June 4, 2010

Fish Curry Variations

Devidas & Pushpa Prabhu

Slice of Seer fish with Rice

I have had the basic recipe on this blog for 5 years now.  Finally I made fish/prawn curries under my parents supervision several times over a fortnight and learnt a few variations too.   As mentioned earlier the Bedgee mirsange (Red Chillies) and Teppal (Tirphal) are key elements.

Dry Red Chillies

For all 3 variations
1/2 Kg Fish/Prawns
1/2 Coconut (grated)
12-15 red chilies (lightly roasted)
1/4 teaspoon haldi powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
Salt to taste

Variation 1  the original
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (lightly roasted)
1 large onion
3/4 of the onion chopped and set aside.  1/4 put in with the coconut and grind.  the coriander seeds roasted and added to the coconut paste.  Fry the onions till golden brown before adding the paste to it.  This variation used by my mother for Prawns and Pomfret.


Variation 2 with Teppal (Tirphal)
Skip the fried onions and coriander seeds in the paste for this variation
Set aside 15pcs of Teppal in a katori with hot water for 1/ 2 an hr.  Then crush the seeds with a pestle so that the flavour mixes with the water.  Dont turn it into a paste.  Lightly crush.   And add along with coconut paste to the curry.  Remember not to eat these as they have been added just for the flavour and aroma.   Used mostly with stronger smelling fish like Mackerel and Seer.

Variation 3 with  Onion / Ginger and Garlic
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1" pc ginger grated
6-10 garlic pods chopped small
fry the onions till golden brown.  Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a few more minutes.  Then jump to the step of adding the paste.  Also add a tablespoon of coconut oil after adding the paste. Used with stronger smelling fish like Mackerel and Seer.

For all variations...
1. Clean and cut fish into pieces. Put aside with salt and haldi (note the fish needs to be washed before it is added to the curry)
2. Grind coconut and spices into a fine paste (should have the consistency of a gravy)
3. Fry onion in a pan to golden brown (skip for variation 2)
4. Add coconut paste to the onions and bring to a boil
5. Add prawns and cook for 5 minutes (till prawns are cooked and it doesnt take long max. 10mins!!) In the case of fish you could wait for the oil to rise to the surface.

A couple of references for Teppal and the special Red Chillies with some recipes
1. Tirphal
2. Teppal - 1 and 2
3. aka Szechuan Pepper
4. Bedgee ( Red Chilli )
5. List of variety of Indian Chillies

June 1, 2010

Arachuvitte Sambar

Ramesh Jayaraman

Serves two
1 sm katori of Toor Dal boiled till soft and set aside.

Take a tsp of Tamarind Paste in a bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of hot water and set aside.   Add a few tablespoons of hot water to a tsp of uncooked rice in another katori and set aside

Any one Vegetable chopped in large pieces - Brinjal, Radish, Drumsticks, Capsicum, baby onions or Ash Gourd - 10-15 small pieces

In a saucepan saute the vegetable along with a few curry leaves for 5 minutes.  Add the tamarind, a tsp of salt and 500ml of water bring it to a boil and then let it simmer till the level of water reduces by half.

In the meantime prepare the Paste
5 Red chillies
1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
6-7 pcs Methi Seeds ( excess makes the sambar bitter )
1 tsp Uncooked Rice pre soaked in hot water
1 Tbsp Heaped Grated Coconut
1 Pinch of Asafoteida

Set aside the soaked rice and coconut.  Roast the rest of the ingredients with a few drops of oil and then grind all them together into a paste and set aside.

Once the tamarind water reduces by half, add the boiled toor dal and the paste and bring it to a boil once more and take off the flame.

The last thing that needs doing is a tadka.  Take a tsp of oil (or ghee) in a small kadai.  When it is hot add a tsp of mustard seeds.  When they start to splutter add 5-6 Curry leaves and a pinch of Asafoteida (Hing).  Remove from the flame and add to the Sambar.  Close the lid on the Sambar to retain the aroma of the tadka.