The "Chakki" which was used to grind Flour
The Grinding Stone or "Paataa-Varvantaa/Sil Battaa" using which I learned to flex my Muscles!!
The "Khapri" Pomfret
The best Utensil for cooking a Fish Curry--keeps the pieces intact!!
The high point in my childhood would be the fabulous Fish Curry and Rice Mummy cooked whenever the men from the Air Force flew in fresh Fish from Veraval on the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat.We'd literally gorge ourselves for the entire week--for there would be lots of fresh Prawns/Shrimp,huge Pomfrets, yummy Black backed Crabs and Clams.Most of these trips would take place in the cooler Weather and this caused a flurry of vigorous activity in our kitchen.However after our marriage a steady Diet of Fish on a daily basis left me longing for Goat Meat and Chicken--for that was what I preferred!!Those days in my in-law's home we had male domestic who did the tedious task of grinding the fresh shredded Coconut as fine as Sandalwood Paste for the daily Curry.The first Curry I learnt to make was called "Pomfret Curry".The Recipe follows.
750 gms. One large Pomfret White or Khapri
1 cup Thick Coconut Milk
1 medium sized Shallots/Red Onions
1" Fresh Ginger Root finely minced
3-5 Fresh Green Serrano Chillies slit lengthwise
Salt to taste
1 tbsp.Coconut/Olive Oil
INGREDIENTS FOR THE GRAVY
1 cup shredded Fresh Coconut
1 medium Shallot thinly sliced length wise
10 whole Black Pepper Corns
1.5 tsp. Rice Flour
INGREDIENTS FOR THE CURRY PASTE
10 Dry Red Chillies (The Kashmiri variety)
2 tablespoons of Coriander Seeds
1 Lime sized ball of Tamarind
1.25 tsp. Tamarind Pulp
1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
Soak both the Coriander Seeds and the Kashmiri Chillies overnight in warm Water.
Next morning grind to a fine paste with the Tamarind Pulp and Turmeric Powder.
Clean the Fish and cut as desired into preferred pieces.
Wash and drain the Fish and apply the finely ground Curry Paste with Salt to taste.
Set aside covered to marinate till needed.
Mince one Shallot into fine pieces and slice the other finely into long thin slices.
Divide the minced Shallot into 2 parts.
Grind the entire sliced Shallot with the shredded Fresh Coconut,10 Black Pepper Corns ,1.5 tsp. Rice Flour and the sliced Shallot to a fine Paste.
Add 3/4 of the minced Shallot to the marinated Fish along with the finely minced Ginger and the slit Green Chillies.
Heat Coconut Oil/Olive Oil in a flat based Pan and fry the remaining minced Shallot till crisp and browned.
Lower flame and add the marinated Fish along with a cup of Water.
Adjust the Salt if needed and allow to simmer covered on low flame.
As the Fish begins to cook thin the fine ground Coconut Paste with a cup of Water.
Ensure that the Mixture is smooth and without lumps.
Gradually add it to the flat bottomed Pan and shake the Pan slightly to mix.
As the simmering Curry begins to bubble slightly add the thick Coconut Milk and shake slightly to mix well.
Cook till the bubbles appear on the surface once more and then take off the flame.
Serve hot with plain steaming hot White/Brown Rice with a drizzle of Ghee over it and enjoy!!
Do not stir with a Metal spoon while this is cooking for it can cause the Curry to curdle.