Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!


Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!

Meen Varatharachathu.... a fragrant  fish curry from the land of Kerala..

From the very first time I tasted Basa, I just fell in love with it. The meat was so juicy & it just melted in my mouth. I had, had a basa sizzler when I was out with a friend. The meat does not smell at all, unlike most other fish. If you like haddock, then you will surely love it. The meat is firmer than haddock though & doesn’t break into pieces when cooking. I always found haddock melting away when I tried Indian curry’s with it. Have any of you faced such issues with Haddock??

K is very particular when it comes to fish, he won’t eat just about any fish. I’m particular too, but my preference is different. I don’t eat fresh water fish, I only eat Sea fish. K’s fish-eating depends largely on how the fish smells too ;). He won’t come anywhere around a sardine dish, forget eating it. He picks out the skin if he find it on the fish. I don’t blame him though, since he only ate fish once in a while at restaurants. He always prefers fish like Salmon, Haddock, Seer fish etc. whose bone placement is predictable. So, when I discovered this lovely fish I knew for sure he would fall in love with it, just like I did.

Meen Varatharachathu....

For those of you who have never given this fish a try I highly recommend it, the meat is white & nice & firm (when bought fresh of course ;)). It is easily available as fillets at the fish mongers. No bones, no hassles cleaning & making sure the scales are not present. The meat can be cut into smaller chunks, its perfect for an Indian fish curry as it does not disintegrate.

From the time I unpacked my Kitchen Aid mixer, K & I have moved on to eating a lot of Roti, fulka’s, paratha’s etc. as kneading the dough is not a big issue anymore. Our rice consumption has gone down considerably. I sometimes wonder how life changes you, it comes as a shock to K too, I settle easily to eat roti’s now. (If you have read my older posts you would know that I’m a rice eater. A meal was never complete without rice for me). It had been long since I ate some rice with a good curry to go with. I was looking for a hot flavourful curry & suddenly remembered that my aunt had passed me an old cookery book filled with various traditional recipe’s from Kerala. Since I love fish & so do Keralites (People who belong to the state of Kerala) I was thrilled when she passed on this book to me. You are sure to catch some more of their lovely recipe’s on the blog.

Meen Varatharachathu....

Tip: In Kerala Seer fish is usually used for this curry, you can use any fish which remains firm for this curry.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)       Preparation Time: 25 mins
Basa/Seer fish – 250 gms, cleaned & cut into 2-3 inch chunks
Garlic – 8-10 cloves, peeled
Ginger – 2 cm piece,
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1.5 – 2 tsp depending on your tolerance
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 4, slit or roughly chopped
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind – marble sized ball
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Tomato – 1 large, chopped into chunks
Coriander leaves – 4-5 sprigs, chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh ground paste:
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Coconut – 1/2 of a medium-sized, grated
Shallots – 3-4, chopped
Curry leaves – 10-12

Soak the tamarind in about 100 ml water. Use a tsp of oil & roast the fennel, coconut, shallots & curry leaves till all these are golden brown. Make sure you maintain the heat at medium-low once the ingredients are in the oil and constantly keep tossing them around, we do not want to burn them. Once done keep it aside to cool.

Fry the ingredients mentioned for the freshly ground paste till golden brown..

Make a fresh paste out of the ginger & garlic. Keep aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in a medium-sized kadai or pot. Maintain heat at medium. Add fenugreek, when it changes colour add the chopped onion, green chilli’s & sauté till the onions turn translucent. Add a pinch of salt to help fry the onions.

Note: Fenugreek burns quickly, keep a constant check.

Next add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Add turmeric, red chilli, coriander powder & fry for a couple of minutes. Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw away the pulp. Add the tamarind juice along with another 200 ml water. Simmer & let the water begin to bubble. Add some salt to taste.

Meanwhile, grind the golden roasted coconut & rest of the ingredients to a smooth paste in a blender. Add water as required to help grind them to a smooth paste.

Now add the fish pieces & tomatoes to the bubbling water. Cook till the fish is done.

Add the fish & cook till done..

Now add the ground coconut paste, along with a cup of water.

Add the freshly ground coconut paste...

Mix well. Check seasoning. Simmer & let the curry come to a boil. Turn off the heat.

Garnish with additional curry leaves & chopped coriander leaves.

Meen Varatharachathu....

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with a bowl of boiled rice or steamed rice.

Meen Varatharachathu.... a fragrant  fish curry from the land of Kerala..


From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry – Makerel curry…

Makeral Curry... from the villages of Tamil Nadu..

