Friday, June 3, 2016

Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut

There are a lot more other wonders behind the curtain of idlis, dosas and sambhar!! But according to some recent facts the process of fermenting the batter and then cooking with it is not very ancient. And there is speculation that whether this is of Indian origin or not. And lately I came to know that Samosa...our very own singara does not have an Indian origin. :( Then a few days ago...I came across some vintage Bengali cookbooks...and that just made this whole point a lot more clear that how much our cuisine and eating habits had been and is still being affected by the then colonization and now globalization.

how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

A particular recipe that I found common in those two books is “Aloo Potoler Muffin”...Here the potatoes are first boiled and mashed and sautéed with some spices. Then a filling was made of the pointed gourd. After that two round shaped tortillas are made from the mashed potatoes. A little of that pointed gourd filling was placed on top of one tortilla and another one is placed on top of that. The edges are pressed and this whole ravioli like thing is then dipped in whisked eggs and then rolled over some bread crumbs. Finally they were deep fries...and served with rice and dal.

how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add whole cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns to the oil.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add garlic, onion and dry red chillies. Cook until the onions become translucent.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add tomatoes and cook until mushy.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and grated coconut. Cook for a good 2-3 minutes.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Cook until dry and the texture resembles coarse paste.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Grind that to a fine and smooth paste.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Heat oil and add onions, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Cook until lightly golden.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the tomato wedges.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the prepared paste.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Mix well and add salt and water.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Add the fishes and cook covered until the fish becomes soft and tender.
how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures
Open the lid and simmer until curry thickens. Finis off with a handful of fresh coriander leaves.
The whole thing appears to be a lot like a stuffed aloo tikki but from where did it inherited its name muffin...iis still a mystery for me. I was digging more but then my husband came back from office and our driver handed me over a huge plastic bag full of small coconuts. I reserved the water as the coconuts were almost baby coconuts....or Daab, as we call it in Bengali. And started thinking that how should I put them to use. Right then...I came over this beautiful Chettinad Fish curry in a magazine...and the deed was sealed.

how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut
Serves 4-6

how to cook Chettinad Fish Curry with Coconut recipe and preparation with step by step pictures

Ingredients:
For the Masala Mix:
1 small onion chopped
1 tomato – chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
A few black peppercorns
5 fat cloves of garlic
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
½ cup of grated coconut
Salt
1 tbsp oil

For the Curry:
6 pieces of fish
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – cut into 4 wedges
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chillies – chopped
A few curry leaves
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
Salt
2-3 tbsp oil

Method:
First make the masala paste.
In a kadai or saucepan heat oil and add in the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns. Sauté them for some seconds and then add dry red chillies and chopped onions to them. Sprinkle some salt and cook the onions until translucent.
Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become mushy.
Sprinkle the turmeric and red chilli powder and mix well.
Cook the spices for another 2 minutes.
Add the grated coconut to them and cook on medium flame for 3-5 minutes more or until the mixtures resembles a coarse paste like consistency.
Transfer them to a bowl and let it cool down a bit.
After the mixture cools down, grind this masalas into a fine paste.
Keep aside.
Heat the rest of the oil in the same kadai / saucepan and temper it with mustard seeds.
Then add chopped onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
Sauté for a minute or so and add the chopped onions to them.
Cook the onions until translucent and add the ginger garlic paste.
Mix well and cook until the raw garlic flavour is gone.
Now add the tomatoes and the masala paste.
Mix the masala paste with the onions and tomatoes and pour 2 cups of water.
Throw in the fishes into the curry and put cover.
Cook covered for 10-12 minutes and then open the lid to give a gentle stir.
Cover the lid again and cook for another 10 minutes.
The fishes should be cooked by now but still check to be sure.
Simmer the curry on medium flame so that the sauce thickens and the oil starts to float on top of it.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Finish off with the coriander leaves and serve hot with plain white rice.

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