Kerala Meen Curry Recipe / Indian Fish Curry Recipe / Nadan Meen Curry Recipe / How to Make Kerala Red Fish Curry
Nadan Meen Curry!! Yes, the ultimate fish dish for the Keralites. Wow, there are no words to describe how we indulge into this ever drooling side dish of rice of Keralites. We can describe it as, the fish curry we get to see in almost all Christian weddings and other related get together of Kerala, the Fish Curry our fore fathers passd on to generations and generations, the fish curry we get to see in almost all kerala families almost every day, the fish curry every Keralite would crave for, finds its place on our dining table with it’s shining red colour that attracts us and make us eat little more rice.. Hey, weight watchers; pls. be careful at this point!!
Here we want to tell you the immense importance of posting this recipe at least today. This Kerala Style Nadan Fish Curry has been one of the sought after non veg dishes of our blog since the day it started!! I kept on postponing to post this recipe for some or the other reasons.. May be this is the right time God has planned to do the same..
My hubby is so crazy about this Kerala Fish Curry. One of his favourite dishes on any restaurant menu is this Red Fish Curry. He always says about ‘The Fish Curry and Rice’ he use to have at the Koshy’s restaurant in St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore, whenever he goes to Bangalore. He would consider even a special trip to Bangalore just to have a plate of it!! What he says, it is just Fish Curry, Rice and Pappad, but a complete meal!! 😉 He had it twice on his latest official trip there this August 2016!!
Everybody may have their own stories to tell about it, right? This curry refreshed my taste memories too.. I can connect it to my mom’s tharavadu veedu / ancestral home ‘Mankavil’ in Kattanam, Alleppey district of Kerala, India. I visited there with my family in my childhood many times though we were living outside Kerala at that time. During one such visit, yes, it was for my aunt’s wedding, I saw many workers working in the backyard of the house under the temporary tents made for a week or so, which was meant for making the marriage lunch menu. I heard one of the maids saying to my grand mom, “meen curry kalamayi” / Fish curry is ready now. I peeped into the reddish colour of the meen curry, and I started wondering how people are going to have this, as it looks so spicy!! Honestly, I was not certain of its spiciness, but was having a vague thinking all red curries are so spicy.
I seriously put one more query to my grand mom, ‘Ammachi, ee curry ippozhe enthina vekkunnathu? Kalyanam ini orazhcha kazhinjittallae ulloo, ithu azhukkayi pokillae”? Transalation goes like this. “Why we are making this now, one week in advance of the marriage? It won’t get spoilt?” She became so curious to respond to my question.. Then she had given me a rough idea about this fish curry on that day. Years back!! One thing got stuck up into my mind at that age was its taste and its very attractive red and spicy look, though it depends on us to decide how much spicy the curry should be.
I must accentuate here one point, it is always the taste memories and the people behind that particular dish make it tastier. It gives uniqueness of its own. My amamchi / grand mom is no more, but we have inherited her method and its ingredients from her.. It is its awesome flavour that remains on our taste buds that completes a wholesome royal lunch and dinner..
This dish is usually made in earthen wares; say black or reddish orange earthen wares. Malayalees cannot deny the fact that whatever we cook in earthen wares taste incredible. Hey, of course that’s the another reason of its tastiness, right?
The peculiarity of this dish is, one makes this fish curry in advance and keep in the room temperature itself for a couple of days, so that the fish pieces that are soaked in the red sauce absorb its spices. The gravy will get absorbed totally to the fish pieces. Since I needed gravy, I didn’t keep on cooking it more than it requires.
This Fish curry is a favourite of my husband and he becomes a happy soul whenever he gets this fish curry. Another good combo which goes well with this fish curry is Kerala Sambar. Both are Reji’s favourite ones..
Finally when I did this, was totally amazed and pleased with the outcome, with its perfectly balanced flavours and colour. We devoure it every bit. Whenever I make this fish curry everyone at home would love it.
