Malvani Fish Curry
Malvan is a part of the Konkan coast-and coastal food highlights seafood. What distinguishes Malvani fish curries is not just the variety of gravies but also the variety of recipes for the same kind of fish using a dazzling number of combinations of spices and ingredients, as well as dry and wet cooking styles. The most amazing and fiery fish curry I have ever eaten, like the one here, was at the table of Mrs. Samant, a family friend. Malvani food has loads of punch to it, which is just one of the reasons you will go back for a second helping. Serve with steamed rice. Surmai is a popular fish in India, but is hard to find in the United States. You can use pomfret or mackerel instead.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturesavory
- 1 pound (500 grams) whole surmai (kingfish), pomfret, or mackerel
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 4 or 5 dried red chiles, stemmed
- ¾ cup (90 grams) grated fresh coconut (or frozen unsweetened coconut)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 6 to 8 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 2 green chiles, stemmed and slit
Cut off the head of the fish and clean the insides. Wash thoroughly under running water. Cut the fish horizontally into 1-inch-thick (2½-cm-thick) slices and put in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of the turmeric, and the salt, and stir well. Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to marinate.
Place a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander, and dry-roast for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool, then transfer to a food processor with the dried chiles, the remaining ½ teaspoon turmeric, the coconut, half of the onions, the peppercorns, tamarind pulp, and 1 cup (200 ml) water, and process to a smooth paste.
Place a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the remaining onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the tomato and green chiles and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until the oil comes to the top. Add the coconut paste and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Add 1½ cups (300 ml) water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the marinated fish, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.
2011 Sanjeev Kapoor