Friday, 15 July 2016

Fish curry - Meen Kulambu

Traditions are funny things aren't they,neither can you put up with them nor can you do without them.And in their own way they characterise and make a culture unique. I've never been a huge fan of them and most of the time I follow them just to avoid fruitless and draining arguments.This is something you learn as you grow older,when you're young you question things and try to rebel and as you grow older you realise that tolerating things,more bluntly said indifference, saves you a lot of much needed energy :) Well, these days I look at traditions and customs with interest.As a kid when I found them illogical,I demanded for an explanation,and depending upon the mood of the grown up,I would either be threatened that not following them would bring evil or given a lecture about how I would understand their significance once I get old.Some patient people would tell me that each custom usually had some scientific reasoning behind it.I hope I'll one day figure out the scientific reason behind hanging a lemon on a vehicle or keeping a broomstick under the bed :) I was somehow of the idea ,that being raised in India I had seen it all when it comes to traditions, but I was in for a surprise. Every country seems to have their own share of traditions.Like I mentioned in my previous post my daughter's kindergarten years are over and she had a farewell party on her last day.Surprisingly or I'd rather say miraculously we were in time,I'm sure the whole kindergarten was shocked,we are always late .As we entered, the teachers were very excited and asked me if I was having mixed emotions  about the 'Rausschmiss .Now Rausschmiss directly translates to 'Throwing out'.That's the way things are here, everything from their language,clothes to their cakes, are pretty straight forward and practical,you'd rarely find anything very flowery or sugar coated,I have a separate post about that coming up later :)Coming to the 'Throwing out' part,I could sense the other parents moving about with a feeling of sadness and excitement.So we had an usual farewell party after which the parents were asked to take everything and go out and wait.I had no idea what I was waiting for when the teachers pulled up a big bed and threw it near the door.And then ,they carried the kids one by one and threw them out on the bed as the parents went near the bed to hug each one.The kids were super excited ,with each one demanding to be thrown higher than the previous one.One teary eyed mom standing near me whispered in my ears how it reminded her of her own 'Throwing out', where the kids were made to jump out of a window on the ground floor onto a similar bed.Guess though I didn't understand the reasoning behind the tradition,it would always be a cherished memory for the kids.Made me wonder if that was the whole idea behind some traditions,making memories.After all aren't memories one of those things which keeps us going !!
So now we have two months of holidays in our hands, and I literally have 'Two little monkeys jumping on the bed' :)Guess I'd be posting more sporadically,with both of them at home.Coming to the recipe,over the years my cooking style and taste has changed a lot.But this is one traditional recipe where I blindly follow my mom and Grandmother.This is a traditional south Indian dish. It is so easy to prepare and gives me that feeling of home.......

You'll Need:
Fish - 200 g
For the Masala Paste:
Small onion (shallots) - 7 -9 (peeled and chopped into two)
Tomato - 1 very big(finely chopped)
Coriander leaves - 3 -4 sprigs(finely chopped)
Curry leaves - from one sprig
Coconut - finely chopped -3 tbsp
Garlic - 5 -6 small cloves - chopped
Ginger - a tiny peice(optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Whole pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
Carom seeds -1/4 tsp(or lesser)
Cumin seeds -  1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp

For the curry:
Tamarind - about the size of one or two big gooseberries
(soak in a cup of  warm water for 20 minutes and squeeze and drain to extract the juice)

 For the tempering:
Oil - 1 - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds -  1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

salt as needed

-For the masala: Add 2 tsp of oil to a pan ,when it heats up splutter the peppercorns, mustard,fennel ,carom and cumin seeds.Add the curry leaves and garlic.Saute for a minute or two.
-Add the small onions with a pinch of salt and saute for 2 minutes,Then add the Tomatoes along with the Turmeric,coriander and chilli powder and mix well.
-Simmer and let it cook until the mixture oozes out oil.
-Then add the coriander leaves and mix well.Finally add the coconut and saute for another two minutes.
-Remove the mixture off the stove,Let it cool and grind to a slightly coarse paste.
-Extract the juice from the Tamarind.
-Clean and chop the fish.

For the Curry:
-In a vessel add the paste and the tamarind juice and mix well.On a medium heat let the mixture cook for 4 -5 minutes.Check for salt and add as needed.
-Then add the fish and mix carefully.
-Let it cook on a low to medium flame for 10 - 15 minutes until it is full cooked.Do not mix often as the fish might break into pieces.Let it simmer for another 2 -3 minutes.
-In a another pan heat the oil for tempering and splutter the other ingredients.
-Add the tempering to the curry and take it off the stove.

Note:This curry pretty much works with any variety of fish,but the ones with bones taste better.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Fish Patties - Meen Vadai

It has been a real hectic week with one of the kids falling sick and the other one having a sleepover at her kindergarten. I've never had a sleepover in all my life and when my little one's kindergarten said that they had a sleepover as a part of their farewell,I was a bit sceptical.But her enthusiasm was so contagious that I had to give in.It was fun to watch the almost 6 year old kids standing excitedly with their torch lights and backpacks,and the parents standing tiredly nearby with their makeshift beds.A part of me was happy when my little girl said 'Mummy leave I'm fine' and a part of me was also sad that she's suddenly all grown up and didn't say 'Mummy stay'.Having studied at the same school from kindergarten for 14 years,I find the system here a bit strange.The kids go to kindergarten for 3 years,then they move on to a Primary school for 4 years after which depending on their capabilities and accomplishments they move to different schools until they get to college.I am somehow convinced that most of the deep lasting friendships start in school and when the kids have to keep moving from one school to another, it would be difficult to find and hold on to a friendship.Not to mention the language and cultural barriers that they face with the kids coming from different countries.But on the other hand I guess it would also make them more adaptable and tougher.It's difficult being a parent, a part of you wants them to be tough and independent,and there's this other part which wishes that they'll always need you.Guess it's a long journey,the only way to keep going is to take one step at a time !

Coming to the recipe,this is an all time favourite at home .This is one starter that I prepare when I have guests coming over as it's easy to make and definitely a hit !

Makes 12 - 14
You'll Need:
Tuna or any bone less fish - 200 g (boiled and mashed)
Potatoes - 3 big (boiled,peeled,mashed)
Onion - 1/2 a medium one (finely chopped)
Ginger (grated) - 1/2 tsp(heaped)
Garlic (grated) - 1/2 tsp(heaped)
Green Chillies(finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves(finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves(finely chopped) - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper Powder  - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt as needed
Oil as needed

-Boil,peel and mash the potatoes.
-If using fresh fish:Clean,boil and mash the fish as well.Boil the fish with a little water and then simmer until all the water evaporates.If using Tinned fish u can directly drain the oil or water in it and use it.
-In a pan heat the oil and when it heats up splutter the ginger,garlic and green chillies.When they are slightly browned,add the onions and saute until they turn soft.
-Now add the powders,curry leaves and coriander leaves along with salt and mix well.Saute for another 2 - 3 minutes.Take it off the stove.
-Add the finely grated potatoes and mix well.Then add the fish and mix well.Check for salt ,adding more as needed.
-Shape the mixture into small round patties.
-Heat a little oil in a fat pan and shallow fry the patties turning them carefully after 4 minutes on each side.
-You can also deep fry them in oil or just smear some oil on them and bake in a preheated oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes,turning them over once after 8 - 10 minutes.

If you wish to make cutlets,dip the patties in egg(one egg well beaten with a fork) and roll them on bread crumbs and fry them.

Thanks for stopping by ! Have a nice day !

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