Kerala Fish Curry

Kerala Fish Curry

Kerala, on the south western tip of India is known for vegetarian dishes but the coastline also provides much in the way of fish and seafood. A Kerala fish curry has many versions - as many as there are households but this version is super light with an absence of nuts and coconut cream. This makes it no less temping and delicious.

Traditionally made in a clay pot Kerala fish curry typically uses spices like ginger, fenugreek, turmeric and fennel seed. This version is sweetened with mango puree that balances the heat nicely. A couple of decades ago, both the wealthy and poor of Kerala would eat this dish but now with increasing costs of fish due to demand, poorer families do without or use less expensive fish like mackerel and sardines.

This version was given to me by a Dear Reader Prerana @piningforlayla. I couldn't wait to make it as it is something that I've eaten at restaurants and very much enjoyed. She linked me to a website and while the recipe was delicious, I felt that the raw onion taste dominated a bit so I reworked the recipe to cook the onions a bit more. I took a bite and it was heavenly delicious and full of goodness. If you love full bodied and flavoured curries that are also a bit lighter on the waistline, then this is for you. You can see that there's hardly any fat added to it apart from some coconut meat and a bit of coconut oil for frying the onions.

By now you may have heard of The Secret-it was on Oprah a few years ago. It involves putting something out to the universe only to have the universe answer it. As much as I believe in the after-life, premonitions and intuition I wasn't completely convinced about this.

Kerala Fish Curry

It was mid December last year. A reader had sent me a lovely message about the Japan posts that I wrote about a few years ago. I realised that it had been far too long between visits to one of my favourite countries so I said to Mr NQN that I thought that we should go back to Japan for a writing trip in 2016. He's very easy going so he agreed and it was put to the back of my mind as something to look at mid-year.

Around this time I asked my friend FreakyFlier to write a story about how to manage your points. I asked him if there was anyone around that offered a service that looked after your points. He said he hadn't heard of any. I sat on the story for a while, not quite ready to push publish.

Also around this time, a couple of readers told me about an up and coming area that I just had to visit. I put it on my list on "to dos" (it's a looong list) and thought that I should one day do a story on that area. I just needed to get a list of good eateries together.

The a month later mid January something funny happened. I was contacted by the JNTO (Japan National Tourist Organisation). They asked if I wanted to visit Japan! And then on the very same day a man contacted me via Linked in. I looked at his profile and saw that he ran a business looking after frequent flyer points! And then someone from the up and coming destination contacted me with a list of places that she thought I should visit!

Kerala Fish Curry

It happened so fast and all on the one day that I was bursting to tell Mr NQN when he returned home. Even non-believer Mr NQN was a bit stunned by the force of the universe! So I'm putting it out there. I'd love to visit India and Sri Lanka one day. I'd love to eat this curry on the shores of Kerala.

Because you never know right? Dreams can definitely come true!

So tell me Dear Reader, do you believe in The Secret? Have you ever put something out there for it to come true? What would be your current travel dream or dream? Put it out there! You never know what might happen :) x

Kerala Fish Curry

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Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 500g/1.1lbs white fish (I used monk fish which has a thick, firm fillet that won't disintegrate)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • 3 medium sized red onions, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 mango, peeled
  • 1/2 cup meat from a young coconut
  • 1.5 cups water, divided
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves

Step 1 - Cut the fish into inch wide slices and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Drain and put aside.

Step 2 - In a chopper, chop the onions, garlic and ginger. Place in a bowl. Then place the tomato, mango, green chillies, coconut meat and process with 1/2 cup of water to form a paste.

Kerala Fish Curry

Step 3 - Heat a pot to medium heat. Add the mustard seeds to the dry pan and allow to pop. Remove and set aside. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil and cook the onion, garlic and ginger mix until translucent. Add the turmeric, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves. Then add the tomato puree to the pot and 1 cup of water. Heat until boiling and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add salt for seasoning and stir well. Add mustard seeds back in.

Step 4 - ADd the pieces of fish making sure not to stir too much as you don't want to break up. Simmer for 5-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow flavours to develop for at last 2 hours before serving with rice.

Turmeric Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 inches turmeric root, peeled and finely chopped

Step 1 - Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add salt and turmeric root and add 2 1/4 cups boiling water from a kettle. Place on high heat until simmering, then knock down the heat until very low (1 out of 10) and steam for 15-20 minutes. The turmeric will colour the rice.

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