Thursday, November 3, 2011

Special Surmai (Kingfish) Curry (With Or Without Coconut)

One can create a myriad of flavours with a same set of ingredients ~ Mangaloreans are especially skilled at achieving this. The bounty of our Indian Coast has helped feed generation after generation and authentic recipes have been created, altered & mastered, each one redefined and tweaked to suit a palate or culture. Fish curries need a special mention as there are a zillion different ways to cook fish, curries especially are broadly classified into those that are coconut based and those that use other ingredients to create a base. Again you have a choice of picking a particular style of making a curry depending on what kind of fish you are cooking. Fresh water fish (river & lake) fish & Salt water fish (sea fish) are again the sub categories. For example, cooking Baby Shark (Thato/Thaate) which is a sea fish in a coconut milk gravy is unheard of (at least we don't make it). We have particular gravies that suit certain types of fish. Spicy curries that are loaded with spices, onions, ginger & garlic are married off to fish like Mackerels (Bangde/Bangude), Sardines (Tharle/Boothai), Shark (Thato/Thaate), Silverfish (Erli/Yerli/Bolenjir) to name a few. The more delicate flavoured fish like Pomfret, Tongue Fish (Lepo/) Lady Fish (Kane/Nogli/Murdoshi), Kingfish (Surmai) are often stewed in coconut or coconut milk based gravies. A few preparations include those made in a green masala base made with ground coriander leaves & green chillies. Last but not the least we also prepare salted & dried fish curries that are flavoured with spices & raw mango or bimblies (bimbuli/vilimbipuli) ~ the taste of these curries are simply out of the world!!


We Mangalorean Catholics usually prepare 6-7 specific types of curries that suit particular types of fish. We have the regular Geraal Kadi (Common coconut based curry for most types of fish), the Bafat Kadi (using the Bafat masala suitable for Mackerels, King Fish etc), the Shirko Shindaap (vinegar & sliced onions, ginger, garlic & green chillies), Amshi Thikshi (Hot & Sour curry), Rosachi Kadi (Coconut milk based curry), Losun Miri (Garlic & Pepper curry) and the Jeere Miri (Cumin & Pepper).

Besides the above mentioned styles there are many types of curries that are either coconut based or onion based and their preparation varies from one family to the other. Undoubtedly I loved my mum's way of preparing fish curries. My MIL who is also a superb cook makes her signature dishes which are usually onion or coconut (grated & ground) based. My mum made a lot of Roce (coconut milk) based gravies which were finger lickin' good.

That brings me to the part where I need to tell you from where I picked this recipe. Mum or MIL. Well, neither! In my quest to try out new recipes almost daily, I hunted through my trusted recipe books & randomly picked one from the book 'Ranpi' by Isidore Coelho who has authored many cookery books in both Konkani & English. 


Today's recipe can be prepared with or without coconut/coconut milk powder. If you are brave enough to add the extra chillies that the recipe asks for, you can skip the coconut and enjoy a fiery red curry, otherwise simply add the coconut & enjoy the delicate flavour of this curry. This curry suits Surmai as well as Pomfret and is easy to make.

Special Surmai Curry
(Printable Recipe)

You Need:
  • 500 gm (or 3-4 palm size slices) of king fish/surmai/iswon or pomfret
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste or 1 marble size tamarind dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 1 medium size onion sliced
  • 1 green chilli (optional) * see notes
  • 1 tsp vinegar (option) * see notes
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnishing (optional)
For the masala
  • 6-7 long dry red chillies (Bedgi) * see notes
  • 5 peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 2 cloves (laung)
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 pod of cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (rai)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 6 flakes of garlic (Indian) with skin
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk powder or 3-4 tbsp grated coconut (optional) *see notes
  • 1/2 onion (optional) * seet notes
Method:
1. Wash & drain the fish on a colander. Using a little water grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Reserve the masala water from the mixer jar.
2. In a large pan or wok heat the oil & fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Add the green chilli (optional) and fry till it turns translucent. Add the ground masala paste & fry on a slow flame till the oil leaves the sides of the pan.
3. Add the reserved masala water, salt to taste, tamarind juice, vinegar (optional) and bring the gravy to a boil. Add the fish pieces gently and carefully cover them with gravy. Cover & cook on a medium flame for about 2-3 minutes.
4. Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander & serve hot with rice

Notes:
1. I skipped the green chilli & vinegar and adjusted the tamarind juice as per my taste.
2. The original recipe asked for 10 long chillies and 10 peppercorns. I reduced these quantities as I prefer moderately spicy curries. However, you can add the extra chillies by deseeding them. Instead of doing this I added the coconut milk powder & onion (mentioned as optional items above) as they help in increasing the quantity of gravy.
3. If you are using very large slices of Surmai fish wash them carefully as they break easily.

