• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Tom Thomas

Nadan Meen Curry: A Delicacy for the Soul

22 posts in this topic

Kerala( southern most state of India), we  call it "GODS OWN COUNTRY", why won’t it be ...

Lush green fields , beautiful rivers and lakes , backwaters , unadulterated spices , Big coconut trees (now even come in varieties with yellow coconut on them), sprawling beaches , ancient temples , mysterious shrines , beautiful churches , enthralling wild life, pure ayurveda , amazing martial arts , enchanting dance forms , classical music and top of all beautiful people.

It’s an amalgamation of extraordinary things, but the thing that has left the most biggest impact on my soul, is the cuisine of this beautiful state.

 

Coming from a Malayali family(resident of kerala), I always looked forward to our visits to Kerala just for the food, the smell of those freshly cut bananas deep frying, fresh fish coated in spices and shallow fried, rice delicacies cooked in banana leaves, greatest varieties of tubers, stews, appams, parotha and for the sweet tooth’s the Special Halwa(convection) from those lovely bakeries which are mushrooming everywhere in the state.
 

Being a coastal state Kerala cuisine has in it lots of seafood delicacies, beautiful fresh water fishes, cooked in aromatic masala is a feast for soul.

Being a avid foodie there are varieties of recipes which I would love to share but the recipe which I will be sharing is the one which I always look forward to and the one unique taste which I deeply miss, although I have been trying this recipe here in Delhi but the taste which comes from cooking in earthenware (chetti) dish  and using kokum / gamboge ( souring agent found in kerala) and fresh ingredients of Kerala is not matched.
 The smell of the curry with deep red colour is something for the senses to feel. So I would like to share one my mother’s recipe which is meen (fish) curry

 

Fish -                                500 gms

Salt-                                  2 tsp

Turmeric -                        1 tsp

Fenugreek Powder -      1 tsp

Red chilli powder  -        2 tsp

Onion -                              2 tbsp chopped 

Ginger-                             1 tbsp finely chopped

Garlic -                              1 tbsp finely chopped 

Kokum/ gamboge -        2 no.

Curry Leaves -                 7 nos.

Water -                              2 cups

 

Method:

1.      Finally chop ginger , garlic and onions and keep aside

2.      Rub little salt on the fish pieces (skinned or de skinned fillets) and keep it to rest.

3.      Take oil in a special earthenware (called chetti), add oil and sauté onions, garlic and ginger.

4.      Once the raw aroma of garlic is not felt, add turmeric, coriander, fenugreek & red chilli powder.

5.      When the masala is cooked add  kokum and fish

6.      Add water and little salt and let the fish cook in water.

7.      Reduce it till the desired consistency is reached.

8.      Serve with rice or kappa

Note:                                          
if you don’t have( kokum/ gamboge) , tamarind or tomatoes can be used as alternative. This dish tastes best with boiled kappa (which is a tuber found in Kerala) or with steamed rice.

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to eGullet, Tom Thomas!

 

You make me want to travel to India, and I'm eager to try this curry.  Tell me: what kind of fish works best with this?  I'm guessing a firm-fleshed white fish, but I'd like to know.  My next question is, would it work with shrimp?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Tom! One of my best friends is also a Mallu Thomas. I love Keralite food - it's definitely my favorite in India! 

 

What sort of fish would you recommend? Is meen a specific type of fish or just a general term?

 

I remember reading somewhere that kokum is used almost exclusively for fish dishes - is that the case? Also, is there a difference between kokum and kodampuli, because I've seen that used in recipes in a similar context.

 

Please post more recipes as you're able!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is fresh turmeric used much in kerala, as opposed to the dried powder form? I assume this recipe uses the powdered turmeric.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my erstwhile specialization in Indian and Southeast Asian food, I can say that for the most part turmeric powder is what's called for in curries. In Southeast Asian (certain Thai and Malay/Indonesian) ones, sometimes fresh turmeric is pounded up as part of the curry paste. This is not to say fresh turmeric isn't used in Indian cuisine, but the powder is what's used in, for lack of a better term, the masala.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for taking time to read my post much appreciated . Actually I am so happy because it was my first post and I always had this apprehension whether readers would like it or not.

