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.
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.
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.
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.
Now add the ground coconut paste, along with a cup of water.
Mix well. Check seasoning. Simmer & let the curry come to a boil. Turn off the heat.
Garnish with additional curry leaves & chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with a bowl of boiled rice or steamed rice.