40 comments:

  1. Delicious …Perfectly made one..I will surely try it soon..Thanks for the recipe dear..

    My Blog:
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolute delicious!!
    nice colour....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Am speechless, mouthwatering here..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shireen, it will be 2 years since we arrived to Deutschland on saturday. The only reason why I want to return back home is for the FOOD!!! Can you believe that on Mark's birthday I could not find any coriander or mint leaves in the whole village..:( And fresh curry leaves seem a distant dream!!! Thank you for your blog which keeps me going and makes me look forward to returning back home. I think I will revive my food blog only after return....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Aarti, Sharmilee, Soujanya, Priya & May :)
    @May: I hope your wait ends soon, I can't imagine how it must be to not have simple ingredients available easily :-( I am waiting for u to return & revive ur blog!! Till then, im glad my recipes help u look forward to better times ahead, cheer up dearie!

    ReplyDelete
  6. SHireen,
    Hello it's me! Did you know that I've been looking for you. I have been wanting to get over here but poor me, i didn't bookmark it or anything. Im glad i found you again. I had to back track all my comments section and emails to find you. I've been planning to back track for days but today, i said I'm not going to leave this computer until i find you again. aha i did. Now i'm bookmarking you and following you as well.
    Have a wonderful week Shireen, I m so happy to be here again!
    malou

    ReplyDelete
  7. Simply mouthwatering curry. Would not forget this amazing picture for a very long time.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

    ReplyDelete
  8. that curry brings water to my mouth. heavenly!

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow what a colorful fish curry...

    http://www.panchamrutham.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. delicious looking fish curry a favourite looks wonderful
    lovely site nice to meet you

    ReplyDelete
  11. Parcel one bowl dear...Like ur recipes nd clicks...tempting...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I avoid garam massala for fish.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments!

    @ Anonymous: This particular curry tastes great with garam masala, you may avoid it if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sher, I have to try it. Ive never bought king fish. Will do so today. Id like to add your mom curries were the best. yum yum slurp slurp!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds yummy Shireen, i want to try it out.
    Meagan

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Megs! Thanks for dropping by! Do try it and let me know how u liked it :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shireen,
    baaiyalli niruuu.... menu saaruu... nimma aduge blog tumba chennagide re..
    uttarkannada dakshina kannada aduge..!!

    jummanakaai(tirpal) haaki meenu saaru madi receipe post madri..

    tumba.. dhanyavadagalu:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Anonymous: Nimma comment ge thumba thumba thanks! :) jummanakaai andre triphala alwa? Ok, try maadthini...recipe sikkidhre try maadi recipe post maadthini. Suggestion ge thumba dhanyavaadagalu :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I tried this out with a slight modification. It was yummy. My first time Attempting fish curry. I used 3 Kashmiri an 2 short red chillies instead of bedagi . I also added 3/4 tbsp coriander seeds.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @ Anonymous: Thanks so much for your feedback! Please leave your name next time. Glad to know it turned out to be a yummy first time attempt!

    ReplyDelete
  21. i tried ur recipe.it not only looks beautiful,it is also delicious,and most importantly my husband liked it a lot.thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. tried this fish curry today. turned out good. enjoyed a lovely fish curry lunch with sanne sukkhe!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Interesting Mangalorean recipies

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you, Makes my mouth water as i think os my Mangalorean childhood days

