Kerala fish curry recipe, learn to make Kottayam style Kerala fish curry/ Nadan fish curry with step by step pictures.
Nadan Meen Curry or Kerala Fish Curry is a traditional fish curry of Kerala otherwise known as Kottayam Fish Curry or Kerala Meen Curry, which is spicy and made with "Kudam puli" or Garcinia cambogia. Kudam puli is noted for its health benefits and traditionally used in fish curries, hence it also has the name "Meen Puli" or "Fish Tamarind".
It is said, fish curry made with kudam puli stays fresh longer, traditionally this fish curry is made in a "man chatti" or clay pot. I used my black clay "chatti" ....you can also use the most common brown man chatti. Kudampuli, shallots, and curry leaves gives it its authentic taste though you can substitute it with onion....but the taste may vary slightly.
If you ever visit Kottayam or Kuttanad or Kumarakom....you should always ask for "meen pattichathu" though it is a bit spicy .....it is a must try!! This is also a combination with boiled tapioca or kappa puzhungiyathu.
This recipe has been handed down from generations ...I practically grow up with this curry and so did my cousins and relatives.... in most Syrian Christian homes it is prepared almost every day. It is always said that this curry taste better the next day....so amma always says that let it sit in the "Meen Chatti" for a day, so that the fish gets absorbed by the "kudampuli" and the spices....and the gravy will get a little thick once it has cooled down.
You will be astonished at the amount of Kashmiri chilly used in this recipe....and if you like spicy food...you will love this to bits.
I have to mention, that a very encouraging reader, Alex Mathew, suggested that I make step by step method for this fish curry....with the correct amount of water etc...thank you Alex for giving me this suggestion which I hope will help all the novice cooks.....and ofcourse bachelors.
Kerala fish curry/ Nadan fish curry with step by step pictures:
Here are the stars! the cleaned fish, cheriya ulli or shallots, curry leaves, green chilli, ginger, garlic, and kudam puli.
In half cup water, soak the cleaned and washed kudam puli....keep aside.
Heat a "manchatti" claypot or a nonstick pan with 2 tbsp pf coconut oil, add in 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds and 1/2 tsp mustard seeds...allow it to splutter.
Add in the sliced shallots, ginger-garlic, green chilli, curry leaves.....lightly saute it on medium flame.
You need to saute it till lit starts to get slightly brown...remember that shallots brown pretty fast compared to onions.
Put the fire on medium, add in the 4 tbsp of Kashmiri Chilly Powder (I used all of 4 tbsp, but if you are not so spicy reduce 1 tbsp).
Remember the fire is on low or else the red chilly will get burnt.....mix them all.
Keep stirring or mixing until the raw flavor diminishes....your are bound to sneeze and cough...so open the windows, turn on the exhaust fan or chimney :)
The stirring continues for probably, somewhere between 5 to 7 min.....taking care not to burn it...so the fire is on low and stir.
I hope my camera is doing justice....just wanted to show you how the color has slightly changed to a darker red....
Add in the soaked kudampuli along with the water.
Add in the rest of the water...about 1 1/4 cup.....adjust accordingly.
Put the flame on high, mix well add salt.
Once it starts boiling add the fish, gently lay them.
I like to spring some extra curry leaves for added flavor ...as the flavor of the raw curry leaves also get absorbed into the curry......this is optional though...(My grandma used to sprinkle a fat pinch of fresh pepper powder too at this stage, it is optional)
Cover and cook on low or medium flame....for about 10-15 min...in between do check whether the fish gets sticked to the pan...so it is advisable to swirl the pan or stir slowly with a spoon taking care not to break the fish. Once done... open, and sprinkle a fat pinch of fenugreek (uluva podi) powder and a drizzle of coconut oil....switch off the fire. Allow it to cool down....and the gravy will thicken a bit too.
Enjoy fish curry with hot rice.
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