The recipe I am going to share today is a fish curry which uses ground fresh coconut, and therefore called “Thenga Aracha” or “Pacha Thenga Aracha Meen Curry”. This is easily HD’s favorite fish curry – hands down! Normally he doesn’t tell much about my cooking. If it’s a flop, he keeps quiet and if it turns out decent, he says it tastes good. He would always ask me, “Why don’t you make fish curry like how ammayi (his aunt) makes it?” When I go to his place (he’s from Payyoli, which is close to Vadakara, better know for PT Usha!), they don’t allow me into the kitchen. I know it sounds funny and strange, but it’s true, Alhamdulillah. His aunt and my sister-in-laws tell me to watch over the kids. So it gets difficult for me to see how they are making food. Finally, I learned this curry when we had his cousin’s family stay along with us for a month. I told her I wanted to specifically learn this, stood by her as she made it twice with my notebook and pencil. She did give me a very funny look, but I couldn’t care! Hehe…
It took me three attempts to get it right – in the sense, just enough curry for us, in small quantity. Most of the curries are tough to downsize, especially comes true with fish curries! At least I can carry leftover chicken or vegetable curry in my lunch box to office, but what will I do with fish curries? Hence the need to come up with crisp details! Unlike the varutharacha meen curry which is the way how umma would always make, the tanginess comes from tomatoes in this gravy. It is quite easy to make, and comes together quite well. I haven’t mentioned the water quantity, since I forgot to measure it, and hence gave an estimate of how much will be required. Just like every coconut based curry, do not make the mistake of boiling it once the paste is added – it will split! It won’t affect the taste much but it will definitely not be good looking. Off to the recipe…
Pachathenga Aracha Meen Curry ~ Malabar Fish Gravy with Fresh Coconut Paste
- 250 gm fish I used mackarel
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 6 pearl onions sliced
- 3 green chillies chopped
- 2 to matoes chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Curry leaves for garnish
- FOR GRINDING:
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 tsp fennel powder
- Grind the ingredients under "for grinding" with very little water till smooth. It is important to grind it till there are no bites and it looks like a smooth sauce.
- Heat oil in a chatti. Fry the fenugreek seeds briefly.
- Add the pearl onions and saute till wilted.
- Add in the green chillies and tomatoes along with some salt and cook, stirring occasssionally, till the tomatoes ooze out water and is totally wilted.
- Add the powders and saute till a cooked aroma comes.
- Add enough water to cook the the fish and bring it to boil.
- Add the fish and cook till done.
- Finally add the ground paste and give a good mix. Switch off - do not boil after adding the paste.
- Sprinkle with curry leaves and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving with rice and sides.