I’m sure you are surprised to see my post today.. been ages isn’t it? I’m not going to apologise this time.. because it looks like I have been doing the disappearing act too often. Whats kept me busy was shifting.. Can you believe it???@!!! Gosh yes,!! you read it right.. In the last 2 years I have only been shifting houses every 5-6 months. Now you can’t complain about me playing the disappearing act, since each one of you would have experienced it at some time in your lives. Phew!!! That is the nitty-gritty of the disappearance act, been busy setting up my house & buying all the required ingredients to stock up my pantry. I love new places, meeting new people, making new friends, yes.. but I have been doing it way too often now.. but glad this time I’m still in Bangalore.. :)

Things seem to have changed in Bangalore. New places are up, old places have vanished.. not just the store being renovated or taken over by a new business, there are whole new buildings that have come up & changed the whole outlook of the place.My scouting around for ingredients is almost over. I think I have found my places now, but the whole issue this time around is that I don’t find things in stock when I go to buy them… & they lie there on the shelves when I don’t need them.

Now cutting out all my usual rantings… this curry is just plain wonderful.. If you love a fish curry that’s such a heavenly blend of different ingredients then, this is it.. you have found the right recipe. Isn’t that colour very tempting? Oh, come on! it sure is.. Well if the colour is not then go ahead & cook it.. you will then agree that to the fact that the aroma is very tempting indeed :D. Just the right curry to cook small fish in. This recipe was passed on to me by my aunt. She had this curry ready when I reached her home for dinner and the foodie that I am, just loved it from the very first whiff from the fish pot.

The villages in Tamil Nadu have distinct & very flavourful recipes, unlike the urban ones which focus on quick & easy ways to prepare the same dish. This dish tastes yummier when the freshly ground paste is prepared using the stone grinder & the paste ground with loads of love using the hand held pestle, this device is referred to as the ambi (the base) & kulavi (the stone part that moves & grinds). Chutney or any paste ground using this has a completely different flavour.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…!

I have used earthenware to cook the fish curry, just like my aunt did :). My grandmother always cooked fish in earthenware on firewood. It sure does add a lovely flavour to the curry. Damn! I had to give up the idea of cooking using firewood because I do not have that setup with me. But those of you who have had their grandmother/mothers cook fish curry in earthenware on firewood would know what I mean.. it is absolutely delicious. If you get a chance to cook this curry that way… go ahead & indulge :)!

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)        Preparation Time: 60 mins
Baby Mackerel/any small fish of your choice – 1/2 kg, cleaned & drained

Baby Makerel...
Note: I do not cook the fish with its head, but you could if you wish to
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 2, chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, cubed
Coriander leaves – 3 sprigs, chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

To prepare the freshly ground paste
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 10 medium-sized cloves
Shallots/sambhar onions – 3-4, peeled
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or more, use as per your taste
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – a handful
Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp, use oil of your choice if you do not like the flavour of coconut oil

Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a fry pan. Set heat at medium. Add the fenugreek seeds, fry them till they begin to turn soft, throw in the onions. Fry till the onion turns translucent. Now add all the other ingredients mentioned for the fresh paste. Fry all the ingredients for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat if the fry pan gets too hot, we do not want to burn the ingredients. Once you can smell the heavenly aroma of all the ingredients turn the heat off, let it cool.

Ingredients for the fresh paste.. cooled & ready to be ground to a smooth paste...

Once the ingredients for the paste have cooled down, blend all of them into a smooth paste.

Heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a pot. Set heat to medium. Once the oil heats up, fry the chopped onions, green chilli’s & tomatoes together. Throw in some salt to help fry them quicker. Once the tomatoes loosen up & the onions turn translucent, add the freshly ground paste. Mix well. Add 500 ml of water & mix well. Let the curry come to a boil. Now drop in the cleaned fish into the curry. Add salt to taste. Simmer & let the fish cook & absorb all the flavours.

Note: In about 5-8 minutes the fish should be cooked. Do over-cook the fish, since they are small fish, they can easily disintegrate into the curry.

Garnish with chopped coriander & curry leaves.

From the villages of Tamil Nadu, a yummy Fish curry - Makerel curry…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with a bowl of rice or chapatis’. And yes, traditionally eaten with Dosa/Idli as an accompaniment!

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Quick fish curry – Salmon Phanna UpkariAlle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryFish Fry with a Konkani style batterTava fried prawns etc.

Quick fish curry – Salmon Phanna Upkari

Salmon Phanna Upkari...

I was meaning to have this This typical Konkani post done once I was back in India & when in Mangalore; with the traditional varieties of fish generally used to prepare this dish like Sardines/mackerel, but damn I missed this curry so much that I had to post this. Another reason being I love Salmon. K likes Salmon too; decided why not? Salmon should taste good in this curry. 

Salmon Phanna Upkari...

