Varutharacha Fish Curry / Fish in Roasted coconut Gravy – Kerala Special

During the month of August we have a very famous Snake Boat Race called the Nehru Trophy in Alleppey
– a trophy named after the first Prime Minister of Independent India – Jawaharlal Nehru.
The boats are long enough to accommodate up to 110 Rowers and hence called Snake Boats
or Chundan Vallam in Malayalam – our Language.
The event is definitely an eye catching sight for any tourist who visits Kerala , where the Tourist season starts from August, when the land is all wet and greener with the monsoon rain slightly slows down its pace.
For the people in Alleppey preparation for Onam – the most popular festival of Kerala , starts with this Boat Race.

Picture of a team practicing.

Photo Courtesy to Karmakerala.com

Different clubs from in and around Alleppey takes part in the event, where they have a fiercely fought Boat race , though its an event which shows communal harmony too as there are Hindus , Christians and Muslims sitting in the same row for the grant feast.
Here’s a video showing how a snake boat looks like – taken from you tube

I cherish those lovely moments, when my Achachen /Dad used to take me and my brothers in his scooter  to “Punnamada ” the place where this event occurs.
The Celebration , huge crowd , Naadan Paattu -Kerala songs and the Snake boats used to lifts us to high spirits.

Since I was reminded of my place , decided to make a specialty fish curry , though not popular in my place , its a curry made with roasted coconut which gives the dish a nutty flavor – the flavor of Kerala.
Have been wanting to try this curry for sometime now and last week I could make it.

Ingredients 

 I took Tilapia fillets – 4 number’s sliced
Coconut Oil -2 to 3 Tb Sp
Fennel Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Ginger crushed – 1tsp
Garlic Crushed – 3no’s crushed
Green Chili’s – 2 no’s slit
Onion – 1 medium sliced
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste (Sambar Puli) – 2 Tb Sp (If taking fresh tamarind pulp use more)
Tomato – 1 cubed
Curry Leaves – 1 spring
Salt to taste

For Grinding

Coconut – 1 cup
Chili Powder – 1 tsp to 2 tsp (Adjust according to your preference)
Coriander Powder – 2 Tsp
Shallots / Pearl Onions – 4 to 7 no’s
Pepper Corns – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 spring

Method 

* Dry roast Coconut in a pan , stir continuously , when light brown add shallots , 1 spring of curry leaves , pepper corns and stir for another 2 minutes.

* Add then the powder’s (Coriander Powder and Chili Powder) switch off the heat immediately and keep aside to cool, once cooled grind these with little water to make a fine paste.

* In a Chatti/ Clay pot or any pan heat oil , add fennel seeds first followed by crushed ginger , garlic , green chili’s and onion, saute till the onion becomes golden brown. Add turmeric powder and the ground Coconut paste to this and stir.

* Add tamarind paste to it, 1 cup water (Approx) and salt, cover this pot to let it boil, when it starts to bubble add the fish slices and keep the heat to medium – low , cover the pot again and cook.

* When the fish is almost done add sliced tomatoes and curry leaves. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes till the fish is well done and the curry reduces a bit ,switch off the heat.

 Let this curry sit for a while to let all the flavors gets in to the fish.

Serve with Rice.

Notes : I didn’t roast the coconut till dark brown , if then the curry would have had a brown color too,
if trying this dish, do roast the coconut till nice brown color to get that color for the fish curry. (Do stir vigorously while roasting)

Cheers
TN

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