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Kottayam (India) Fish Curry


King (Mackeral) Fish - 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Chilli powder - 2 Tablespoon
Red onions - 4, cut into pieces
Split green chilies - 6
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp 
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp 
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp 
Ginger - 4 pieces 
Garlic-- 3 cloves 
Kudam Puli (Kukum star) - 5 pieces (A special tamarind. Can substitute lemon juice if you do not have this item.)
Coconut oil - 1/4 cup 
Curry leaves-- 10 stems 
Salt - to taste as reqd 
Paprika - 1 Tablespoons
Water - 3 cups 


Step 1: Prepare the Gravy

In a frying pan, heat about a quarter of a cup of coconut oil or vegetable oil until the oil is hot enough to break a few mustard seeds in this oil. Add the chopped onions, few curry leaves and split green chillies and stir fry. 

To this add a mixture of turmeric, chilli powder and paprika powder in half a cup of water. Cook. 

When the oil begins to clear, add the remaining spices previously ground, half a cup of 'puli water' [drained water from soaking Kudam Puli (Kukum star)] and sufficient additional water to make enough gravy to cover all the fish pieces when cooking subsequently. Add salt as necessary. 

Cook until the gravy is thick . Set aside. 

Step 2: Cook the Fish

Prepare a bed of curry leaves. Arrange the pieces of fish on this bed. Pour the previously prepared gravy (step 1) over this. The pieces of fish should be completely covered. 

Add the remaining curry leaves and Kudam Puli (Kukum star) pieces, cover with a lid and cook slowly. 

Do not stir, if necessary you can lift the frying pan by it's handle and give it a gentle rotating or rocking motion during cooking to spread the gravy evenly. 

Stop cooking when the fish pieces are cooked sufficiently and the gravy is thick. 

This preparation is best after it sits for a day or two to allow time for the spices to get in to the fish. 

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