My grand mum was seafood lovers delight. All thanks to my grandfather who could not let a day pass without having a piece of fish with his meal or so they say, I never had a chance to meet him as he passed away before I was born. My grandmother also got into that habit of – have to have a piece of fish with her meal. She got so good at it that all her relatives were always talking about eating her fish curries & fry’s. Most were sure to stop by for a meal at our house when they visited Mangalore & my grandmother was always ready to cook up a yummy meal & feed them :).

This recipe is the recipe passed on to my grandmother from her aunt, rather my great grand aunts recipe. Its yummy, a tad different from the way other GSB’s/Konkani’s make their Phanna Upkari. Check the ingredients, noting exotic, very few ingredients & yet its a burst of lovely flavours with every bite.

Diwali was always looked forward by me as a kid for crackers & for the amount of fish being cooked & served at home. Diwali was always during the retreating monsoons; this always meant that the sea is less rough & the markets are filled with a varieties of fish. The most popular fish for us during Diwali was Sear fish. There would be loads of fish masala in the fridge. Slices of sear fish marinated with that fiery red masala always sitting ready to be fried in the hot oil..! I can sit all day reminiscing about it.

This curry is hot, tangy & perfect with a bowl of hot steamed/boiled rice. As for the perfect day to have this would be a cold winter/rainy day because it warms you up really well.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)     Preparation Time: 15 mins
Salmon/fish of your choice – 400 gms, washed & cleaned & cut into big chunks
Onion – 1 large, chopped, divided into 1/4 & 3/4 portions
Red chilli powder (optional) – just to add an extra zing if the chilli’s you used does not give the required hot flavour
Cooking oil – 2 tsp
Salt to taste

For the freshly ground paste:
Dried red chilli’s – 10-12, use a mix of Kashmiri/byadgi(for the colour) & Kumte(for the spice), remove all the stalks/stems of the chilli’s
Tamarind – a half of marble sized piece
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp

In a blender jar add the red chilli’s add 1/4 cup water & grind them into a paste. When the seeds present in the chilli’s are finely ground add the tamarind & the coriander seeds. Grind everything into a smooth paste. Add some more water water if required.Freshly ground red chilli paste..Heat a saucepan, set the heat to medium. Transfer this freshly ground paste to the saucepan & add half a cup of water. Mix well. Let the mixture begin to bubble. Simmer & let the raw flavours fade away.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small fry pan. Once hot throw in 3/4 portion of the onions. Add a pinch of salt & fry till golden brown. Keep aside.

Add more red chilli powder if its not as hot as you want it. Traditionally this curry is supposed to be filled with red chilli flavours & make you cry! Once the raw flavours fade away from the simmering curry, season with salt. Add more water if required, mix well. Add the fish pieces. Don’t mix the curry too much once you add the fish as the fish may tend to break. Once the fish begins to cook & turn white, add 1/4 portion of the onions. Now gently mix the curry taking care not to break the fish pieces. Check & adjust seasoning. Turn off the heat once the fish is cooked.

Curry ready..

Garnish with the fried onions. The super tasty phanna upkari which will surely make you cry & still crave for me is ready…! Keep your pets away.. they are sure to be drawn to your kitchen or your dining area with a whiff of these heavenly dish.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with a hot bowl of steamed/boiled rice.

Salmon Phanna Upkari

If it does not make your nose run, your eyes tear then you have not made it the traditional way we eat it.. !! Thank heavens there are those golden brown onions which add thier awesome sweetness & its a perfect Phann (Phann refers to tempering in Konkani) for this curry.. 

I cooked this for dinner.. hence the pictures were clicked with lights rather than the natural light that I usually prefer.

Note: The colour of the curry solely depends on the type of dried red chilli’s used. So don’t be alarmed if it does not look as red as it does here.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..Fish Fry with a Konkani style batterMeen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryCrispy MusselsMy kind of Mix-Veg Thai Yellow Curry with PrawnsSungta Hinga Udda/Sungta Randai/Prawns cooked in a red hot coconut gravy – Konkani style/RHCP etc. 

Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..

Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..

My mouth waters; just writing this post. The sad part is that I had prepared this dish long back, but never had the time to write the recipe down & post it.. Last week when we were in London visiting friends & trying to enjoy some British Sun.. I ended up preparing this curry for the friends we were staying with.. They instantly fell in love with the curry & we finished up a whole pot of this curry at one go.. ! That’s when I realised that I had missed out posting this recipe..!

Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..

Alle in Konkani refers to ginger & Piyav refers to Onions.. This dish would be something you might have never had before unless you frequented a Konkani friends house for meals.. :)

Not rocket science…the very basic ingredients to make ghashi/ambat/koddel or any other Konkani curry or gravy made of coconut… Such curry’s are referred to as Masla randai.. Randai is curry in Konkani & Masla refers to the coconut+tamarind+dried red chilli’s paste that is the base for most currys. The flavour of this dish is from the raw onions+ginger+green chilli’s+Coconut oil thrown in when the curry is ready, fish of course adds its flavours..