If you are looking for more Fish recipes, then do Click Here.
Here is how I made this dish based on my grandma’s traditional recipe handed down to me.
Ingredients for Nadan Meen Curry:
Fish – ½ kg (I have used Seer fish)
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp.
Shallots finely chopped – 2
Fenugreek Seeds – ½ tsp.
Shallots whole – 6 – 8
Green Chilli – 1 small (optional)
Homemade Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 ½ tbsp.
Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 2 ½ tbsp.
Coriander Powder – 1 ½ tbsp.
Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp.
Kokum / Kudampuli / Tamarind – 3 small pieces
Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
Salt – to taste
Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp.
Hot Water – 1 ½ cups.
How to make Kerala Red Fish Curry:
Soak the Kokum/Kudampuli / Malabar Tamarind in one cup warm water and keep it aside. Clean the fish pieces and cut into curry sized shapes. Keep it aside. Take Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder and Turmeric Powder in a small bowl. Pour 1 tbsp. coconut oil and 3 tbsp. of warm water, Mix it well to form a paste and keep it aside.
Heat oil in an earthern pot / manchatti. Add Mustard Seeds. Once it finishes spluttering add the sliced shallots. After some time add the whole shallots. Sauté it on medium heat. Now add whole shallots and then fenugreek seeds. Once the fenugreek seeds and shallots turn golden brown in colour, add curry leaves. Next add Green Chilli followed by Ginger Garlic Paste. Sauté it for few seconds until the raw smell goes. Now add the prepared masala to this and sauté it by stirring it frequently until oil starts to separate. It will take 3 to 4 minutes.
Add in the soaked kokum / Kudampuli along with the water you soaked it, salt and the additional warm water to this. Let it come to a boil. Once it is boiled, add the fish pieces to this. Swirl the pan and bring it to boil on low medium heat. Cover and cook until the fish is done. Remove the lid and cook until the gravy turns thick. It might take 10 to 15 minutes, depends on the consistency of the gravy you like. Add 1 tbsp. coconut oil and swirl the pan. (I didn’t add this as I have added enough oil before while mixing spices and also for cooking.)
My Recipe Notes on Kerala Fish Curry:
1. Wash the fish in lemon juice / vinegar and salt mixture to get rid of fishy smell.
2. Earthen wares absorb heat so fast, so be careful to keep heat on medium while sautéing, otherwise there is high chance of it getting burnt.
3. I use to soak cocum / kudampuli in 2 or 3 hours before making this dish. Soaking cocum in warm water is must as it loosens up the dried flesh of cocum and so it releases its sour taste. Those who do not use kudampuli can use the other ordinary tamarind and follow the rest of the ingredients and method. After you made the curry and if you find that tartness is enough, just remove cocum from your curry and discard it.
4. It is better to fry fenugreek seeds after adding shallots, as it will get burned faster. Fry these shallots on medium heat until it gets translucent.
5. Adjust the chilli powder according to your tolerance level. Adding Kashmiri chilli powder gives a good red colour to the dish. If you are using ordinary chilli powder, reduce the quantity as it is very hot.
6. Adding green chilli while sautéing is optional, but I prefer it as it gives an appealing taste.
7. Do not use spoon / spatula to mix the curry which breaks the fish pieces, instead, swirl the pan to ensure that the fish and the masala are mixed well.
8. You can grind spices like coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic and shallots and add this to the oil for sautéing.
9. You can add 1 tsp. Black Pepper Powder also, but in that case reduce the quantity of chilli powder.
10. If you want more gravy, add ½ cup more of water.
11. You can refrigerate the dish for a couple of days and re heat it before serving.
12. This Nadan Meen curry tastes better the next day and the following 3 to 4 days as it takes time for the fish pieces to absorb the spices.
Happy Cooking.. Cheers.. Seena.
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കേരള നാടൻ മീൻ കറി റെസിപ്പി.
Kerala Nadan Fish Curry.
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