    ReplyDelete
  25. can i use kane fish and make same recipe..plss let me kno..ajitasnayak@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Was looking for a good surmai/king fish recipe and I came across your recipe.
    This was pretty good, but I used only 3 red chillies and it was STILL too hot for everyone, how do you use SEVEN?? I had to drain half a can of coconut milk and add yogurt and regular milk to make the spice bearable. Next time I will use only one red chilli.
    Also I cut out the vinegar because I had some left over tomato paste marinara sauce I had made from before and I just added that for some zing. Overall it was a success and appreciated by everyone. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  27. @ Sunz: Thanks for writing in and I appreciate your frank opinion. However, please note that I had mentioned in my notes about the chillies and how you need to adjust the spice. This is a Mangalorean recipe and it is common to use 6 chillies when coconut milk is used. What kind of chillies did you use? Which variety? The spice levels vary depending on the variety of chillies you use. The variety I have mentioned -Bedgi - is moderately spicy, however I do not know if you are Indian or not, so maybe you are not used to the level of spice?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved the recipe! This is the first time I cooked a fish. And I was surprised when my boy friend said "you are a wonderful cook" :) you made my day! Thank you shir :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just loved your recipe! I cooked a fish dish for the first time. And my boy friend just liked it! :) all thanks to you :):)

    ReplyDelete
  30. @ Deepshikha Upadhyay: Thanks so much for the feedback! So happy to hear that this dish turned out well althought it was your first attempt and glad your boyfriend liked it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Shireen, Thank you for the post, it really helped me prepare fish curry, my fish curry after marriage. It came out well, however I would like to know how come the gravy has orange color? I used all the given ingredients, however the color was dull yellow. Can you suggest how to obtain the same color as the gravy you prepared?

    ReplyDelete
  32. @ Juvita: Thanks for the compliment, glad you liked the curry. Well, the colour of the curry depends on the type of chillies used and how fresh (new stock) they were. When chillies age, the skins turn darker and maybe that's why you got a slightly dull colour. If you wish you can add some kashmiri chillies along with the Bedgi variety of chillies for that extra colour.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Shireen, Thank you! I guess that will make it right! I have started following most of your recipes..specially the Mangy ones..

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Shireen...I am trying it today...

    ReplyDelete
  35. @ Vanitha: I hope you like it, will wait for your feedback :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Shireen... first of all thanks for this lovely recipe... I prepared it yesterday and it turned out to be very tasty and fabulous... Keep posting and we all will keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks madam. I prepared it for my mom and she just loved it. I'm on my holidays and waiting for more recipes for I love cooking. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  38. @ Unknown: Thanks so much for your feedback!! I am so glad you liked it :)

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Special Surmai (Kingfish) Curry (With Or Without Coconut)

One can create a myriad of flavours with a same set of ingredients ~ Mangaloreans are especially skilled at achieving this. The bounty of our Indian Coast has helped feed generation after generation and authentic recipes have been created, altered & mastered, each one redefined and tweaked to suit a palate or culture. Fish curries need a special mention as there are a zillion different ways to cook fish, curries especially are broadly classified into those that are coconut based and those that use other ingredients to create a base. Again you have a choice of picking a particular style of making a curry depending on what kind of fish you are cooking. Fresh water fish (river & lake) fish & Salt water fish (sea fish) are again the sub categories. For example, cooking Baby Shark (Thato/Thaate) which is a sea fish in a coconut milk gravy is unheard of (at least we don't make it). We have particular gravies that suit certain types of fish. Spicy curries that are loaded with spices, onions, ginger & garlic are married off to fish like Mackerels (Bangde/Bangude), Sardines (Tharle/Boothai), Shark (Thato/Thaate), Silverfish (Erli/Yerli/Bolenjir) to name a few. The more delicate flavoured fish like Pomfret, Tongue Fish (Lepo/) Lady Fish (Kane/Nogli/Murdoshi), Kingfish (Surmai) are often stewed in coconut or coconut milk based gravies. A few preparations include those made in a green masala base made with ground coriander leaves & green chillies. Last but not the least we also prepare salted & dried fish curries that are flavoured with spices & raw mango or bimblies (bimbuli/vilimbipuli) ~ the taste of these curries are simply out of the world!!


We Mangalorean Catholics usually prepare 6-7 specific types of curries that suit particular types of fish. We have the regular Geraal Kadi (Common coconut based curry for most types of fish), the Bafat Kadi (using the Bafat masala suitable for Mackerels, King Fish etc), the Shirko Shindaap (vinegar & sliced onions, ginger, garlic & green chillies), Amshi Thikshi (Hot & Sour curry), Rosachi Kadi (Coconut milk based curry), Losun Miri (Garlic & Pepper curry) and the Jeere Miri (Cumin & Pepper).

