Easy, Serves 4, Prep time: 30 mins.
I’ve experienced a strong connect with my roots during this lockdown, and this authentic Kottayam-style ‘Meen Mappas’ was my Saturday-afternoon testament to that. Rich, flavourful and not too spicy, this beautiful fish preparation has been a family favourite for some time.
- Indian Salmon/Rawas fillet*, 750 gm
- Tomato, medium, 2 nos
- Onion, medium, 2 nos
- Ginger, 1-inch piece
- Garlic, 10 cloves
- Spicy green chillies, 3 nos
- Curry leaves, 2 stalks
- Mustard seeds, 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder, 1 tbsp
- Coriander powder, 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder, 1 tsp
- Salt, 3 tsp
- Coconut oil, 1/4 cup
- Coconut milk, 1st extraction (thick), 1 cup
*In case you do not have Rawas, you can substitute it with any sea fish you have. For a vegetarian option, vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, okra and potatoes cut into batons can be used.
- Clean and cut your fish into ~2.5 inch thick pieces and marinate with 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric for 20 minutes. Thinly slice your onions and tomatoes. Peel and finely chop the ginger and garlic. Slit the green chillies and in a small bowl, mix the chilli, remaining turmeric and coriander powders with a little water to form a thick masala paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat the oil in a ‘mann chatti’ or shallow clay pot* on a medium flame, and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the fenugreek seeds followed by the onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Fry till the onions become translucent.
*You can replace the mann chatti with a large pan.
3. Add the soaked masala paste to the onions and fry well for 2 minutes. When you no longer can smell the raw masala, add the sliced tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes, followed by the addition of salt and 1 cup of water.
4. Bring the gravy to a boil and lower the flame. Submerge the pieces of fish gently and simmer for a few minutes till the gravy thickens and fish begin to cook.
5. Once the gravy thickens, add the coconut milk and mix gently to prevent the tender flesh of the fish from breaking. Serve steaming-hot with appams, ‘puttu’ or boiled rice and a side of fried pappadams.