What is life without a little indulgence?
Without a little celebration?
Without new beginnings?
So, to celebrate the new beginning, we started off the new year with a small indulgence – the delicious saffron butter cake, which I assure you, is a must try coffee cake .
Now that we are almost half way through the month of January (almost there, just a few more days), I remembered my promise about the Naadan Meen Curry (fish curry) when I wrote about kappa. Naadan meen curry just means a simple fish curry, no frills, no fanfare, just plain good ol’ fish curry.
Preparing these traditional dishes at home, here in the US (so far from where we were born and lived most of our lives), is a way for us to connect back to our roots. And as for Sonshine, learning new experiences as well as tasting & eating the food that his parents were brought up with. A gentle nudge from us to look beyond the world of pizza and french fries.
This meen curry is a simple, regular, day to day sorta dish in Kerala.
A healthier alternative to fried fish.
Something that can be saved for the next day, without having to worry about the taste going bad.
In fact, this fish curry tastes
good, better, best the next day.
Like most of the other dishes from the Kerala cuisine, I learned naadan meen curry recipe from my mother-in-law.
The major problem I faced during my initial tries was that the gravy would be too watery. To fix the watery gravy issue, I would add more tomatoes.
Because I added too many tomatoes it would turn out tangy (than what I would like).
Then it suddenly hit me, the Eureka moment, and I solved the too watery gravy issue and it is a simple solution as you will see in the recipe notes.
Fish, fresh tomatoes, shallots and spices – all the ingredients so easily available back home.
Add kudampuli or fish tamarind (you can use regular tamarind too) to the equation, and you have a tangy, spicy dish.
The tastiest curry for a fish loving person to be served with rice or with kappa.
Another charm of this preparation? The earthen cookware that is used to prepare it.
The earthen pot that you see in the image below is my “steal” from my last trip.
You will be surprised to know how many clothes I used to wrap this piece of treasure to bring it safely back to the US.
For us, preparing this naadan meen curry is like being transported back to Kerala – the land of coconuts, sea food and the lush greenery.
Back to being with family.
Back to our roots.
Back to childhood memories – that beautiful place.
So, come with us, let’s transport ourselves to Kerala while enjoying this mouthwatering naadan meen curry.
There are some spices that are used in this recipe for naadan meen curry which you might find in specialty stores. I generally source my Indian spices from my local Indian store. But you can buy these online too and I am sure you will find it useful if I point you in the right direction.
- Methi Seeds also called fenugreek seeds – you need only a small pinch in this recipe, but this is a good to have staple if you are into Indian cooking.
- Kudampuli (garcinia cambogia) – is a type of tamarind that is used especially in fish curries. It imparts a smoky flavor which adds an oomph to the curry.
- Black Mustard Seeds – these are used a lot in Indian cooking for tempering the dishes in small quantities.
- Curry leaves – Of course, fresh is the best. But if it is hard to get fresh leaves every time, buy some (extra) fresh leaves when you come by them. Wash, dry and store them in your refrigerator. Use as and when needed.
Try the naadan meen curry - simple home style fish curry, no frills, no fanfare, just plain good ol' fish curry from the Kerala Cuisine. Lip smacking good!
10 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 1/2 kilo gram fish
- 4-5 (about 100 grams) shallots
- 2 (about 150 grams) tomatoes; medium sized
- 3 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to taste)
- 1.5 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric/turmeric powder/haldi
- 5-6 methi seeds (optional)
- 2 pieces kudampuli
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil; divided
- 10-12 curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- Wash and cut fish into pieces.
- Peel, wash and slice shallots.
- Wash and chop tomatoes.
- If the kudampuli is not soft, soak it in a couple of tablespoons of warm water.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a thick-bottomed pan, over medium-high heat. Add the sliced shallots and saute till translucent.
- Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and fry till aromatic.
- Lower the heat and add the spice powders - paprika, cayenne and ground turmeric. Fry the spice powders at a medium heat till aromatic.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. If required, add a few tablespoons of water and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool for 5 minutes.
- Once it is cold, transfer 3/4 of the tomato-shallots mix to a blender and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat rest of the oil in the thick-bottomed pan over medium heat and splutter mustard seeds. Then stir in the methi seeds (optional) and curry leaves.
- Add the ground paste along with the remaining 1/4 portion (the portion that was not ground), kudampuli, about a cup of water and salt. Bring to a boil
- Gently add the fish pieces and cook till the fish pieces are fully cooked (add water to get the required consistency).
- Serve hot with rice or Kappa.
More delicacies from Kerala Cuisine
One of the quintessential dishes served during a Kerala sadya, erissery has different forms and regional variations. This is my favorite version that has a touch of sweetness from the use of butternut squash. Add spices & coconut to the equation and the result is an aromatic accompaniment to your rice. Why wait for a special occasion, make some today..
Fish Curry with Coconut Milk
Kerala fish curry with coconut milk is reminiscent of everything Kerala: sea food, coconut milk, raw mango, coconut oil & spices. Oh! so rich, creamy & yum!