Besides the above mentioned styles there are many types of curries that are either coconut based or onion based and their preparation varies from one family to the other. Undoubtedly I loved my mum's way of preparing fish curries. My MIL who is also a superb cook makes her signature dishes which are usually onion or coconut (grated & ground) based. My mum made a lot of Roce (coconut milk) based gravies which were finger lickin' good.

That brings me to the part where I need to tell you from where I picked this recipe. Mum or MIL. Well, neither! In my quest to try out new recipes almost daily, I hunted through my trusted recipe books & randomly picked one from the book 'Ranpi' by Isidore Coelho who has authored many cookery books in both Konkani & English. 


Today's recipe can be prepared with or without coconut/coconut milk powder. If you are brave enough to add the extra chillies that the recipe asks for, you can skip the coconut and enjoy a fiery red curry, otherwise simply add the coconut & enjoy the delicate flavour of this curry. This curry suits Surmai as well as Pomfret and is easy to make.

Special Surmai Curry
(Printable Recipe)

You Need:
  • 500 gm (or 3-4 palm size slices) of king fish/surmai/iswon or pomfret
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste or 1 marble size tamarind dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • 1 medium size onion sliced
  • 1 green chilli (optional) * see notes
  • 1 tsp vinegar (option) * see notes
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnishing (optional)
For the masala
  • 6-7 long dry red chillies (Bedgi) * see notes
  • 5 peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 2 cloves (laung)
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 pod of cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (rai)
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 6 flakes of garlic (Indian) with skin
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk powder or 3-4 tbsp grated coconut (optional) *see notes
  • 1/2 onion (optional) * seet notes
Method:
1. Wash & drain the fish on a colander. Using a little water grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Reserve the masala water from the mixer jar.
2. In a large pan or wok heat the oil & fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Add the green chilli (optional) and fry till it turns translucent. Add the ground masala paste & fry on a slow flame till the oil leaves the sides of the pan.
3. Add the reserved masala water, salt to taste, tamarind juice, vinegar (optional) and bring the gravy to a boil. Add the fish pieces gently and carefully cover them with gravy. Cover & cook on a medium flame for about 2-3 minutes.
4. Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander & serve hot with rice

Notes:
1. I skipped the green chilli & vinegar and adjusted the tamarind juice as per my taste.
2. The original recipe asked for 10 long chillies and 10 peppercorns. I reduced these quantities as I prefer moderately spicy curries. However, you can add the extra chillies by deseeding them. Instead of doing this I added the coconut milk powder & onion (mentioned as optional items above) as they help in increasing the quantity of gravy.
3. If you are using very large slices of Surmai fish wash them carefully as they break easily.

40 comments:

  1. Delicious …Perfectly made one..I will surely try it soon..Thanks for the recipe dear..

    My Blog:
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolute delicious!!
    nice colour....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Am speechless, mouthwatering here..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shireen, it will be 2 years since we arrived to Deutschland on saturday. The only reason why I want to return back home is for the FOOD!!! Can you believe that on Mark's birthday I could not find any coriander or mint leaves in the whole village..:( And fresh curry leaves seem a distant dream!!! Thank you for your blog which keeps me going and makes me look forward to returning back home. I think I will revive my food blog only after return....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Aarti, Sharmilee, Soujanya, Priya & May :)
    @May: I hope your wait ends soon, I can't imagine how it must be to not have simple ingredients available easily :-( I am waiting for u to return & revive ur blog!! Till then, im glad my recipes help u look forward to better times ahead, cheer up dearie!

    ReplyDelete
  6. SHireen,
    Hello it's me! Did you know that I've been looking for you. I have been wanting to get over here but poor me, i didn't bookmark it or anything. Im glad i found you again. I had to back track all my comments section and emails to find you. I've been planning to back track for days but today, i said I'm not going to leave this computer until i find you again. aha i did. Now i'm bookmarking you and following you as well.
    Have a wonderful week Shireen, I m so happy to be here again!
    malou

    ReplyDelete
  7. Simply mouthwatering curry. Would not forget this amazing picture for a very long time.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

    ReplyDelete
  8. that curry brings water to my mouth. heavenly!

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow what a colorful fish curry...

    http://www.panchamrutham.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. delicious looking fish curry a favourite looks wonderful
    lovely site nice to meet you

    ReplyDelete
  11. Parcel one bowl dear...Like ur recipes nd clicks...tempting...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I avoid garam massala for fish.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments!

