Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I like my sea food. But when it comes to fish, I prefer the fresh water variety any day over the sea fish. For someone who has grown up on river fish like Catla and Rohu in Orissa, I somehow just cannot enjoy the strong smell that the other fish have. Sid is also very picky when it comes to non vegetarian food. In fact, chicken and eggs is all he has. Though he claims he used to eat a lot of fresh water fish in his childhood, in Mumbai he never ventures anywhere close to what he calls 'stinky seafood'! So finally, after years, I decided to try my hand at some typical Oriya-style Fish Fry. I bought one whole Rohu (a fresh water fish) from HyperCity and decided to recreate that childhood Sunday-meal favorite of steaming hot fish fry with dal and rice.
Crispy Fish Fry
Rohu Fish (or any fresh water fish) - cleaned and cut into pieces - 4 pieces
Turmeric - 1tsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Lemon - 1
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/2 cup (for shallow frying)
Wash the fish pieces and marinate them in turmeric, salt and juice of 1 lemon for an hour. Sprinkle some chilli powder and salt just before frying.
Take a frying pan and fill it till half with cooking oil. When the oil is hot enough, put in 4-5 pieces of fish and shallow fry. When the pieces start turning a lovely reddish-brown on the underside, flip them over. When the pieces are evenly fried crisp on both sides, take them out on to a plate and blot the excess oil off with some tissue papers.
Squeeze some lemon juice over the crisp-fried fish and serve hot with some salad or onion rings.
PS - Do be careful of the bones!
Sid started out tasting the fish with great trepidation, but soon ate his way through 2 entire pieces and kept wondering at how non-stinky the fish was in cooking as well as eating :)
Goan Fish Curry
The success with the fish fry prompted me to try my hand at some traditional fish curry for a lunch yesterday at G&A's place. There were 6 of us including G's brother and A's brother. I had frozen the remaining pieces of marinated Rohu and realised they would be just sufficient for about 8 pieces of Fish fry, and another 6-8 pieces of fish curry. I think its great value for money! One entire Rohu that serves almost 2 full meals...
This recipe I put together after reading a couple of recipes online for Goan Fish Curry and Andhra Cheppala Pulusu. I think my version is like an amalagamation of both plus some improvisation on my part.
Rohu Fish - 8 pieces (marinated in turmeric, salt and lemon juice)
Onions - 1
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - 1 lemon-sized ball
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
For the masala:
Fresh Scraped Coconut - 3 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies - 3 whole
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Cloves - 3
Star anise/anas phool/chakra phool - 1
Cardamom - 2
Javitri/Mace - 1
Peppercorns - 3 to 4
In a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and lightly fry 1 chopped onion and 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste. Meanwhile, dry roast all the ingredients for the Fish Masala in a frying pan. Cool it, add some water and blitz it into a coarse paste in the mixer.
Pour this masala into the pan of golden fried onions and mix well. Now take a lemon sized ball of fresh tamarind and boil it in half a cup of water. Squeeze the pulp out and throw it away. Now add this tamarind water/pulp to the masala simmering on the stove. Alternatively, use 1 tbsp of ready-made tamarind paste. Add salt and pepper as per taste. Mix well, and then carefully put in the fish pieces widely spaced. Be careful not to stir the curry from now on as the delicate fish may crumble or the pieces may break. Cover and let is cook for 10-12min.
Remove the lid and add the coconut milk. Adjust seasoning and shake the pan gently by its handles to mix the curry. Let is simmer for another 3-4 min. Take off the flame, garnish with grated coconut or coriander leaves, and serve hot with steamed rice.
The curry was a huge hit, though the fish fry was the clear favourite :) For those of you who do not like your fish too coconuty or sour, the above measures are just apt. I myself am not too fond of coconut in most of my dishes, but this curry turned out to be just rightly spiced and fragrant.