Again, the traditional method involves grinding freshly grated coconut, some tamarind & oil roasted dried red chilli’s together to a smooth paste. But as I don’t have the luxury to get fresh coconut here every time I want to prepare any Konkani curry I end up using equivalent amount of coconut milk & red chilli powder with Tamarind water to make the same curry. The taste is almost like the original just that the curry is a wee bit liquidy than it should be because of the coconut milk. I’ll describe the easy method of preparing this curry.

The irony is that.. as a kid I never ate fish curry’s.. I always wanted fish fry.. ! I need to make up for all the years that I missed eating this curry.. The sad part is that now I won’t have a chance to eat the best fish curry ever..! My grandmother made the best fish curry ever!.. She is unwell & she doesn’t cook anymore.. :(..!

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)      Preparation Time: 15-20 mins
Fish – 600 gms of Haddock/Salmon/King fish or any fish of your choice. Scales removed & cut into large chunks. I used Haddock. (Tip: Haddock tends to crumble easily if you over cook… So add the fish only when all the raw flavours in the curry have faded away..)
Thick Coconut Milk – 500 ml
Red Chilli powder – 1.5 – 2 tsp, adjust based on your taste
Tamarind – 1 marble-sized piece, soaked in 50 ml of warm water
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, chopped
Green Chilli’s – 1-2, slit or cut into small rings
Ginger – 1.5 inch piece, finely chopped
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp, use more if you like the flavour or you can swap with any other cooking oil of your choice if you do not like using coconut oil
Salt to taste

Transfer the coconut milk to a deep bottom pan. Set the heat to medium, let the coconut milk come to a boil. Simmer. Add the red chilli powder, mix well. Make sure there are no lumps. Next add the tamarind water, throw away the pulp. Add salt to taste.

Chunks of Haddock & Coconut milk..

Let this bubble for about minutes. When the raw flavours fade away… add the fish pieces. Close with a lid & let the fish cook for 4-5 minutes. If the curry is too thick, add some water to achieve the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning. Once the fish is cooked, turn the heat off, throw in the chopped red onions, green chilli’s & ginger. Lastly, pour in the coconut oil.

Traditional method involves the following change:
Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a tempering vessel or a fry pan and set the heat to medium. Now fry the dried red chilli (8-10 chilli’s; medium hot variety) in the oil till it loses it bright red colour and turns into a light shade of brown or deep red. Do not let them turn black or dark brown. Take them off heat and cool them. Once it has cooled to room temperature add them along with the tamarind, grated coconut (1 large coconut is to be used) to a mixer jar and grind it to a smooth paste. You may need to add a little water (1-2 tbsp) to turn it into a smooth paste. Use this paste & add water based on the consistency of the curry you require & the rest of the steps remain the same.

Serving Suggestions:
Traditionally served hot with a bowl of boiled rice… You can serve with steamed rice too.

Alle Piyava Ghashi/Konkani style Fish curry..

I hope you relish this recipe as much as I do.. Enjoy your weekend guys.. :)

If you liked this recipe, you may also enjoy – Fish Fry with a Konkani style batterMeen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curryGrilled/Baked fish in Green MasalaCrispy MusselsMy kind of Mix-Veg Thai Yellow Curry with Prawns etc.


Fish Cutlets..

In the anytime I can eat them snacks… cutlets are among the top 10 in my list.. :) There are various kinds of cutlets… you can make them with mix veggies, or just potatoes.. or with potatoes as the base add any meat of your choice.. You can have them with the dip of your choice.. & the different Indian masala’s added will definitely tickle each n every taste bud of yours.. If you are not a big fan of the Indian masala’s you can reduce their proportion but then be informed that your cutlets will turn out to be pretty bland.. !

There are bakery’s in India where you can stop for yummy cutlets as a snack, they are served with some ketchup. I love this tiny bakery in Bangalore where you can get awesome tasting mutton cutlets. You won’t find them every time since they sell like hot cakes.. & they are available only around 3 pm & over by 5 pm most days, sometimes if your lucky some may still be available if you drop by around 6 pm.

A friend of mine makes awesome fish cutlets, she is an amazing cook.. I love to go over to her place for parties; can never get enough of the yummy food she cooks..

Guess my love for cutlets comes from the fact that my mum ate loads of them when she was carrying me.. :D though after she delivered me she dislikes them.. :D I have never seen her make them or order them at restaurants.. & when I’m with her n if I end up ordering cutlets she won’t bother to even taste them… she says she has had enough to last her a lifetime.. !