 

 

 

Coming to all the questions:

@ smithy : any fresh water fish will taste better with this recipe , i haven't tried this recipe with Shrimp but i think , shrimp would be requiring just little more masala and slightly thicker curry.

and thank you very much once again u have given me one of the best compliments

 

@ Hassouni: Thank you very much for your reply , "Meen" is a term we use for fish in Kerala , i would recommend any fresh water fish over salt water fish (sea water), yes you are right that kokum is used as souring agent but the fruit which we use in this recipe is  kodam Puli, which is different , but kokum is an equally good substitute.

 

@ Kenneth : Thank you for your reply , we use powdered turmeric as it is easily available , fresh turmeric is used in kerala but in ayurvedic preparations mostly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'm glad you posted despite your apprehensions!

I'll be able to get some fresh shrimp and fish in the next couple of days. I already have the other ingredients (most of them) and look forward to trying this. I'll let you know how it comes out!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many-many happy returns of the day Tom.

Its a wonderful initiative you have taken. I will surely try this at home. 

Please keep us posting these things. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've discovered that I don't have all the necessary ingredients! Tell me: if I substitute tomato for the kokum/gamboge, how much tomato would I use? Similarly, if I use tamarind instead, how much would I use?

Also: is there a good substitute for curry leaves? If so, what, and in what quantity?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smithy, as someone who has cooked a LOT of South Indian food in the past, I can say that I wouldn't recommend tomatoes as a sub for kokum. Tamarind maybe.

 

As for curry leaves, nothing has that flavor, so there's really no sub at all. Is there an Indian grocery nearby? They should definitely have curry leaves and possibly kokum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, thanks for posting this. Looks good. Curry leaves add a subtle flavour. You'd hardly notice it if it wasn't there unless you know what you're missing, if you see what I mean.

Subbing for kokum: go for tamarind. In fact using tamarind would not strictly be wrong, more a variation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When subbing in tamarind, how much should you use? Do you first prep it like in other SE asian cuisines and knead it with hot water and then strain out the pulp/seeds?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the same question. I've found tamarind. How much tamarind should be used as a substitute for the kokum?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom Thomas: Several dishes you mentioned in your first post caught my attention as they sound so similar to what we enjoyed in Malaysia. We were staying with friends in the northern tip of the country, a village in Kadah province. What really got my attention was the fresh fish coated  with spices and shallow frie you mentioned. My friend said they used mackerel, rubbed with salt and turmeric and fried until crispy. The flesh was almost dry and so easy to eat with the hands. Can you elaborate? I tried when we got back home and it just didn't turn out the same...


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smithy, as someone who has cooked a LOT of South Indian food in the past, I can say that I wouldn't recommend tomatoes as a sub for kokum. Tamarind maybe.

 

As for curry leaves, nothing has that flavor, so there's really no sub at all. Is there an Indian grocery nearby? They should definitely have curry leaves and possibly kokum.

So far I haven't been near an Indian grocery, but I'll keep an eye out. In the meantime, I'm still trying to work out how much tamarind to subtitute for the kokum. Any ideas?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So far I haven't been near an Indian grocery, but I'll keep an eye out. In the meantime, I'm still trying to work out how much tamarind to subtitute for the kokum. Any ideas?

Smithy

My research suggests 1 teaspoon tamarind paste for each kokoum skin/petal. Tamarind paste is more cocentrated than what you obtain by the boiling water extraction method so maybe up it to 1 1/2 or two teaspoons and see how that works.

1 person likes this

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Friends 

sorry for late reply ..held up with some work..

for the recipe mentioned , 2 tsp of tamarind pulp will serve good.

and like any other curry , taamrind should first be soaked and then used.

 

THANKS

 

Enjoy cooking

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom Thomas: Several dishes you mentioned in your first post caught my attention as they sound so similar to what we enjoyed in Malaysia. We were staying with friends in the northern tip of the country, a village in Kadah province. What really got my attention was the fresh fish coated  with spices and shallow frie you mentioned. My friend said they used mackerel, rubbed with salt and turmeric and fried until crispy. The flesh was almost dry and so easy to eat with the hands. Can you elaborate? I tried when we got back home and it just didn't turn out the same...

