Sunday, April 20, 2008

Karuvadu Kuzhambu (Dry fish curry)



Ever since I went for a team outing last week to a crab-house, I started having a craving for home-made fish curry. Its been months since I've made fish at home. Fish is the only sea-food I like to cook at home, though several times I've thought about cooking spicy crab curries. I do have some awesome recipes for crab curries, but haven't cooked so far.

Being a tamilian, I've enjoyed many fish varieties while growing up. Fish is never a scarcity in our place as Tamilnadu is a coastal state. Sea-food is flavored with different ingredients in different parts of India. Tamilian cooking uses Tamarind, turmeric and curry leaves for flavoring , while on the western coast of malabar, sea-food is flavored using Coconut and Curry leaves whereas Goan cooking uses Coconut, Chillies and Vinegar. Some of tamilian fish curries use coconuts, while most of them do not.


This is a wonderful dish that my mom makes. I bought this dry fish from an Indian store in California when I visited my sister a few months before. This is the same variety that we get in India. It has an extra-ordinary flavor. Since I had the craving for fish curry from last week, I wanted to cook it as soon as possible. I do love the dry-fish curry as much as a fresh fish curry. I quickly called up my mom to double-check on the recipe and cooked it right away. It came out awesome as usual, and my kitchen smells divine now :-)


I usually make it extra spicy to compensate the "fishy" smell, but you can vary the spices to your choice.


Ingredients:

  • Any dried fish - 8-10 pieces (I used Seer fish)
  • Pearl Onions/Shallots - 6
  • Garlic - 4 cloves
  • Curry leaves - 10
  • Tamarind paste - 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel seeds powder - 1 tsp (optional)
  • Mustard & Cumin seeds, Fennel seeds - 1 tsp each
  • Coconut paste - 1 tbsp
  • Kuzhambu Powder - 2 tbsp (I use the home-made kuzhambu powder, if not use can substitue with 2 tsps chilli powder, 2 tsps corriander powder & 1 tsp cumin powder. I've heard that sambar powder also works well, but I've never tried it so far in fish curries)


Procedure:


  • Soak the dry-fish in steaming hot water for 5 mins, remove and set aside.
  • In a pan, mix the tamarind paste, kuzhambu powder, turmeric powder and salt in 3 cups of water and boil. Simmer for 10-15 mins or until the raw smell goes.
  • Meanwhile crush the shallots & garlic or run them for a few seconds in a food processor (shouldn't be a paste).
  • Add this to the boiling mixture and boil for 5 mins. The whole mixture should start to thicken up slightly.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a separate pan (I use gingely oil/sesame oil for added flavor) and season with mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. Add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add this to the boiling mixture along with some fennel powder (optional) and mix well.
  • Then add the coconut paste and dry fish - cover and boil it for 6-8 mins on medium heat until the dry-fish is soft and juicy.

You can add water as and when needed depending on the consistency.


Serve with hot plain rice.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi
i liked your blog, it is interesting and informative. I have a question, it is not about cooking,but about the way of wearing saree, for a folk dance... like the village women wear in movies, what do you call it and do you know how to wrap, if so why not do a blog about it.... it will elp many ....like us ...
thanks
vini

Akal's Saappadu said...

karuvaadu kozhambu looks nice hot and yummy! one of the recipes i don't do very often, unfortunately... my grandma used to do it when we were kids, you revive my memories .....

Nardeena said...

tasty receipe

Anonymous said...

was looking for this recipe.thanx so much,will try this

Anonymous said...

Hello... thank you so much for this post. It looks mouth-watering.
I have some clarification... Where did you buy this dry fish? What was written on the packet?

Sujatha said...

Anonymous, thanks for your nice comments. I bought this in a local indian grocery store. It comes in packets and says 'sheer fish ( dried)' on the package. If you happen to try this, do let me know. Best of luck!

SamBar & Spicy said...

At the expense of sounding ill informed, does this recipe work with fresh fish as well? Your Chettinad fish curry is now on my favorites list and I wonder if this works with fresh fish. Logic tells me, YOU BET, but I thought I'd check.

Sujatha said...

This recipe is specifically meant for dry fish, and the spices are given to accomodate the flavors of dry fish. :)

Prathap Rajamani said...

I tried this dish and it smelt marvelous. The smell almost reached our neighbors. Taste is still in my tongue!!

Gracian said...

Brilliant info about karuvadu kullambu made my mouth water even as I read it

thanks

Anup said...

This is a fantastic recipe...had some dried anchovy fish in hand...so making this for tonight's dinner...

i think tamarind and fish are a marriage made in heaven...awesome!

Anup said...

This is an awesome recipe...trying this with dried anchovy fish...

i think tamarind and fish are a marriage made in heaven!

Anonymous said...

Is that four whole garlic or four cloves of garlic?

Sujatha said...

Dear Anonymous - I meant 4 cloves of garlic. I updated my post as well.. Happy Cooking!

Anonymous said...

nice recipe

Anonymous said...

Please please tell me where you got the seer fish. I live in California too so would love to get hold of some. I'm craving so e dry fish cUrry and haven't found dry fish. It is so much easier to find in London!