    @ Anonymous: This particular curry tastes great with garam masala, you may avoid it if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sher, I have to try it. Ive never bought king fish. Will do so today. Id like to add your mom curries were the best. yum yum slurp slurp!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds yummy Shireen, i want to try it out.
    Meagan

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey Megs! Thanks for dropping by! Do try it and let me know how u liked it :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shireen,
    baaiyalli niruuu.... menu saaruu... nimma aduge blog tumba chennagide re..
    uttarkannada dakshina kannada aduge..!!

    jummanakaai(tirpal) haaki meenu saaru madi receipe post madri..

    tumba.. dhanyavadagalu:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Anonymous: Nimma comment ge thumba thumba thanks! :) jummanakaai andre triphala alwa? Ok, try maadthini...recipe sikkidhre try maadi recipe post maadthini. Suggestion ge thumba dhanyavaadagalu :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I tried this out with a slight modification. It was yummy. My first time Attempting fish curry. I used 3 Kashmiri an 2 short red chillies instead of bedagi . I also added 3/4 tbsp coriander seeds.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @ Anonymous: Thanks so much for your feedback! Please leave your name next time. Glad to know it turned out to be a yummy first time attempt!

    ReplyDelete
  21. i tried ur recipe.it not only looks beautiful,it is also delicious,and most importantly my husband liked it a lot.thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. tried this fish curry today. turned out good. enjoyed a lovely fish curry lunch with sanne sukkhe!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Interesting Mangalorean recipies

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you, Makes my mouth water as i think os my Mangalorean childhood days

    ReplyDelete
  25. can i use kane fish and make same recipe..plss let me kno..ajitasnayak@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Was looking for a good surmai/king fish recipe and I came across your recipe.
    This was pretty good, but I used only 3 red chillies and it was STILL too hot for everyone, how do you use SEVEN?? I had to drain half a can of coconut milk and add yogurt and regular milk to make the spice bearable. Next time I will use only one red chilli.
    Also I cut out the vinegar because I had some left over tomato paste marinara sauce I had made from before and I just added that for some zing. Overall it was a success and appreciated by everyone. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  27. @ Sunz: Thanks for writing in and I appreciate your frank opinion. However, please note that I had mentioned in my notes about the chillies and how you need to adjust the spice. This is a Mangalorean recipe and it is common to use 6 chillies when coconut milk is used. What kind of chillies did you use? Which variety? The spice levels vary depending on the variety of chillies you use. The variety I have mentioned -Bedgi - is moderately spicy, however I do not know if you are Indian or not, so maybe you are not used to the level of spice?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved the recipe! This is the first time I cooked a fish. And I was surprised when my boy friend said "you are a wonderful cook" :) you made my day! Thank you shir :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just loved your recipe! I cooked a fish dish for the first time. And my boy friend just liked it! :) all thanks to you :):)

    ReplyDelete
  30. @ Deepshikha Upadhyay: Thanks so much for the feedback! So happy to hear that this dish turned out well althought it was your first attempt and glad your boyfriend liked it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Shireen, Thank you for the post, it really helped me prepare fish curry, my fish curry after marriage. It came out well, however I would like to know how come the gravy has orange color? I used all the given ingredients, however the color was dull yellow. Can you suggest how to obtain the same color as the gravy you prepared?

    ReplyDelete
  32. @ Juvita: Thanks for the compliment, glad you liked the curry. Well, the colour of the curry depends on the type of chillies used and how fresh (new stock) they were. When chillies age, the skins turn darker and maybe that's why you got a slightly dull colour. If you wish you can add some kashmiri chillies along with the Bedgi variety of chillies for that extra colour.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Shireen, Thank you! I guess that will make it right! I have started following most of your recipes..specially the Mangy ones..

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Shireen...I am trying it today...

    ReplyDelete
  35. @ Vanitha: I hope you like it, will wait for your feedback :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Shireen... first of all thanks for this lovely recipe... I prepared it yesterday and it turned out to be very tasty and fabulous... Keep posting and we all will keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks madam. I prepared it for my mom and she just loved it. I'm on my holidays and waiting for more recipes for I love cooking. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  38. @ Unknown: Thanks so much for your feedback!! I am so glad you liked it :)

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post!

If you are unable to post a comment, please write to me at ruchikrandhap@gmail.com

Last but not the least, my name is Shireen & not Ruchik :-)