For many reasons we love to opt for home stays when we travel to other states in India. apart from experiencing a new culture and lifestyle up, close and personal this also means home cooked food for my kid. We love travelling and once the little one reached an age to travel we resumed our road trips in and around Karnataka and almost every time we opted for home stays. among those many the one that we loved the most was in Munnar.
This small home stay run by the mother and son is located in a very scenic spot atop a hill, far away from the hustle and bustle of the main city but close enough to rush their in an emergency. we were given a warm welcome by the mother, whom we lovingly called Aunt. A very happy and affectionate lady quick on her tows and sweet with her words. She won our tired soul while settling us down with hot coffee and piping hot idlis.
Over next 3 days we fallen in love with here again and again. before we could get ready she packed light khichri and curry for my son and kept piping hot breakfast ready for us. It was dream come true kind of stay for me. I could taste all the dishes that I had drooled over at my friend's blogs. knowing that I love food and cooking she invited me to the kitchen where she and the cook (another marvelous cook) prepared different types of meals for the boarders. the best part was she shared every recipe that I wanted to know.
On the last night she prepared a huge traditional dinner for us including kappa (tapioca), meen moilee, avial, two different kind of fish curries and dessert. It was pure bliss eating such lovingly prepared meal under her watchful eyes. I really wish to go there once again for the food and their beautiful hospitality.
The recipe that am sharing today is needless to say belongs to this kind lady. I actually did not intend to post this recipe but when I posted this lousy picture on my Facebook page many seemed to like it and asked for the recipe. so here it is hopefully you all will like it too.
Kerala Fish Curry
Mackerel fish Fillets: 3 pieces (400 gms)
onion: 1 medium
ginger-garlic paste: 11/2 tsp
tomato: 1 small (or 2 tbsp tomato pulp)
Coconut milk: 3/4 cup
tamarind: little smaller than a golf ball size
oil: 3 tbsp
red chili powder: 2 tsp (please see notes)
coriander powder: 1 tsp
mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
curry leaves: 2 sprigs
I prefer to cut fish in smaller pieces as that helps the salt and spices to penetrate properly. I cut each fillet in 4 pieces. sprinkle salt and turmeric, rub on the pieces and keep aside for 15 minutes.
In the meantime finely chop the onion and soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup water, preferably warm water. also mix 1/2 tsp turmeric, chili powder and coriander powder with 3 tbsp water.
Heat the oil in a kadhai or frying pan and carefully place the fish pieces on it. Do not crowd the space too much or the pieces will break when you will try to turn them. fry on medium till just the colour change (1 minute on each side), turn and fry. drain the oil and keep them aside.(the original recipe dont need the fish to be fried beforehand but we like it this way. if you wish please skip this step).
In the same oil now add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. once they start to splutter add the chopped onion. on low flame cook them with a pinch of salt till they become mushy (3-4 minutes). add the ginger garlic paste and again cook for 2-3 minutes. once you see spots of oil appearing on the sides add the spice paste. cook for a minutes or till the raw smell is gone.
finally mix in the tomato and add salt. cook for a couple of minutes till the tomato becomes saucy. lower the heat and add the coconut milk. mix everything properly and then add 2 cups water. bring it to a boil and the fish pieces. adjust the taste by adding salt, sugar or chili powder.
cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, finally add the tamarind paste and boil for a minute.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
A Homemaker's Notes:
The amount of chili depends on how much heat you can handle. if you want colour not heat then use Kashmiri chili powder. but please note that the sweetness of the coconut milk counters the heat. so please check it for yourself and adjust as per your taste.
The measurement of oil is also tentative. sometimes the fish is very oily and you end up with more oil than you actually added before frying the fish. please adjust accordingly.
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