Every time I make this particular fish curry, I sing this song (thanks to my friend Sindhu for agreeing to sing this for me; and while you are at the soundcloud site, don't forget to listen to some of the awesome songs she has recorded).
Initially, I wanted my darling sis-in-law to sing this for me. But she is already doing a lot for this website - from being a recipe provider & reviewer to an "assistant-website-promoter". If I ask her to sing (she says the only songs she sings these days are "Twinkle Twinkle little star", and "Old McDonald had a farm" for her two toddlers), she will probably quit being my sis-in-law 🙂 . So I gave her a little rest and asked my friend Sindhu to sing it for me.
This song celebrates Kerala style fish recipes among many other Kerala dishes. The heroine is tempting the hero to come for lunch by listing the dishes she has prepared - Ayala Porichathu (Indian Mackerel fry), Karimeen Varuthathu (Green Chromide or Pearlspot fry), Chemmeen Curry (Prawns Curry) and rice. One of the key ingredients used in the chemmeen curry is Kudampuli (Kokum or Garcinia Indica).
Now, the "I sing" part needs an explanation - a lot of explanation.
When I say I sing, I never mean I sing aloud. The song goes in a repeat loop in my head. And in my head, it is so perfect that I can give all the Indian female playback singers (from Rajkumari Dubey to Shreya Ghosal) a run for their money. But when it comes "out", well.. that is a whole different story. Good luck to all the people around. My sister says that even the donkeys bray better 🙂 . And unfortunately, I cannot deny.
But, there have been instances where I was forced to sing in front of an audience. I take this opportunity to apologize to whoever had the "privilege" of listening to me. I sympathize with you. One such instance was soon after my marriage. I am married into a family of singers - the exceptions are yours-truly and my father-in-law. My husband and my sister-in-law are trained classical singers and my mom-in-law sings occasionally. A day after our marriage, my husband's cousins gently & lovingly bullied me into singing in front of everyone (only if they knew what they were asking for....). I didn't have a choice and sang the first stanza of one of the then famous Hindi songs. I am sure those few seconds would have felt like a lifetime of torture to my "audience". And let me tell you, it has been more than a decade of blissful married life, but no one in my husband's family has asked me to sing again. I guess they are quick learners 🙂 .
This fish curry is typically made with Ayala (or Indian Mackerel). I have used Mahi Mahi fillet cut into cubes instead. This spicy fish curry is a good accompaniment to rice - especially the boiled rice available in Kerala/Mangalore.
Did you know?
Kokum is indigenous to the Western Ghat region in India. Colloquial names include Kokum, Kudampuli, bhirinda etc. Mainly used in cooking to give an acidic taste and impart a red hue to the dish, it also has uses in Ayurvedic medicine. It is used as a spice as well as to aid digestion and treat rashes. [Sources: ValueFoodInfo, LiveStrong,Science Direct].
- 500 gm Mahi Mahi Fillet, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1-2 Kokum or Kudampuli Pieces
- 1 Serrano Pepper or to taste.
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 2 Roma Tomatoes or any other medium sized tomatoes.
- ½ cup Grated Coconut
- 1 inch piece Ginger, washed & peeled
- 4-5 Curry Leaves
- Chopping Boards, for fish and vegetables
- Sharp Knives
- Medium sized pot
- Food processor/ Indian style mixer grinder
- Ladle (optional)
- Kitchen Towel (Optional)
- In the cooking pot, add the fish pieces, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, turmeric and salt and mix well. Marinate for 10 minutes.
- While the fish pieces are left to marinate, roughly chop the tomatoes and slit the Serrano pepper length wise. If the kokum you have is dry, soak it in a little water.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, Serrano pepper, and kokum to the marinated fish pieces, add enough water to cook the fish.
- Grind coconut and ginger with very little water into a smooth paste using a food processor or indian style mixer grinder.
- Once the fish pieces are cooked, add the ground coconut paste. Add more water (if required) to adjust the consistency and also adjust the spices.
- Bring to a boil and garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice.
Preparation time includes 10 minutes of marination.
If the kokam or kudampuli is dry, soak it in a little water. Add the water along with the kokum to the marinated pieces.
Do not stir the fish pieces too much, because they will break. If you have to stir, lift the pot with the help of kitchen towel, and swirl it around.
Unfortunately, the website I use to calculate the nutritional value, does not recognize Kokum, so when calculating the nutritional information, Kokum had to be omitted.