 

dejah..

we do the same , but because we foind black peppercorn in abundance here in kerala , we use that too

what you can do is take some shallots , garlic and turmeric , mix with salt and pepper and little lemon juice and make a paste 

( we use stone gridlers for making paste as   they give a peculiar flavour to the marinade).

score ur fish and marinate it , let it absorb all the marinade and then shallow fry the same.

you can keep it in refrigerator after marination just to harden the flesh.

 

my mother also applies salt as first coating she says it hardens the flesh as water is drained off because of salt ( i dnt use this method)

 

Do send me feedback 

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my first attempt at Nadan Meen Curry tonight.  Here's my report and my feedback.

 

First of all, it was delicious!   :smile:

 

I did come away with a number of questions, but I'll show some pictures of what I did as I go.

 

First, the raw ingredients, as near to what you specified as I could manage:

 

Raw ingredients.jpg

 

 

You didn't specify what kind of oil to use to begin cooking.  I happen to have some red palm oil, and I used that.  It adds an interesting color, as can be seen with this photo of the onion, which was already beginning to soften, and the garlic, which had just been added.  In your notes you indicated that the onion, garlic and ginger should all be added at once.  (I usually end up burning the garlic when I do that, so I added it after the onion was already softened.)

 

Sweating just added garlic.jpg

 

Your instructions say to add the fish "when the masala is cooked"...I realized I didn't know what that meant!  I probably added the fish too soon.

Simmering 2.jpg

 

 It was well-cooked enough after a short simmer that I removed it to a warm oven while I cooked the sauce down.  

 

It took a while to cook the sauce down, and I wondered just how thick it should be.  Here's the fish and sauce, ready to serve:

 

Ready to serve.jpg

and here's a plate of the fish and sauce over rice.  Bread and vegetables were served separately.

 

Served.jpg

 

We both thought it was delicious!  We'll be trying it again, possibly with thicker fish (these were thin fillets) and certainly with a shorter cooking time to the fish.  If I can lay my hands on the missing ingredients, I'll add them.

 

So:

First, thanks so much for this recipe!  It passes the taste test!

Second - and this is the test of communication - how close did I come to what you tried to explain?

 

 

 

 

 

3 people like this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made my first attempt at Nadan Meen Curry tonight.  Here's my report and my feedback.

 

First of all, it was delicious!   :smile:

 

I did come away with a number of questions, but I'll show some pictures of what I did as I go.

 

First, the raw ingredients, as near to what you specified as I could manage:

 

attachicon.gifRaw ingredients.jpg

 

 

You didn't specify what kind of oil to use to begin cooking.  I happen to have some red palm oil, and I used that.  It adds an interesting color, as can be seen with this photo of the onion, which was already beginning to soften, and the garlic, which had just been added.  In your notes you indicated that the onion, garlic and ginger should all be added at once.  (I usually end up burning the garlic when I do that, so I added it after the onion was already softened.)

 

attachicon.gifSweating just added garlic.jpg

 

Your instructions say to add the fish "when the masala is cooked"...I realized I didn't know what that meant!  I probably added the fish too soon.

attachicon.gifSimmering 2.jpg

 

 It was well-cooked enough after a short simmer that I removed it to a warm oven while I cooked the sauce down.  

 

It took a while to cook the sauce down, and I wondered just how thick it should be.  Here's the fish and sauce, ready to serve:

 

attachicon.gifReady to serve.jpg

and here's a plate of the fish and sauce over rice.  Bread and vegetables were served separately.

 

attachicon.gifServed.jpg

 

We both thought it was delicious!  We'll be trying it again, possibly with thicker fish (these were thin fillets) and certainly with a shorter cooking time to the fish.  If I can lay my hands on the missing ingredients, I'll add them.

 

So:

First, thanks so much for this recipe!  It passes the taste test!

Second - and this is the test of communication - how close did I come to what you tried to explain?

Hi Smithy...

Well the fish looked amazing , Although i personally like my sauces a little thin when having with rice as it moistens the rice well.

While cooking onions first and ginger garlic next , as rightly mentioned saves those burnt garlic.

The chilli powder used in india is reddish and gives a reddish tinge to the gravy. 

Thankyou so much for trying the recipe , been working on the next will post soon.

