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This is a typical Keralite method of preparing moist fish in a lot of gravy. Adapted from: indiaheritage.org/cuisine
- 1 kg butterfish (or Pomfret or your choice of skinless white fish)
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (optional)
- 2 cardamom pods (optional)
- 10 whole red chilies
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 5 green chilies, slit lengthwise
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 inch piece ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Julienne the onion. Keep aside.
- Clean the fish, remove the skin, and cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Pour the oil into the pan. Heat on medium.
- Saute the onion and green chilies for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, crush the red chili with garlic with a mortar and pestle.
- Add the crushed chili, garlic, and ginger.
- Fry for ~3 minutes. Meanwhile, add turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon stick (if desired).
- Once the smell of chili emanates, add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, remove the curry leaves from stems, and add both.
- Dice the tomatoes, reserving 3 slices for garnish. Keep aside.
- Upon reaching a full simmer, add the fish and salt.
- When the fish is nearly well cooked, add the diced tomato. Cook for 5 minutes more.
- Add the lemon juice. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and curry leaf stems.
- Transfer to serving dish. Cover.
- Briefly pan fry 3 tomato slices for garnish.
- Garnish with tomato slices.
- Serve with rice.
I made this tonight for dinner-we really enjoyed it. I know how hot my chillies are, so used 3 green and 1 (very hot) red one, plus 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes. That was perfect for us. I used 1/2 the salt as I knew the whole amount would be too much for our tastes and I made a sauce using all ingredients including salt. lemon and optionals, simmered it 5 minutes, then slid our 3/4 in fish fillets in for 6 minutes total. I think the method at step 12 would over cook any fish so chose not to do it. I used Spangled Emperor (a delicious relative of snapper) and garnished the finished dish with chopped coriander. It would have been an easier recipe to follow if ingredients were listed as they were used in the method.