Sri Lankan lunch goals never get fulfilled without having the Meen Kuzhambu in the menu. This curry is heavily influenced by the Chettinad fish curry. There are numerous fish curry recipes practised in the island. This version of fish curry is the usual one at our home.
Since we lived in the centre of the island all types of fishes were available throughout the year in our town market. My father normally buys Arakula, a popular fish in Sri Lanka. Parawa, Kelawalla, Thalapath, Handalla & Mee Mora are some of our family favourites. We had never tried any freshwater fishes there.
I and my father used to visit the local fish market on Saturday evenings. Whenever we buy fish we check the ears of fish. That’s a simple technique to identify the fish ones. The one’s ears which are redder is the freshest. There, fish is commonly cut into boxes and parcelled with a paper bag.
My mother usually cleans is the fish pieces thrice with salt, lemon juice and freshwater. She always marinates it with chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and freezes it overnight. She believes that marinating fish overnight would make the curry tastier.
This is an easy fish curry recipe we have been following for a long time now. Let’s make the meen kuzhambu.
- Boneless Fish - 01 Kg
- Shallots - 20 Nos
- Tomatoes - 02 Nos
- Garlic - 10 Cloves
- Green Chillies - 02 Nos
- Curry Leaves - A Few
- Pandan Leaf - 01 No
- Thick Coconut Milk - 150 ml
- Tamarind - A Lemon Size Ball
- Chilli Powder - 03 tablespoons
- Coriander Powder - 02 tablespoons
- Roasted Curry Powder - 01 tablespoon
- Pepper Powder - 0.5 tablespoon
- Turmeric Powder - 01 tablespoon
- Salt - 03 tablespoons
- Mustard Seeds - 01 tablespoon
- Cumin Seeds - 0.5 tablespoon
- Fenugreek Seeds - 0.5 tablespoon
- Coconut Oil - As Required
- Clean the fish pieces with saltwater, lime water, & freshwater. Marinate it with chilli powder (02 tablespoons), pepper powder, turmeric powder & salt (02 tablespoons). Put it in a tight box and freeze it overnight.
- Just 20 minutes before making the curry, rinse the box in running water to remove the ice crystals and thaw out.
- In a bowl soak the tamarind ball in warm water.
- In a pan heat little coconut oil and add mustard seeds. Add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, pandan leaf & slitted chillies when mustard seeds begin to sputter.
- Add the chopped shallots, tomatoes & garlic cloves and saute it well.
- Add the remaining chilli powder, coriander powder, roasted curry powder & salt and stir it well.
- Extract tamarind juice and add it to the curry. Boil it for about 15 minutes on high flame.
- Gently add the fish pieces to the curry and add enough water to cover it. Cook it for 15 minutes on medium flame.
- Once the fish is cooked, reduce the flame and add the coconut milk. bring it to a boil.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon of coconut oil on the curry and turn off the flame. Cover it with a lid for a while.
- Serve it with hot rice.
Always use the boneless fresh fish for making the curry. Do not overcook the curry or mix the curry with a spatula, as the fish pieces would break into pieces.