Kerala and sardine are almost spoken in the same breath and this curry is a variation of their famous fish curry (meen puli). I love curry leaves and use it in almost all the things Indian that I make. I made it using the following ingredients in the LIST and yes, as usual the measurements I leave it up to you.
- Sardine 1/2 kg
- Tamarind (In Kerala and a variety called Kodam pulli is used which is available in most kerala based shops). I used the same here but have made it into a concentrated paste. In normal cooking u just chuck one or two pieces along with the fish
- My fav spice mix. All my previous posts have it
- A paste of dried red chillies and onion (about 1 onion and 6 red chilly ground to a fine paste with water)
- Rosemary, oregano, thyme (not used in the conventional cooking but I used it anyway)
- Sea Salt
Ok what do I do with these?? Read on
- Clean the fish well with either vinegar or lemon to remove the excessive odour and yeah sardine can SMELL !!
- Sprinkle some coconut oil (kerala and coconut is an eternal love affair and u just need them or some version of it in all the cooking.. In a sentence we are nuts for coconut) to the fish and add all of the ingredients and mix them well making sure all of the pieces all coated.
- Leave it in the fridge or punish it in a corner for about 10-15 minutes(half hour will be perfect). It does not need any more time than this since fish absorbs the spices pretty quick
- Now take an earthen pot as shown in the picture (nice no???) and put a light layer of coconut oil (there it comes again). On it put on a layer of curry leaves with the stalk. Once you have the bottom looking nice and green put 3-4 fish on this bed of leaves and again make another layer of curry leaves on the fish. Repeat the process like how you would make a lasagna till you have the second picture of the fish peeking out from the dense foliage of the leaves.
- Add water to the rest of the masala left in the mixing bowl and pour it over this (yeah dont waste those spices yeah…) and also keep the leaves wet so they don’t get burnt. The water quantity again I leave it to your choice. If you want slightly thicker and tangy gravy use less water.
- Add a little bit of pepper on top, cover the lid and cook away on low heat. Obviously its always good to wait a little bit longer for good things 🙂 It takes about 15 mins for the fish to cook. Depending on the quantity of fish. Dont ignore it for 15 mins completely. I lifted and checked about twice (thats 7.5 mins for you) to make sure it wasn’t burnt or getting overcooked.
- There you have it as in third picture with the fish peeking from its curry leaf camouflage. Go fishy !! Dont throw the curry leaf, u can chuck the stalks and eat the leaves. They taste heavenly and are good for health too.. Go healthy the tasty way.
- Tip – Save those curry leaves and put it in the freezer till its crisp. They make a good combo with any of your drinks alcoholic or non-alcoholic
- For the veggies you could use the curry leaves to infuse its flavor in any other curry especially potato I think….
Bon Appetit !!