Mangalorean Catholic cuisine boasts of different ways to prepare fish curries. We have a curry base for almost all kinds of fish (the fish that our ancestors have deemed fit to be consumed). The newer generation of people who have travelled across the seven seas have ofcourse not limited themselves to the few varieties of fish that they've enjoyed back home but also experimented with a lot more that coastlines of different countries have to offer. Personally I am not the type who is very adventurous when it comes to trying out new foods but I think I have given all kind of fish a try at least once. While it was bombil (bombay duck) and catla (tank fish) during my stay in Mumbai, there is a new variety of fish that I keep trying here in Dubai. I simply love the Sultan Ibrahim (madmal) here but it is pretty expensive.
No matter which fish I try, the croaker remains to be my most favourite. It tastes great when fried, when marinated thickly with a spicy base and some curry leaves thrown in for good measure. The curry is great too, when served along with piping hot boiled rice and some fried fish and a sauteed vegetable on the side! Mouthwatering, yeah? :-)
When I made this curry there was hardly any time to style it. I so wish I had taken the time to do that! I hope you enjoy this curry!
Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins | Serves 2-3
- 1/2 kg croaker/Jew fish/dhadiyare/koddai
- salt to taste
- 1 small-medium onion, thinly sliced
- oil for frying
- 6-8 long dried red chillies (Byadge or Kashmiri or any other), deseeded if you wish * see notes
- 8 peppercorns (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 marble size ball of tamarind
- 2-3 dried sol pieces (dried segments of the monkey jack, souring agent) * see notes
- 3-4 small cloves of garlic
- 1 medium sized onion roughly chopped
- 3/4 th cup (loosely packed) grated coconut
1. Clean the fish thoroughly and cut into 2-3 pieces depending on how big the fish is. Marinate the fish lightly with salt as this fish is slightly bland and the salt will help bring out the flavour. Keep aside till required.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste with the help of a little oil. For best results, if you are using a mixie, grind the dry ingredients (spices) first to a fine powder and then add the rest of the ingredients. Remove the masala and reserve the water used to rinse the mixie jar.
3. In a wide based pan, heat some oil and fry the onions till light golden - not brown. Add the ground masala and fry it well till the oil leaves the sides.
4. Add the reserved masala water and a little extra if required to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Don't make it too thin as the fish will release some of its own stock and further dilute the curry.
5. Add salt (but not too much as the fish has already been marinated with salt) and bring the curry to a boil. Add the fish and simmer for 2-3 minutes till it is cooked. Don't boil for too long as fish is tender and will continue to cook in the heat.
6. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.