Fish Curry is made in so many different ways in Kerala. You can use Tamarind, Gambooge, Mangoes, Tomatoes or Vinegar as the souring agent. Here is the recipe for a simple Kerala Style Fish Curry which uses Tomatoes along with Gambooge (Kudampuli). This Tomato Fish Curry has a thick and luscious gravy.
This is a good way to prepare Mild tasting fish like Tilapia, Cod, Flounder and so on. This fish curry keeps on tasting better the longer you keep it before serving. Enjoy this fish curry with Rice or Rotis.
- Any Fish (cut into curry sized pieces) – 1/2 kg or 1 lb approx (I used Tilapia Fillets)
- Sliced Shallots – 8 to 10
- Diced Tomatoes – 1 big
- Curry Leaves – A sprig
- Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
- Kudam Puli (Gambooge/Fish Tamarind/Malabar Tamarind) – 3 or 4 small pieces
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp (Alter according to your spice tolerance)
- Kashmiri Chilly Powder – 2 tbsp (Alternatively, you can use mild Paprika Powder for nice red color)
- Fish Masala Powder – 1.5 tbsp (I used Eastern Fish Masala Powder)
- Fenugreek Powder (Uluva Podi) – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Water – as needed
- Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp (for cleaning the fish)
- Salt – to taste
For marinating the fish
- Kashmiri Chilly Powder – 2 tsp (Alternatively, you can use mild Paprika Powder)
- Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Clean and wash the fish thoroughly and cut into curry sized pieces. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to water and soak the pieces for 5 minutes to remove any unwanted smell. Drain and keep aside.
- Marinate the fish pieces with the above ingredients and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
- Soak the fish tamarind (kudampuli) in warm water for 15 minutes. Alternatively, microwave the fish tamarind with little water for 30 seconds or until soft. Wash and drain and keep aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp oil in a deep pan and splutter mustard seeds.
- Throw in the shallots and curry leaves. Saute until the shallots are translucent.
- Throw in the diced tomatoes along with little salt and cook until the tomatoes are pulpy and mashed.
- Add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
- Reduce heat and add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, kashmiri chilly powder, fish masala powder and saute for a minute or two.
- Add fenugreek powder and give it a quick stir fry. Immediately, add 1.5 to 2 cups of water and bring the gravy to a boil. You can add more water if you need more gravy.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the fish tamarind/gambooge. Continue boiling the gravy for 5 more minutes so that it thickens. Add salt to taste.
- Next, add the fish pieces to the pan and swirl the pan gently. Cook covered on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes swirling the pan occasionally.
- Open the pan and continue cooking the fish for 5 more minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and keep covered.