Friday, June 29, 2012

Vendakkai Meen Curry - Fish Curry with Okra. Yes, definitely one Meen Curry!

This fish dish got my vote as the high performer in the Indian cuisine I learned in school.

I posted on Indian cuisine while I was still with the culinary school. Since then, I have received many requests for the full recipe. So, let me at least provide one of those recipes today. Warning: as with all Indian cuisine, expect a long list of ingredients! But the taste that is going to explode in your mouth is going to be so worth it.

The name of the dish is called Vendakkai Meen Curry and it originates from South India. "Meen"means Fish.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds (good with fish and lamb)
3 sprigs Curry Leaves
2 Garlic Cloves sliced thinly
1.5 pc Ginger, julienned
1 medium Onion sliced thinly
1 Green Chilli Padi, slit into 2
4 tsp Fish Curry Powder (or standard Madras curry powder)
(Fish curry powder is 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder)
25g tamarind (pulp obtained by soaking in 1 cup cold water)
240g Sea Beam Fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces (sea bass, mackerel, cod are fine too, but not garoupa, salmon or snapper)
100g Lady's Finger or Okra, cut diagonally into 3" length
1 medium Tomato, cut into 8 pieces
2-3 Tbsp Coconut Milk
Coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste

1. Pour oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute the fenugreek until fragrant without burning it. Let it crackle and brown.
2. Add curry leaves, sauté. Then add ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute. Timing is not critical.
3. Stir in the onion, cook till light brown. Add green chillies and the fish curry powder. Low heat.
4. Add tamarind water and salt to taste. Bring liquid to boil.
5. Add tomatoes and okra, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. While tomatoes are still firm, place fish fillets in gently, add coconut milk, season and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Don't use ladle after adding fish so as not to break it.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.

I can still remember the taste and I remember Chef saying as a little boy, he remembers that his mom usually made the dish a day before serving for a deeper infusion of all the wonderful flavors!

Do come back here and let me know if you try it! Typing this out makes me want to do it all over again!

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