experience!
1. 700 gms Seer fish fillet; cut into large cubes
2. 10 shallots/small onion; sliced (reserve a little for garnish)
3. 4 garlic cloves; crushed
4. 1 inch ginger; crushed
5. 3 green chillies; slit lengthwise
6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
7. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
8. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
9. 5 tbsp coconut oil
10. 3 sprigs curry leaves
11. 1 large tomato; sliced
12. ½ cup thick coconut milk
13. 2 cups thin coconut milk
14. Salt, to season
• Heat 3 tbsp coconut oil in a clay pot (highly suggested) or a deep pan and add the fenugreek seeds. As it begins to change colour, add the sliced shallots. Sauté till the onions have softened.
• Next add the crushed ginger and garlic; sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
• Make a paste with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil and water; add this to the above and sauté on low heat till the oil starts to separate from the masala.
• Add a few spoonfuls of water, tomato pieces and curry leaves. Mix well and add the thin coconut milk.
• Season with salt and bring to boil. Add the fish pieces and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes. Then reduce heat and cook covered till the fish is done.
• Once the fish is done, reduce heat to the lowest and add the thick coconut milk. Mix by just shaking the pan or lightly with a ladle and remove from heat. (High heat will lead to the milk curdling).
• In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add the sliced shallots and fry till golden brown. Add the curry leaves and a pinch of red chilli powder. Remove from heat and pour over the fish curry. Keep covered and mix through just before serving.
• Serve with steamed rice.
• One of the variations of this curry is with green mango. Add a few pieces of green mango (depending on sourness) instead of tomato.
• Substitute fish with prawns or lobster for an equally delicious preparation.