Meen peera; meen pattichathu is an everyday fish curry where fresh fish is cooked with fresh coconut scrapings, along with "kudampuli" or fish tamarind.....and lightly drizzled with fresh coconut oil. A very healthy curry so very country style a.k.a "nadan".
Anchovies (netholi) and baby sardines (mathi)are aplenty during monsoon season, though small fish are best suited for meen peera pattichathu, sometimes I make with slightly larger sardines also (I cut them into smaller pieces) .
Ammachi, my grandmother never used to grind the freshly scarped coconut for this curry; she used to say that ...put everything in the chatti (earthen vessel) and then simply mix everything with your hand....and that makes the curry taste better!! at least that is what Valiayammachi (my great-grand mom) used to tell her.....this has been in the family and 4 generations.... I am still making it as it was made by my great grandmother....I use earthen pan "meen chatt" though my chatti is black in color....made from a special kind of mud it seems...but I am traditional in a modern world!! And yes I do not microwave!! Have you noticed that I have not posted atleast one microwave recipe here...its always pots and pans for me ....I repeat, I am the most traditional person you can ever find!! and I love it that way!!
Eighteen years ago, as a young bride....I was astonished to find my mother-in-law cooking meen peera in the same manner ammachi and amma makes....not to mention, almost the same goes with most of the curries...well that is the best part of belonging to the Knanaya community!!
Kudampuli or Fish tamarind
Use fresh fish with fresh coconut scrapings.
You can substitute kudampuli/tamarind with irumban puli or raw mango.
Some like to coarsely grind the coconut, but I'd like to stick to my ammachi's version.
Author: Nisa Homey
Serves: 2 to 3.
Anchovies: 500 gms, cleaned (use whole, heads removed).
Green Chillies: 8-14, chopped (depending on your taste increase or decrease).
Garlic: 5-6 cloves, slit.
Ginger: 1 inch, slice into small pieces.
Shallots: A handful, sliced OR you can use 1 medium sized onion; like I have used here...though shallots gives the best result....but excuses are for lazy hand like mine :)
Freshly scraped coconut: About 1 -1 1/2 cup.
Water: 1/2 cup
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp.
Salt: About 1 tsp, increase or decrease depending on your taste.
Curry leaves: Lots and lots of them, okay...just 2 springs!!
I know you must be counting the chillies....sorry, but I am a very spicy person...wanna see me munching on them raw!!! jokes apart....decrease to your
Chop or slice shallots/onions and ginger into thins......into an earthen pan (manchatti) preferably or into any of your favorite pan.
Top it with sliced green chillies...
Then the kudampuli, curry leaves follows...
Then the fish, salt, and turmeric....
And lastly the fresh coconut scrapings and half cup of water.
Mix everything together with good old hands.....ammachi used to say....mixing with hands makes a meal more tastier OR if you do not want to dirty your manicured hands....good old spoon will be fine too.....time to put the manchatti/pan on the stove, cover the pan with a lid ....once it starts to boil, simmer for 15-20 minutes....though small fish gets cooked fast, simmering for sometime is necessary for the kudampuli to release its sourness ....to blend with the curry.... this curry should be semi dry when cooked.
Lastly, drizzle a tbsp of oil ...more curry leaves if you love them.....and cover the pan.....switch off fire. Keep them covered until ready to serve.
This curry is probably one of the most lightest fish curry....with just a tablespoon of good old coconut oil....try it and you will love it with hot steaming rice.
Video Recipe With Small Sardines
Did you like this recipe, here are few Kerala-style-nadan-fish-curries....
Irumbanpuli itta meen curry
Kerala Style Fish Mappas (fish coconut in coconut milk)
Spicy Fish Fry.