Jan 25, 2012

Malvani Fish Curry

Homemade Malvani Masala

Malvani cuisine is very popular in Mavani region of the Western coast of India. This masala is very useful for seafood and coconut based dishes. Nagkeshar and dagad phool (stone flower) available at Annachi store in Chennai. Recipe adapted from Maharashtra Tourism.

Makes: 90 g

You will need

50 g whole dry red chillies

1/4 cup (50 g) coriander seeds (dhania)

12 cloves (loung)

7-8 black peppercorns

2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)

2 black cardamoms

5 two inch sticks cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons stone flower (dagad phool)

1/2 teaspoon nagkeshar

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1 inch piece turmeric stick

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

1 nutmeg

1/2 star anise


In an iron kadai / pan, first dry roast dried red chillies and coriander seeds (approximate frying time 12 – 15 minutes on a medium to low heat). Then add other ingredients. Stir continuously until fragrant and crisp (approximate time on a medium to low heat 12 - 15 minutes). Keep aside to cool for 15 – 20 minutes and then make a fine powder in a mixer. If using a small mixer bowl, grind in 2 batches. Store in an airtight container.

Malvani Fish Curry

A very tasty fish curry. Goes well with Rice in Malvani cuisine !!!

Allow the curry to stand for at least 1 hour before serving so that the gravy and fish absorbs all the flavors.

Serves: 4 – 5

You will need

For fish:

500 g (net weight after cutting and cleaning) fish pieces (pomfret or surmai)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ teaspoon red chilli powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash and fish pieces. Drain out water completely. In a wide bowl, marinate fish pieces with salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and lemon juice (marinate evenly). Keep aside for half an hour.

For the curry:

You will need

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 onion (small size), finely sliced

200 ml water (1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Marinated fish pieces

Coconut paste

1 tablespoons Malvani Masala

Extra 1/4 cup (50 ml) water

2 teaspoons coriander leaves

For the coconut paste:

75 g (5 tablespoons) grated coconut

6 dried red chillies

1 green chilli, chopped

2 teaspoons thick tamarind paste

2 teaspoons poppy seeds (khus khus)

½ - inch piece ginger, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons coriander leaves

1 teaspoon mint leaves


Wipe dried red chillies with a kitchen towel and soak dried red chillies in ¼ cup (50 ml) water for half an hour (Use this water to a make a paste). Transfer all the ingredients in a mixer bowl and make a smooth paste with reserve water.

Final preparation:

In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add sliced onions and fry on a medium to low heat until golden color.

Add 1 cup (200 ml) water and arrange marinated fish pieces and kokum (if using, if using tamarind paste then no need to add kokum). Add salt to taste. Cover with a lid and boil on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes (until ½ done / color of the fish pieces slightly changes).

Add coconut paste and 1 tablespoon Malvani masala (Add extra ¼ cup (50 ml) water if required). Gently stir well until well combined. Cover again and cook on a medium to low heat for another 5 - 7 minutes or until done. Pomfret fish will cook very fast. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Serve with Rice.

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