Fish Cutlets.

A little laborious though.. since you can’t fry more than 5 cutlets at a time & if you have people around you while your making them.. before you know they are gone.. :P

I like cutlets without the bread crumb coating.. but then its a little difficult to make firm cutlets if you don’t use breadcrumbs..they will be soft & difficult to turn them over. I like them this way, because I love the fried taste of the potatoes; which is lost if you use breadcrumbs.. Just for the pictures I used breadcrumbs.. most of the ones that went into my tummy did not have breadcrumbs… :D

Note: The recipe below is to make fish cutlets. Vegetarians can skip the fish & the egg & add other veggies of your choice like boiled carrots/beetroot,beans, peas or sweet corn.

Ingredients: (Makes 15 – 20 cutlets)    Preparation Time: 30 mins (Boiling potatoes not included)
Fish – boneless 300 gms, The kind you like, I used haddock, you can use salmon, king fish or tuna… totally up to you,
Potatoes – 3 medium-sized potatoes, boiled, peeled & mashed
Tip: Remember to cover the mashed potatoes.. else they will dry up & then it will be difficult to make cutlets..
Onions – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 3, finely chopped
Garlic – 3 cloves, finely chopped/minced
Ginger – 1/2 an inch piece, finely chopped/minced
Mint leaves – 7-8, finely chopped
Coriander leaves – 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp or more based on how hot you want your cutlets to be.. remember green chilli’s are also added. So add accordingly.
Coriander powder – 1/2 tbsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Cooking oil – enough to shallow fry the cutlets
Egg – 1-2, just the egg white
Breadcrumbs – as required
Salt to taste

Heat a skillet/fry pan. Once hot, turn heat to low, add the washed & drained boneless fish pieces, & let the fish cook. The fish should be done in less than 5 minutes. Once the fish is cooked mince it using your spatula as shown. Keep this aside & let it cool to room temperature.

minced, cooked fish...

Tip: You can use this time to peel & mash the boiled potatoes or to chop the veggies.

Mashed potatoes with the dry masala's

Now add all the dry masala powders mentioned, the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli, mint & coriander leaves, salt along with the lemon juice & mix well.

Chopped veggies..

Tip: If you plan to make the mix & store it in the fridge for some other day then do not add salt & lemon juice, this will make the cutlet mix a little to watery since the onions let out water when they come in contact with salt.

Cutlet mix ready...

Once all the masala’s have blended well into potatoes, add the fish. Check the salt & spice & adjust accordingly. The potatoes & the fish are both cooked.. so go ahead take a nice big spoon taste.. :D

If the cutlet mix turns out way too dry then, close the bowl & keep aside for 10 minutes, the water that the onions let out will help to bind the mix together.

Make round, square or oval cutlets, the shape you like & keep them aside in a plate.

Round cutlets ready to be dipped into the egg white..

Heat oil required to fry the cutlets in a fry pan. Meanwhile when the oil is heating up, beat the egg white well & keep it aside in a shallow bowl. Spread the breadcrumbs in a plate & keep it ready. Now dip each cutlet on both sides in the egg white & then place the cutlet over the breadcrumbs & coat the cutlet well with the breadcrumbs. Make around 4-5 or as many as you can fit into your fry pan. Transfer the breadcrumb coated cutlets to the fry pan when the oil is hot & fry them on medium heat till golden brown on both sides.

Tip: You can also use fine semolina instead of breadcrumbs. If you do not wish to use breadcrumbs then just coat the cutlets with the egg white & fry them.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with green/mint chutney/ ketchup / any dip of your choice.

Fish Cutlets..

If you like this recipe, you might also like - Moong Daal ke Vade/Split Moong Bean Fritters.., Onion/Kanda/Piyav/Eerulli Bajji/Pakoda’s/Bajo, Cabbage Ambade/ cabbage & onion fritters, Bread Upma/ Bite sized bread pieces tossed in some sweet & spicy flavoured onions etc.

Fish Fry with a Konkani style batter

Fish Fry with a Konkani style batter..

FISH… brings a galore of memories for me.. just the smell of fish frying in the kitchen takes me back to those times as a kid back at my ancestral house… the picture of my grandmother sitting out in the backyard on a traditional Indian chopping seat called “Addoli in konkani”, removing the scales out of the fish, cutting them into the desired sized pieces & she being surrounded with our pet cats & then a few stray all waiting for a few tidbits from the fish cleaning.. & then our pet dogs barking away at the cats.. ;) those occasional pushes to those cats trying to steal a few pieces away.. :D & then after all that the process of her marinating the fish with a bright red coloured masala for marination (Yes, it was made of dried red chilli’s,water & salt ground to a paste with a generous splash of asafoetida). This paste was always made is excess, the fridge would always have some ready for those times when one of my uncle’s would come home with some fresh catch he bought for a bargain.. ;) I’m sure all of you could visualise this from the way I have described…
Back at home King Fish, Sardines, Tuna, Sear Fish, Shark are some of the very frequently eaten varieties.. Here you do not find most of these varieties.. I’m a sea fish lover.. I know friends who love river fish.

