Saturday, February 23, 2013

Madurai Meen Kuzhambu / Fish Curry

     If someone comes over and (dares enough to:-))asks me what is it that turns me ON,i would straight away without a second thought will say 'Meen Kuzhambu' :-).It has been my 'Taraka Mantra' ever since i was a kid.It has been my all time favourites.I would trade anything in this world for that one...okay not one may be....atleast 20-30 urundais(rice balls mixed with fish curry).
     Relishing this elixir was a family event at home.I remember sitting down just outside the kitchen in a big round as a family,right from kids to adults, to get one big mouthful of meen kuzhambu from my awwa(grandmother) for every round.I had always fought for the seat right next to her so that i would get the first urundai.And I would pray so hard that i should get the largest ones.....selfish huh....oh come'on i was only a kid.Well,i should admit,given a chance now,i will pray for the same ;-)....
     Turning back,I remember my brothers and i sittting together for the event, when we were in our teens.Each one of them secretly counted the number of rice balls i ate and bet on me if i would take one more of them after im full.I win ....at the cost of a tummy ache:-).Those were wonderful memories sure to be treasured for a lifetime.



I can write about this all day.But to serve the purpose of this post,Let us get to the recipe of this wonder kuzhambu now.While cooking fish,one should be very careful to wash it properly.Atleast wash 2 to 3 times under running water and make sure to take out all the waste which might give a foul smell to the curry.I remember my mother cleaning the fish pieces for quiet some time and then adding a little turmeric powder and rock salt immediately to them to take the smell away.
I used Tilapia(Neyimeen) which i get in US.But there are few many other fishes that can be used for gravy like Red Snapper(Sankara),Butterfish(Viraal),Catfish(Keluthi).Feel free to correct me if im wrong.

Ingredients:
Fish - 250 gms(i use very few pieces for gravy as everybody here loves fry)
Shallots/Small onions - 10 to 15
Tomato - 1 medium
Garlic pods - 5
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Fish curry powder - 1 tsp(optional/if u dont have this...just add any sambar powder)
Salt - as required
Oil - 3 tbsp (preferably gingeley oil)

To grind:(Masala Paste)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Pepper(whole) - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp or Red chillies - 2
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp or Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Shallots - 5
Garlic - 3
#Grind the above with a little water to make it into a fine paste

To season:
Fenugreek seeds/powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds+Urud Dal - 1/4 tsp
Thaalippu Vadagam - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1/2 sprig(reserve the other half of the sprig for later)

Marinating Fish:
Cut fish to desired pieces and Add a little Turmeric powder, Chili powder and Salt to the fish pieces and marinate them in the refrigirator for half an hour before cooking

Making Fish Masala Mix:
In one and a half glass of water,add 1 tsp red chili powder,1 tsp of coriander powder, the tamarind extract with a little salt.Taste and check for the balance.




Preparation:
1.In a kadai,add oil.Once it heats up,add the ingredients in 'To Season' one after another making sure not to burn them.
2.Add garlic pods and saute them for a minute
3.Add cut shallots and fry till translucent.Add a little salt to speed up the frying process


4.Add turmeric powder,1 tsp of red chili powder,1/2 tsp of coriander powder and 1 tsp fish curry powder
5.Add the ground paste and fry till the rw smell drifts away.Then add tomato and saute till the oil oozes out at the ends.



6.Now pour the Fish Masala Mix into the kadai and bring it to a boil or to your desired consistency(i neither like it too thick nor too thin.i just wait until oil comes out at the rim)



7.After you are satisfied with the consistency of the fish curry,add the second half of the curry leaves along with the fish pieces to the gravy
8.Fish takes very little time to get cooked.So make sure you dont cook for too long and break them.Finally garnish with some coriander leaves which is optional




Sooper Dooper...yummy tummy meen kuzhambu is ready for the table.Serve it with hot rice,soft idlis or appams.They taste divine with anything u can name:-).My most favourite combination is steamed rice and Meen Varuval / Fish Fry.




Tips
#While grinding,you can roast the ingredients in a little oil.This gives a different flavor all together
#Do not use coconut as the sweetness spoils the tangyness and the heat of the curry(but the kerala fish curry never goes without coconut milk)
#The longer time you allow the mixture to boil till you see traces of oil coming out before dropping the raw pieces of fish,the better would be your gravy
#As a matter of fact,i love my curry with some tender green brinjal in it.I got this from my family and i guess this has to do something with the S'porean style as i heard my mother encountered pieces of ladys finger in fish curry when my brother n family invited her recently.



Happy dining!
Guten Appetit!




49 comments:

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    1. Hi there...
      Wish I cud help you.but I dont find your website or blog.if u can ask specific questions...would be glad to answer.

      Delete
  2. Hi,,, thanks for this wonderful recipe...the curry came out very well.

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    1. Glad you liked it.thanks for the feedback:)

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    2. Nice recipe :-) I tried it finally!!!! and the taste is awesome. Thanks for sharing this, Priya.

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    3. Sooper sugan:).im glad u tried it, liked it and more than thay have sent me a feedback.nice of u :)

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  3. Priya r u fem mdu which part in mdu

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  4. Tried ur recipe..came out really well..Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. Looks wow!! I am gonna try it tomorrow. Will post how it turned out

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    1. hahaha.....than u so much lady:-).Do try n let me know if you liked it!!!

