Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mahe-Style Fish Salad

This recipe was brought to my attention by Vrinda chechi (Vrinda Giri, in Chennai now), who is my dad's cousin (the Fish Baked In White Sauce  that I remembered even after 15 years was cooked by her mom!). From day one of this blog, Vrindechi has encouraged me with her comments and suggestions on the phone, on emails, and on this blog. She herself is a repertoire of recipes and told me that this particular fish recipe was a Mahe classic and used to be cooked quite often during her childhood days. My dad also told me the same thing later. Apparently, there were a lot of innovative cooks back then!

Since recipes like this rarely have a name, Vrindechi and I agreed to call it a "fish salad" because of the similarity this had to a salad dressing (or whatever!). I think its important to document recipes like this, before they get forgotten and lost between generations. Of course, it also fits perfectly in my category of "effortless cooking" and could even be called not just the mother, but the grandmother of all easy fish curry recipes (maybe its the sister of the Pasted Chicken recipe!). It not only looked good, but tasted fantastic and had minimal effort behind it! Hats off to our grandmothers/aunts or great-great grandmothers/aunts who came up with this!

Here's the recipe (Serves 4)

   Fish     4 slices if its the big, fleshy variety or 8 whole pieces of smaller fish
  1. Turmeric             1 teaspoon
  2. Chilli powder       2 tablespoons
  3. Salt                    To taste
  4. Onions                1 big, chopped fine or pearl onions 10, chopped fine
  5. Green chillies       2, chopped fine
  6. Coconut milk       1 cup, thin in consistency (or use coconut milk powder, 5 teaspoons in one cup water)
  7. Vinegar               1 tablespoon, but adjust to taste
  8. Coriander leaves  2 tablespoons
  9. Salt                     To taste
  • Make a paste (with water) of the turmeric, chilli powder and salt.
  • Marinate the fish in this and rest 10 minutes.
  • Shallow fry till lightly done on both sides.
  • Now mix all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  • Next, you have two options. A-Take the fried fish out of the skillet and dunk it into the coconut milk dressing that you just prepared. Or, B- If you're like me and the kind that likes to polish off the skillet in which the fish was fried, oil, masala and all, then go ahead and leave the fish in the skillet itself after frying, take off the heat, and pour the coconut mixture over the fish. Do not stir with a spoon. Just swirl it around.
  • It is important to note that you do not need to heat the fish after the coconut milk gravy is added. It might be difficult at first to believe this could be good since its not cooked, but just take it as a salad dressing for fish :-).
That's it! Fish salad ready! Serve with bread or roti or even rice!


Tina said...

Looks great, and I am sure will taste great too! Have you read "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain. It totally freaked me out what he revealed about the seafood industry in France.

Karishma said...

Thanks Tina, try it out and see! No, I haven't read that book, curious about it now...good or bad revelations?!

Emreen said...

Hi Kary,

Wow ! This is again the simplest fish curry recipe.. And definitely all ur recipes go by your blog one-liner "Effortless cooking"... Keep sharing more and more of these... ;-) ;-)

Tina said...

Sorry I can't try it out because non-veg is banned in the house :)but I've bookmarked the Bechamel sauce. I plan to make it with macaroni and mushrooms. This is the book I am talking about: http://www.flipkart.com/kitchen-confidential-anthony-bourdain-book-0747553556. He says restaurants buy sea food on Thursdays (when they get a good price) and use them as "specials" for Sunday Brunches. What is still left over from the brunches, they give it on Monday. So he says "Don't order sea food on Mondays".

Karishma said...

yes, tina, it goes well with macaroni and mushrooms, you can add capsicum, onions and tomatoes also in it. Thanks for the flipkart link and details about the fishy business in restaurants! lemme see if i can get my hands on the book now!