I love cooking on weekends. I tried my hand at Meen Moily today. Its an incredible dish of a million contradictions, subtly flavored to suit most palates. Let me tell you how this is made.
- 1 tsp mustard seeds;
- 1 onion - thinly sliced;
- 1 tbsp ginger slices;
- 1 tbsp garlic paste;
- 1 tomato, chopped into large pieces;
- 4 slit green chillies;
- a dozen curry leaves;
- coconut milk - a cup of thin extract and another cup of a thick extract;
- 250 gms of seer/ pomfret/ mackrel/ tilapia/ snapper fish;
- juice of half a lemon;
- 2 tbsp of turmeric
The history of the Fish Moily as I know it, is extremely interesting. As most people would know, the cuisine of Kerala is very rich in spices and extremely hot! Many years back when the Portugese came to God's own country, they were served an extremely spicy dish that they found too hot to handle. This is when Moily, a local lady added coconut milk to the dish to make the dish palatable for the foreigners. There started the legend of Meen (Fish) Moily.
Coming back to recipe, the first step is to marinate the fish. This is extremely simple - apply a tbsp of turmeric, the lemon juice and some salt to the fish and put it away for 30 minutes. Remember to create incisions if you're using whole fish, so that the marinade and later the curry seeps in.
Once you're ready to start cooking, heat a tbsp of oil and crackle the mustard seeds and the chillies. Follow this up with the ginger, garlic and curry leaves and finally the onions. As soon as the onions start to become translucent add a tbsp of turmeric and let the color sink into the masala. This is the base for your curry. Wait until the onions gets translucent and add the thin extract of coconut milk. Its important that the thin extract goes first, since coconut milk has a tendency to curdle and the thinner the extract, the better. Drop the fish into this curry and ensure that the curry gets into the incisions you'd made earlier. Place a lid on the pan and let the curry simmer for about 5-7 mins, so that fish can cook. Remember fish is a bit of a sweet meat so its important that you don't overcook it. Once the fish is cooked, add the thick extract of coconut milk, stir for a few seconds and top up the curry with the tomatoes. Leave the curry to simmer for just one more minute, before you get it off the flame. Fish Moily is best enjoyed with rice, Appams, or home made dosas. As you will notice this is a really simple dish to cook (as are most Indian dishes) and takes no time to get to the table. An ideal recipe to impress the wife and to take credit for what will be a sumptuous meal!