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks so good!  Smithy - what type of fish was that?  It looks similar to the tilapia I have in my freezer, so I'm thinking I may try that tomorrow night.  I'll probably do some stir-fried cabbage to go along side as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks so good!  Smithy - what type of fish was that?  It looks similar to the tilapia I have in my freezer, so I'm thinking I may try that tomorrow night.  I'll probably do some stir-fried cabbage to go along side as well.

 

That fish was swai.  We buy it in packages of individually-wrapped fillets, frozen, much like tilapia that we buy.  We think swai may be slightly firmer than tilapia, but they're very similar.  Tilapia should work as well, I think.

1 person likes this

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • Bhunooing
      By Phill Bernier
      Hi There,
       
      I came across this term, Bunooing, which I'd never heard before. I had a look around to try and understand the method behind it, but came across a number of inferences on what bhunooing is and how it works, some of which were conflicting and a little confusing. I would be very grateful if someone could clear this up for me and perhaps answer a few questions. This is my understanding of bhunooing so far:-
       
      Essentially, this is a method of releasing essential oils that are cooped up in your dry spices and leaves too. The types of spices used are the hard spices such as cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds etc. As I understand it powdered spice can be added, but nearer the end of the bhunooing process.
       
      The thinking behind this method is that spices take on moisture over time which dilutes the essential oils in the spices. By slow frying the spices you are gently evaporating the water and releasing the concentrated essential oils from the spice which enhances the power of spice, giving it more punch.
       
      The bhunooing process can be used to make a vibrant base for your gravy. To do this, heat a good amount of oil on high and then bring it down to a medium heat. Add your spices and onion and slowly fry until the onion turns a light brown. At this point add your liquid/ gravy.
      Some questions that I have are:-
      Why heat the oil to hot and bring to medium? Why not just heat to medium? Does bhunooing always have to include onions? The first time I tried this, the onions absorbed all of the oil after a while - is this okay? Or does it mean that I used too much oil? Is this the same, or does it have any relation to the bhuna? I have come across articles and recipes that refer to bhunooing and suggest that it's (perhaps) just the process of slow cooking ingredients on a flame/ hob - is this correct? How long should I be frying the spices for? I would be very grateful for any help you can provide.
       
      Thank you in advance
      Phill
    • Food coloring in Indian Dishes
      By polly
      Lately i've been wondering about the use of food colouring in Indian food.
      Is there a traditional aesthetic use of it, or is it maybe to reproduce the colour that chilli powder or saffron would have given to a dish?
    • Guest nimki
      "Flavours of Delhi"
      By Guest nimki
      Hi
      I just finished reading Flavours of Delhi. It was an interesting concept, though I found the descriptions too sketchy.
      Two points of note in the book -
      1) Connaught Place persistently spelt as Connuaght Place
      2) Description of Kachri as a dried melon, being used as a souring agent.
      To the best of my knowledge, and I do know about Kachris, they are small fruits (about the size of a large ber) that grow on climbers, in Haryana and Rajasthan. Both the fresh and dried kachri are eaten in different forms. The most delicious cooked chutney is made out of dried kachris and it is very popular in Haryana, though I haven't heard of it being eaten outside of the state. (It is also a bit of an acquired taste).
      Another thing I've heard described as kachri is by Punjabis. They refer to slices of baingan, dipped in a besan paste and deep fried, as Kachri.
      My question is, has anyone heard of a wild /dried or any other kind of melon called kachri?
      Or was it a factual error?
    • Dosa
      By Suvir Saran
      I have recently made trips to a Dosa spot that has been praised quite a lot around this site and elsewhere.
      I was terribly dissapointed.
      Dosas are one of my favorite foods. It is a pity that Indian restaurants in NYC have really not shared the magic that can come with each bite of a Dosa. Some friends of mine that have traveled to India and had loved Dosas even before making that trip, came back never wanting to eat American Indian Dosas again. There is such a marked difference.
      Why is that so? What makes them so different?
      Where do you find your favorite Dosa?
      What are you looking for in a good Dosa?
      What do you think the perfect Dosa should be like?
      What should the Sambhaar have in it? What consistency should it be?
      What should the chutney be like? What chutneys would you like to eat it with? What do you think are the authentic companions to a Dosa?
    • Wet spice/curry paste grinders
      By TheCulinaryLibrary
      I'm thinking of buying a wet spice/curry paste grinder. Any ideas on what brands are the best?
      Premier super-g, Preethi ??
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.