Hello, hello, did you all miss me? 😀 I have been quite unwell for the past fortnight or so, and cooking/baking has been put on hold, whilst I spent my time sleeping, or trying to sleep. Today, after a long break, I was well enough to cook, and I wanted to eat something spicy, tangy and not the regular fish curry at all.
A family friend sent over some pomfret fishes over, and I took this as a signal to make a curry that was taught to us by our old neighbour back in Mumbai. Joseph aunty, as I’d always called her was a fantastic cook. A Catholic from Kerala, she was someone who’d whip up the fanciest of dishes in no time, and of course, everything special was sent over to ours for me specially 😀 Our neighbours for 16 years, their family is someone I miss every single day…and one of my favourites was this dish that she used to send over; a big plate full of pomfret in this hair-raising spicy curry that we’d slurp over at lunch.
I cannot talk about which region of Kerala this dish hails from, but it’s the way aunty cooked it, and so have I (except for substituting the Kudampuli with Tamarind)
Pomfret Curry a la Joseph-aunty 🙂
- Pomfret – 6 whole (cut into medium-sized pieces if they’re larger than your palm)
- Onion – 2, sliced
- Garlic flakes – 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice – of 1 lemon
- Kudampuli (Gambooge) or replace with Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
- Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 2 tsp
- Kashmiri Red chili powder – 2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Curry leaves – a handful
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Coconut or refined oil – 1/4 cup or about 4 to 5 tbsp
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Garlic cloves – 8 to 10
- Tomato – 1 medium
- Dry red chilies – 6 to 8, soaked in hot water, de-seeded
- Fresh Coconut – 1 cup pack, grated
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Wash the fish very well, and make slits, 3 on each side, if using whole.
- Rub lemon juice and salt, and keep aside to marinate for 30 mins.
- Soak the Kudampuli or Tamarind in hot water for 15 mins.
- When soft, take out the pulp carefully, strain and keep aside.
- Dry roast the coconut and fenugreek seeds. Cool.
- Grind to a paste the ingredients listed under grind together, until a smooth paste is formed. Keep aside.
- Heat a thick-bottomed pan or kadhai, and let the oil smoke.
- Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.
- To this, add the sliced onions, and fry until translucent.
- Add the curry leaves.
- Now add the masala paste, and season with spices.
- Fry the masala for 3 to 4 minutes until it oozes out oil, and then add the tamarind paste.
- Carefully, add the fish, and cover with masala.
- Cover the pan for 3 to 5 minutes, and let fish steep in masala.
- After 5 minutes, check and flip fish over.
- Add a cup of water, or enough to submerge the fish, and cook on a medium-high flame until fish is cooked through, and gravy is reduced. (Might take between 7 to 10 mins depending on size of fish)
- Serve with piping hot boiled rice.