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  6. Dear Priya,
    I am married for a year now. I made this recipe with Tilapia fish... You know what ? My husband said that this is the only dish that was so impressive to him and close to his heart of all that recipes I had made. So did I feel too...

    Such an indomitable taste ! I was so far in the belief that meen kuzhambu would taste the best only the next day, but this was an exception !!!
    I shared this recipe with my friends too ... :)

    Highly appreciate it.... Keep up your good work... !!!

    Note: This is the first time I'm giving my comment to a recipe in my life :)

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    1. Dear Lakshmi,
      Your comment means a lot to me.This is the first time someone has written their heart out.Complimenting someone with an open heart is rare.Thank u so much for doing that.I really appriecate it.Meen Kuzhambu as u would have read is my most favourite dish.And after a long trials of different method...i stuck on to this.Im only glad u n ur hubby loved it.
      Do come down for more recipes or if u want something specific let me know!:-)

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  9. Sure Priya... I'll keep coming back :) Thanks !

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  10. Wonderful...it's a keep in my kitchen ...thanks a lot for this superb recipe....turn out excelllent...finger licking good

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  11. Superb recipe...a sure to keep in my kitchen list.....thank you so much for the wonderful recipe dear

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    1. Excellent my dear Prabha :-).Im honored!
      Thanks n Take care.

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  12. Hi Priya,

    Was looking for a nice fish curry recipe and got it here..

    Myself, my husband n my frnds liked it a lot..have tried it a few times and it was really yummy..its their favo now..

    Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe..looking forward for your recipes..

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    1. Thanks a heap girl!:-).Im glad you all liked it

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  13. I favour the idea of having incredients such as okra or egg plant. If i cook always i add those veggie. Also lemons instead of traditional tamarind would be healthy choice. Consuming indian fish curry after 12 hours would be tastier than first meal. Thanks priya..

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    1. Ah ! Finally i have someone who likes the veggie idea as i do.And thank you for you alternatives.Will sure give them a try.Hameed, i wish i could wait for 12 hours to finish the last bit of it ;-).But my mom loves it that way.Thanks again for your valuable comment.Best wishes!!!

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  15. i am a mallu who married to a tamil guy..... it was years of hardwork for me to get the taste of tamilnadu and the taste of my hus... early morning i will sit in google and will c many blogs and try one by one... infact i had try many many recipes. but none came up sastify my hus taste buds.... bt your recipe is really great.....nw also ur fishcurry is ready in my table..... really great for sharing ur recipes with other.... may god bless u

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    1. My compliments for being a wonderful wife :-).And thank you for your nice comment.Take care

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  16. Awesome Priya..looks really yummy, will definitely try it..btw what do you mean by thallipu vadagam?

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  17. Awesome Priya..this looks really yummy and will definitely try it out...btw what do you mean by thallipu vadagam?

    Keep up the good work. Cheers!

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    1. Thank you Abhilasha :-). This is a south indian style fish curry.Will be sour.Thallipu vadagam is one of the spices used in tadka.You wont get it anywhere other than from Tamilnadu.Not a mandatory ingredient.Adds a nice aroma to the curry.

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  18. looks yummy priya... what kind of fish are suitable for this gravy? i know very little about non veg.

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    1. Hello Selvamkokila, i liked snapper fish in gavy.Cat fish is also a great choice.Never use salmon though.Please try n let me know how you liked it.

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  19. i used salmon once but my gravy didn't turn good.. then i used tilapia and cat fish too
    long back.but i am not really satisfied with the output.... as you mentioned the fries are really good.

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    1. Hi koks, yes i too made the mistake of using salmon for the very first time.Never try it again.doesnt blend with gravy,I liked red/yellow snapper better.Give it a try if u get it in your place.thanks for the comments.should look into ur blog :-)

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  20. Hi Priya ! This fish curry is the best ever prepared.. i tried more than 10 methods since my college days.. this is the best tried one and came out very superbbbb.... my hubby appreciated and asking me to try with nethili fish today... thanx dear.. keep posting other recipes of Madurai..

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    1. So glad to know Nini :-).Thank you!!! If using nethili fish, reduce the amount of ground masala to half.

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  21. Hi Priya u didn't mention how much tamarind should be used. Can u pl

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    1. The basic measurement is a lemon sized ball soaked in water.But i usually taste it after mixing tamarind and powders together before pouring the mix in kadai.That way i know the level of sourness needed.Fish curry always needs a little extra sourness n a little extra heat(chilli powder).Hope you can try it.Let me know how it truned out.Thank you!

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  22. Hi Priya,
    First of all Hats off to you yar for this awesome recipe that came out very well when tried. My Husband generally dont prefer to have this Red Snapper fish and this recipe made him to appreciate me and ask me some more. Thanks a lot once again. Keep us posted on more interesting recipes like this and my best wishes toyou

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  24. nice all receipies. since i am vegetarian. but i want to cook for my children. so all of the receipies are super. first i try meen kulampu in coming week.

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    1. You are a wonderful mom.Go for it.Let me know how it came out.

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  26. hey priya,
    This meen kuzhambu was awesome yar. thank you a lot for posting such a wonderful dish....

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    1. Thank you, Renu! wonderful to know you liked it :)

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  27. Hi thanks for posting ur fish curry recipe.Can u pls mention how many people can be served with this measurement?

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    1. Hi Megha, thank you for visiting the blog. You can serve 3 - 4 people, for a meal, generously with this recipe. But if you want to save it for later, you might have to consider increasing the measurement.

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