The tamarind in this gravy-based dish gives it a lovely tangy flavor that goes really well with plain boiled rice. In fact, that is how it is traditionally eaten.
- 1 dozen, 1" thick pieces of fish (any fish with firm white flesh)
- 7-8 dry red chillies
- Golf-ball sized lump of tamarind (soak in 2 cups hot water)
- 2 tbsps coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 small coconut grated
- 2 cups coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- 3 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies
- 2 medium-sized onions ground to a paste
- 1 large tomato chopped fine
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- Use a mortar and pestle to pound the dry red chillies into a coarse paste with a teaspoon of water.
- Squeeze the soaked tamarind well to release all the pulp from it. Strain to get thick tamarind juice and discard the pith and seeds.
- Mix the red chilli paste and tamarind juice with the coriander and turmeric powders and salt to taste. Also add the grated coconut and half the coconut milk. Mix well.
- Put the pieces of fish in a large, flat dish and pour the above mixture over it to cover. Make sure all the pieces are coated. Marinate for 3 hours.
- Heat the cooking oil in a deep pan, on a medium flame till hot. Add the curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, green chillies. Fry till spluttering stops.
- Now add half the onion paste. Fry till the onion begins to brown very slightly.
- Add the chopped tomato. Fry till the masala starts to release its oil and turn darker. Stir frequently while frying.
- Now add the fish marinade and stir. Bring to a boil (on medium heat). Add the remaining onion paste, the garlic paste, pepper, cumin and remaining coconut milk.
- Simmer and cook till oil begins to appear on top of the gravy. Add the pieces of fish now and cook till done. If stirring, do so very gently to avoid breaking the pieces of fish.
- Turn off heat and serve South Indian Fish Curry with plain boiled rice.