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
- Turmeric 1 teaspoon
- Chilli powder 2 tablespoons
- Salt To taste
- Onions 1 big, chopped fine or pearl onions 10, chopped fine
- Green chillies 2, chopped fine
- Coconut milk 1 cup, thin in consistency (or use coconut milk powder, 5 teaspoons in one cup water)
- Vinegar 1 tablespoon, but adjust to taste
- Coriander leaves 2 tablespoons
- 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!