I cannot really eat river fish. Meat from river fish tastes a wee bit on the sweeter side, the bones are places in a crazy manner.. Man I almost scratched the inside of my mouth eating river fish… It was embarrassing as I was invited for lunch to a friend’s place… They were Bengali’s (People who belong to an Indian state called Bengal..).. & Bengali’s relish river fish.. Since I love fish they had prepared some of their delicacies..I had a big fish slice served on my plate… The piece looked nice & fleshy…& as it was the first time I was trying river fish, I cut a small piece out, had no clue at that time that the bone placement would be very different from sea fishes.. & I just threw the piece into my mouth.. bit into it & I almost screamed… I can still remember the look on my friends face.. I was still trying to save the inside of my cheeks.. & I asked my friend why were the bones not visible & the piece looked so chunky & boneless.. Then she burst out laughing explaining that river fish is way too different, people who are used to eating sea fish find it a little difficult to eat river fish.. & yes, I did have a tough time finishing that huge piece of fish on my plate.. :( I love my sea fish…!! Lesson learnt.. !

Well.. anyways.. let me get to the recipe.. sometimes I end up talking too much, don’t I??

I will describe a shortcut method which is similar to my grandmother’s marination recipe.

Ingredients: (Serves 2, I hope so.. :D ) Preparation Time: 10 mins + 10 mins for marination
Fish of your choice – 2 large pieces, I used boneless Salmon fillets
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp, we like our fish hot. If you can’t handle this use as per your taste
Asafoetida powder – a pinch
Turmeric powder (optional) – a pinch, my grandmothers recipe doesn’t include this. I just used this for colour
Rice flour – 1 tbsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp, I tava fried the fish as I did not want to deep fry, But my grandmothers original recipe requires you to deep fry the fish
Salt to taste

Note: If you want to prepare this dish in the traditional way then you need to grind at least 30-40 dried red chilli’s along with some water to form a smooth thick paste. Then mix in the salt & asafoetida. Coat the fish with this freshly ground masala & then the deep fry the fish after marinating it & coating it with some rice flour. I prefer to use this method if I plan to fry at least a kg of fish. I use the short cut method more often since it’s just K n me & I fry just about 2-3 pieces & I can’t prepare a paste just out of 3-4 chilli’s using the blender I have.

Wash the fish & drain all the water.

Washed & drained Salmon fillets..

Mix red chilli powder, turmeric (if you wish to add turmeric), salt, asafoetida together. Add this masala mix to the fish. Coat it evenly & on the fish. Keep this aside for 10 – 15 minutes.

Marinated fish pieces..

Spread the rice powder on a plate. Once the fish is marinated place each piece one by one on the rice flour plate & make sure the fish is coated on both sides with the rice flour.

If you plan to deep fry the fish, heat oil & fry the pieces.

If you plan to tava fry as I did, in a fry pan/tava heat the amount of oil mentioned in the recipe.

Fry the fish till they are golden brown & cooked...

Set heat to medium & fry the fish till it is golden brown on both sides & cooked through.

Serving Suggestions:
1. As a starter:
Serve with some onion pieces & a slice of lemon.

Fish Fry with a Konkani style batter..

2. Traditional way as a side dish:
Serve with a bowl of boiled red rice along with a vegetable dish like Beans telasan/Potato fry & some konkani style dal – Daali Toy.

If you like this recipe – You may also like - Grilled/Baked fish in Green Masala, Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry, Prawn Pepper Fry – Kerala style, Tava fried prawns etc.

Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry

Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry

Hope each & everyone of you have kick started your weekend just the way you planned it.. For all those who are planning to fix a homemade meal for lunch or dinner here is a yummy fish curry from gorgeous Kerala.. Fish in Malayalam (the language spoken in Kerala) is called Meen.

This curry is a quick version of the same traditional dish. The traditional method involves using coconut milk of different consistency added at different intervals. But I skipped that and added coconut milk of one consistency.

The flavours of coconut, green chilli’s & tomatoes just blend really well with the fish. This dish may seem to be a wee bit similar to Thai yellow curry. But hell no, the ingredients are very different. This curry is awesome with some hot steamed rice or even with some chapatis’ or Kerala Paratha’s.

Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry..

