This is a delightfully aromatic, outrageously delicious, spicy and tangy fish curry that has a unique taste and flavour, so simple and easy to prepare and yet such an absolute delicacy! All the ingredients are combined together with the fish and cooked on simmer. The result is a hot and spicy aromatic gravy that tingles your taste buds and when enjoyed with steamed rice or lacy rice hoppers it is so delicious!
Abounding in daily fresh catch because of its largest coastline, South india is famous for its delicious mouth watering seafood dishes and south indian curries are world famous. They are characterized by the liberal use of spices and herbs (especially curry leaves), coconut and tamarind. Every community in each city have their own traditional cuisine and revel in their own unique curry recipes.
This curry has a different technique of preparation unlike the common fish curries. Its recipe has been passed down for generations in my husband’s family and I happened to learn it from his grand aunt when she visited us. Everyone in the family including me are very fond of it. I have made fish curries using different techniques but this one I would say is the best. And what is astonishingly wonderful about this fish curry is that it tastes even more tasty the next day. So do not throw away your leftover fish curry coz you could enjoy it even more with dosa, idli or rice hoppers the next day.
Though the entire process of preparation is so simple and easy, it is important to keep in mind to use only fresh ingredients, especially curry leaves. Frozen or dried curry leaves lose almost all of their flavour. I recommend to use fresh and only fresh curry leaves for this curry. You could store them in the fridge in a ziplock bag, but once they start to lose their colour their flavour is lost. They can stay fresh and green upto 2 or 3 weeks in the fridge.
For making this curry, firstly all the raw ingredients are added to the pot including the fish and then it is put on the stove and left to cook on medium heat. From time to time the pot is lifted to give a shake. You can’t stir this curry after it has started cooking for chances of breaking the fish which has to be handled gently. Watch the video below.
What you need for this fish curry:
6 Perch Steaks
1 large onion
1 large tomato
25 gms dried tamarind (seedless)
1 heaped tbs coconut ground
1 tsp red hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
*2 tsp roasted cumin fenugreek powder
1 tsp coriander powder
8-10 green chillies small
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs canola oil
1/2 cup fresh curry leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1. Cut up the onion and coconut into small pieces and grind them separately to make a paste. The magic bullet comes in handy for grinding small quantities like one onion or one or two pieces of fresh coconut. Cut the tomatoes into quarters or dices. Roast the cumin and fenugreek seeds, grind them to a fine powder in a cast iron melting pot and keep it ready. Please check notes on how to make *roasted cumin fenugreek powder.
2. Add to the cooking pot canola oil, fish steaks, onion paste, diced tomato, turmeric, red hot chilli (Deghi Mirch has good flavour and is ideal for this fish curry), coriander powder, *roasted cumin fenugreek powder, curry leaves, chopped cilantro, ground coconut and salt. Mix everything gently with a wooden spatula.
3. Rinse the seedless tamarind and extract juice from it by adding some water. Then strain this into to the pot with the fish and other ingredients.
4. Now put the pot on the stove, close the lid and let it cook on medium heat.
5. After 5 minutes open the lid, lift the pot and give it a shake. Watch the video on how to do it. Extract more tamarind juice till the tamarind has no pulp left and strain it into the pot. Let it simmer for another five minutes.
6. Shake once again and put the pot back on the stove and let it simmer till the sauce thickens and oil rises on top.
7. As a finishing touch, when the sauce starts thickening, add a few more curry leaves and sprinkle 1/2 a tsp roasted cumin fenugreek powder for extra flavour.
8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice or rice hoppers.
*Roasted cumin fenugreek powder:
Take two parts of cumin seeds to one part of fenugreek powder and roast them in a cast iron melting pot with a handle. When they cool down grind them in a magic bullet and store in a glass jar. You could use this flavourful magical spice in tangy curries like Lamb Khalia or sprinkle on sautéed veggies, potatoes etc for extra magical flavour.
Some of the links on this post and below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Should you choose to buy them you could click on these links to go to the respective sites and make your purchase. I would really appreciate if you do that. Thank you.