Lying on the southwestern coast of Malabar, Kerala boasts of a plethora of seafood dishes and curries. While there are an equal number of vegetarian delicacies that the cuisine has to offer, it is their non-vegetarian fare that is the highlight. The use of freshwater fish in most of the curries is what lends a distinct taste to these Kerala-special dishes. Kottayam fish curry is one of them. The fish curry, also known as Meen Vevichathu, is a delectable seafood dish from the South Indian fare. The curry belongs to the Kottayam district in the state, which is largely resided by Syrian Christians. 

The distinctive element of this curry from the coastal state is the use of tamarind. While tamarind is commonly used as a souring agent in several parts of South India, there is a special tamarind pulp called kudum puli which goes into the making of Kottayam fish curry. The taste of this tamarind that belongs to the Malabar region, lends a sweet and sour taste to the curry, making it unique. The kudum puli shouldn’t be confused with kokum that is used in Maharashtrian and Goan fare as a souring agent. 

Paired with a bowl of steamed rice, kottayam fish curry can be enjoyed at its best when mixed with it. To help us try it at home, Home chef and Slurrp Community member Alison shares a detailed recipe of Kottayam fish curry. 

Source: Slurrpapp/Instagram 

Kottayam Fish Curry

Ingredients 

    400 gms - Fish (Rohu)

    4 tbsp - Coconut oil 

    1/4th tsp - Methi/Fenugreek seeds

    1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds

    7-8 sliced Shallots/Baby onions(can use regular onion as well- use 2 medium)

    1 tbsp chopped - Garlic

    1 tbsp chopped - Ginger

    2 slitGreen chilli

    A handful of Curry leaves

    2 tbsp- Kashmiri Chilli powder

    1/4th tsp - Turmeric

    Salt as per taste

   4tbsp - Tamarind extract/Kudumpuli water

   1/2 Cup - Water

Note - if you do not have Kudum puli, you can use regular Tamarind water as well.

Method:

1.    Heat a pan, add oil, once hot, add methi and mustard seeds, once splutters, add onions and fry till golden brown.

2.    Add ginger, garlic , green chillies and sauté 2-3 mins.

3.    Add curry leaves, Kashmiri chilli powder, salt, turmeric and a splash of water and cook for a 2 - 3 mins till masalas cooked.

4.    Add tamarind water fry well.

5.    Add 1/2 cup water and once comes to a boil, add fish pieces and cover and cook for 10 mins. Flip fish pieces in between.

6.    Serve with warm steamed rice.