This curry is not for those who dislike coconut in their food. Even the seasoning is made with coconut oil. You can swap the coconut oil seasoning with any other cooking oil, but then you would not have that authentic flavour to your curry.

I used boneless & skinless Cod loin pieces for the curry, you can use any fleshy fish for this curry.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)         Preparation Time: 20-25 mins
Cod – skinless & boneless cod loin, cut into 2 inch square pieces
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece, julienne
Green chilli – 3-4, finely chopped
Onion – 1 medium-sized, thinly diced
Coconut milk powder – 8 tbsp, dissolved in water to form a cup of thick coconut milk, approximately 250 ml
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, blanched & chopped
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, chopped
Sugar – a pinch
Curry leaves – 1 sprig/ 6 leaves, roughly torn & a couple additional for garnishing
Salt to taste

In a heavy bottom pan, heat coconut oil. Set the heat to medium.Add black mustard seeds & let them splutter.

Add ginger julienne & chopped green chilli. Sauté them for about 30 seconds. Now add sliced onion and add turmeric & some salt to the onions so that they fry soon. Sauté the onions till golden in colour.

Saute the onions till golden brown..

Now add the tomatoes & mix well.

Add the tomatoes...

Add curry leaves. Next add coconut milk, mix well & simmer. Let the coconut milk simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add the fish pieces in. Let the fish cook & absorb the flavours. Check salt & adjust. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes till the fish cooks completely & the raw flavours of coconut milk go away.

Tip: Add some water if the curry get’s too thick., but remember to adjust salt if you do so.

Add chopped coriander & additional curry leaves if required. Tip: You can also squeeze in just a few drops of lemon juice for a nice flavour.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with a hot bowl of steamed rice. Tastes best when eaten out of a Banana leaf. ;)

Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry

For the non-rice eaters, chapatis’ or Kerala Paratha’s would just do fine.

If you like this recipe, you may also like - Thai Yellow curry with prawns, Batani Ambat/ Konkani Style Green Peas in Coconut, Tamarind gravy, Basic South-Indian Chicken curry – Chicken Masala, more curry’s.

Lemon, Mushroom Noodle Soup

Lemon Mushroom Noodle Soup

Yes, there you go, something that you can prepare using a microwave. :) For all those people who want something easy to prepare without switching on your stove & for those others who prefer to use the stove, follow the recipe on the stove.

Yet another day for me without the hob to cook food.The stove not working could not have come up at a better time. Been catching up with schoolmates with whom I had lost touch for over 15 years. We all have been furiously catching up over the phone on what’s ap. So had the hob been working I would have anyways retorted to fixing up quick meals as there is so much to catch up on. ;) It’s been wonderful.

It snowed last evening in Glasgow. It’s been cloudy and gloomy day & yes of course its been cold.. What’s more comforting than a hot mug/bowl of soup.

Lemon Mushroom Noodle Soup

Tip: You can prepare this in your own way adding some seafood too if you wish to. I have prepared this soup earlier on the stove of course by adding some crabsticks/seafood sticks/minced chicken to this recipe. The soup prepared in the microwave tastes just as good cooking it in the stove. Also I have used 2 stock cubes, one chicken and one veg, vegetarians can skip the chicken stock cube and use 2 veg cubes. But you would need to use vegetarian oyster sauce as a substitute for the actual oyster sauce. But there is no fair vegetarian substitute for fish sauce. So you will have to do without the fish sauce.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)       Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Mushrooms – 1 cup diced.
Veg stock cube – 1
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Garlic cloves – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Green chilli’s – 2 medium-sized & medium spicy variety, finely chopped, you don’t want to bite into a piece when you eat the noodles
Rice noodles/ any noodles of your choice – half of a nest
Chicken stock cube – 1
Corn starch – 1 tbsp dissolved in some water
Dark soy sauce – 1/2 tbsp
Oyster sauce – 1/2 tsp
Fish sauce – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1/2 tbsp
Water – 1 litre
Salt to taste

Note: I’m describing the method to prepare this soup in the microwave. You can prepare it in the usual way on the stove.

Set the microwave to its highest wattage. I set it to full power. My microwave is a 800 W one. Heat the water for a minute in microwave bowl/mug. Add both the stock cubes & put it back in the microwave for another minute or two.

Meanwhile you can use this time to chop up the ginger & garlic if you have not chopped them earlier.

If you plan to add some seafood/chicken add now and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add the ginger, green chilli’s & garlic along with the dark soy sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Next add the mushrooms, the oyster sauce & the fish sauce. Add the noodles & let this cook for another minute. Add the corn starch mixed in water. Add salt to taste and cook till the noodles are done.

Once done add the lemon juice, mix well.

