Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Thengapal meen curry | Kudambuli itta mean curry | Kerala Fish curry with coconut milk and Kokum

Thengapal meen curry

Thengapal meen curry With Step by Step photos and video

Thengapal fish curry means fish simmered in spicy and sour coconut milk. This bright red colored mouth watering gravy type side dish recipe is actually from my mother. From my childhood, I am tasting this regularly and of course, this is the first non-veg dish I learned. 

As I already said, this recipe requires thick coconut milk which is called thengapal in Malayalam. Also requires some sour taste contributor. In this recipe, I used kokum (kudampuli). I know, kudambuli is not easily available to many of us. I never found this outside Kerala. But don't worry, you can try this enticing dish with raw mango. Both are equally tasty, but I don't recommend to use any other sour ingredients, like tomato, vinegar etc.

Normally this fish curry is made in earthenware or manchatti over low heat. We believe, fish curry gets its taste when cooked simmered in manchatti.  In Kerala, you can find special wide mouthed earthen wares made especially for preparing fish curries. Locally, we call it meen chatty in Malayalam.   If possible, try to make this fish curry in earther pots. 

Do try at home. Steamed tapioca, dosa, idli, steamed rice are the best combination. You can use any fish with soft flesh for this recipe and do not keep it for the next day. We use coconut milk and onion, so it won't last for long. Left over curry can be stored in refrigerator and can use the next day.

Before going to the recipe, a gentle remainder, 

  • You can use any kind of fish, small or large, you try this with what is available to you. Fish with soft flesh will be the best choice.
  • The gambooge or kudampuli or Kokum is added to give a nice sour taste but you have to adjust the amount of kudampuli because its strength varies with each batch we bought. So do a taste test and then use. Kokum is also called fish tamarind in many places. I don't know whether it is available outside Kerala or not. If you don't get, replace it with mango or tamarind. But the traditional taste, we get only with kudampuli. We don't use tamarind for fish curry in our locality.  
  • Use freshly prepared thick coconut milk from matured coconut for the gravy. Thin coconut milk will give the richness of taste to curry. 

The recipe, with photos and video is given below. You can serve this curry with rice, mashed tapioca, dosa, idli etc. I love all these combinations, do remember to try at home. Hope you will definitely enjoy. 

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Thengapal mean curry | Kudambuli chertha meen curry | How To Make Fish Curry With Coconut Milk |  How To Make Ernakulam Style Fish Curry With Coconut Milk and kokum

Fish simmered in spicy, tangy coconut sauce
Preparation time:10 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes | Total time:50 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 3 Mackerel fish 
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 to 4 green chilies, slit
  • 1 big piece ginger, peeled and chopped 
  • 4 to 5 pieces of kokum or kudambuli
  • 3 tsp chili powder (adjust to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • Salt to taste                                         


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How To Make Thengapal Meen Curry

Traditionally, we make fish curry in earthen pots, so I would like to follow the same method here also. We believe that fish curry comes to its exact taste when prepared in earthen pots over low flame. So let us follow the same method today also.
  1.  Heat one wide mouthed earthen pot over high flame, when turn hot, reduce the flame to medium and pour coconut oil.
    Thengapal mean curry - Adding coconut oil



  2. Once the oil turns hot, put fenugreek seeds and wait till aromatic. This will take hardly two to three seconds. Note: Fenugreek seeds not only increases the taste, also aid digestion.
    Thengapal meen curry - fengugreek seeds to hot oil

  3. Now throw curry leaves. You can use one or two springs of curry leaves.
    Thengapal meen curry - curry leaves in

  4. Then add onion, green chilies and ginger. You can replace big onions with shallots if you like.  If you love to follow the traditional taste, then use shallots. Also, do adjust the green chilies to your taste.
    Thengapal meen curry-onion, ginger plus green chilies
  5. Sauté till the onion turns golden brown in color. You can keep the pot over medium or high flame. If prefer cooking on high flame, then stir continuously so that the ingredients do not burn. 
    Thengapal meen curry-sautéed onion

  6. Once the onions turn brown, reduce the flame to low (or switch off the flame) and put red chili powder and turmeric powder. Sauté immediately till the raw smell vanishes.
    Thengapal meen curry - adding spices

  7. Pour half cup of coconut milk and cook on law flame for a few minutes till the oil separates.  (My mom take only one batch of thick milk from the coconut. But sometimes, Kerala people use both thick milk (thalapal) and thin milk (randam paal) for this recipe. In that case add thin milk at this stage and use second milk later once the fish curry is ready. After adding thick milk, give a gentle mix and immediately switch off the flame. Never allow the gravy to boil after adding the thick milk. If boils, the gravy will curdle).
    Thengapal meen curry- coconut milk 



  8. Then pour remaining part of coconut milk and put gambooge or kudampuli. Adjust the amount of gambooge or Kokum to your taste, I can't give its quantity. Different brands of gambooge  will have different strength. Today, for this recipe, I used four pieces. Wash and soak the Gambooge for a few minutes before use. 
    Thengapal meen curry - Kokum

  9. Put salt to taste and let the gravy boil over high heat. 
    Thengapal meen curry - adding salt

  10. When come to rolling boil, you can put the fish pieces, then shake and swirl the pan to mix. But never you a spoon to mix the curry after this stage.
    Thengapal meen curry -Adding fish into the spicy gravy

  11. Cover with a lid, simmer and cook till the gravy reduces and oil thickens. Do remember to swirl and shake two to three times in between.
    Thengapal meen curry-cooking fish over low flame

  12. Once the gravy comes to desired  thickness, do a taste taste, adjust the spices and salt. Switch off the flame and let it rest for next one to two hours so that the fish absorb all the spices nicely and beautifully.
    Thengapal fish curry- fish curry is ready

  13. Then you can serve with rice, dosa, mashed tapioca any to you like. Trust me, really a yummy preparation, try at home and enjoy..

Happy cooking
Anju       



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