Fish is an integral part of Kerala Cuisine. There are hundreds of variations for Kerala Fish curry. Some use Kudam Puli (Gambooge/Malabar Tamarind/Fish Tamarind), while others use tamarind or tomatoes. Some prefer it with Coconut Milk. Others roast and grind Coconut and so on. Here is the recipe for Fish Curry With Kudam Puli which uses roasted shallots and spice powders. I have used Tilapia in this recipe. The roasted shallots and powders impart a nice taste to the Tilapia. You can use this recipe with any Fish. Keep this curry for at least 5 hours before serving so that the gravy absorbs all flavors.
- Fish – 1 lb (I used Tilapia fillets)
- Kudam Puli (Fish Tamarind/Gambooge) – 2 pieces
- Kunjulli (Shallots) – 3 or 4
- Red Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Paprika Powder – 1/2 tbsp
- Fish Masala Powder -1 tbsp
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Sliced Onion – 1 large
- Slit Green Chillies – 3
- Garlic Cloves (finely chopped) – 4 or 5
- Ginger (finely Sliced) – 2 tbsp
- Fenugreek Powder (Uluva podi) – 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves – A sprig
- Cilantro (Coriander Leaves) – A handful
- Water – 1 cup or more as needed
- Salt – to taste
- Fish Masala Powder – 2 tbsp ( I use Eastern Fish Masala)
- Ginger Paste – 1/2 tsp
- Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – As required
- Clean, wash and cut the fish into medium sized pieces. Add a pinch of turmeric while washing the fish.
- Marinate the fish with 2 tbsp Fish Masala Powder, 1/2 tsp ginger paste, 1/2 tsp garlic paste and salt. Keep it aside for half an hour.
- Soak the Kudam Puli in a little water.
- Heat a non stick pan. Roast shallots (kunjulli), 1 tbsp fish masala powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder, 1/2 tbsp paprika powder and 2 tsp coriander powder on low heat. Grind it into a smooth paste with little water. (I used Paprika powder so that the curry gets a bright red color and doesn’t become very spicy.)
- Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
- Add onions, green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic and saute for a while.
- When the onions turn brown, add the ground masala paste along with 1 cup water and salt.
- When the gravy starts boiling, add the fish pieces and kudam puli/gambooge pieces.
- Add more water if required, so as to cover the fish pieces.
- Sprinkle some uluva/fenugreek powder.
- Cover and cook on gentle heat for around 15 minutes.
- If you like the taste of cilantro, garnish with a handful.