You can garnish with some chopped coriander if you wish to and serve hot – that goes without saying. ;)

Lemon Mushroom Noodle SoupIf  you like soups do check out my other soup recipe’s.

Prawn Chilli Garlic Noodles

Prawn Chilli Garlic Noodles

I have a friend at work, who is Chinese. We discuss about food a lot. She loves to eat :).  When we were chitchatting about some basic noodle recipe’s, realising that I do not use Fish Sauce, she suggested I try it as it adds a lot of flavour to Chinese food. I went looking for the Fish Sauce and was surprised that almost every store stocked this up in the Asian section. Bought a small bottle, to try it out.  Yes, indeed it has enhanced the flavour to my Prawn Chilli Garlic Noodles recipe. :)

Tip – You can omit the fish sauce if you do not like the fishy flavour in your noodles. You could also directly use some chilli flakes if you want to avoid the time spent in preparing the dry crushed red chilli. If you do not want the dark brown colour to your noodles use normal soy sauce instead of the dark soy sauce.

Back in India, my friends from work used to go out to a lot of Chinese restaurants for lunch. Miss all those days..! I know you lazy bums will not really try this recipe out.. but I think you should… this one is for all you guys!

Ingredients: (Serves 2)          Preparation Time: 15 mins
Red Onion – 1 medium-sized, diced
Garlic cloves – 5 medium-sized, finely chopped
Noodles – 2 nests
Dry red chilli’s – 4 medium spicy variety
Dark Soya Sauce – 1 tbsp
Fish Sauce – 1 tsp
Prawns – about 100 gms, peeled and washed
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste

Bring about 1.5 litres of water to a boil in a pot. Add some salt and half a tbsp of oil to it. Add the noodle nests and cook as per the instructions on the packet.

Meanwhile, heat a fry pan. Set the heat to medium. Now Add the dry roast the red chilli’s for a minute or two till it starts to change colour. Take them off heat, and crush them into small pieces in a pestle. Keep aside.

Now add oil to the heated fry pan or you can use a wok if you wish. Add the finely chopped garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Do not burn them. Now Add the Onions and fry for a minute or two. Now add the crushed red chilli’s, soya sauce, fish sauce and mix well. Add the prawns and fry. They should get cooked in about 4-5 minutes max. Add some salt.

Meanwhile the noodles should be ready. Drain the water out and keep aside. Add the noodles to the stir fried prawns and mix well. 

Take off the heat.


Garnish with some chopped coriander & spring onions if you wish to. I did want to garnish, but I did not have any fresh coriander & spring onions at hand and it was raining to venture out & pick some. :)


Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot along with any oriental curry or have it as is.

If you like prawns then check out other prawn recipes like - Lemony Prawns with Parsley, Prawn Biryani, others.

Grilled/Baked fish in Green Masala

Baked Haddock in Green Masala

Fish in an integral part of any Mangalorean’s life… so would be the case with anyone living/born and brought up along the coast.  We are all cats when its come to fish…. !!! Mangalore is famous for it’s are various fish fry methods… rava fry, masala fry,  naked fry.. and different types of fish curries as well.. You have to visit any Mangalorean restaurant to believe it.

But, those who do not like coconut beware! because coconut in various forms is a part of Mangalorean food. We use coconut milk, coconut oil, grated coconut, ground coconut paste etc in our food. So is the case with the cuisine from Kerala. You could always cook these recipe’s using any other cooking oil of your choice. But we prefer coconut oil as it adds an authentic taste to the food.

This fish has a hint of mint, coriander and garlic…as it is marinated in it.

Ingredients: (Serves 2) Preparation Time: 20 mins
Haddock – 200 gms
Lemon juice – 1 spoon
Salt to taste
Oil – 3 to 4 tbsp
For the masala:
Green chilli – 3 to 4
Dried Red Chilli – 1 or 2, I used byadgi menasu
Garlic cloves – 4
Mint Leaves – around 10 leaves
Coriander Leaves – around 5 to 6 sprigs

Grind all the ingredients mentioned for the masala to a coarse paste in a mixer. Add a few drops of water while grinding. Add some salt to the masala.

Meanwhile wash & cut the fish into small pieces as shown in the picture. Marinate the fish with the ground masala. Add some lemon juice to the fish and mix well. Fridge it overnight.

To Grill:
Pre-heat the oven in the grill mode to 150 degree and grill the fish pieces for about 10-15 minutes.

To Bake:
Pre-heat the oven in the oven mode to 180 degree and bake the fish pieces for about 8-10 minutes. Insert a fork and check if the fish is cooked.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with some onion rings/ chopped onions mixed in some chat masala.

Baked Haddock:

Baked Haddock in Green MasalaGrilled Haddock:

Grilled Haddock


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