Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The fabric of life

Have you ever discovered the true joy of cross-cultural marriage?

Out here, it has created a super weave with multi-colour hue of culture, religion, tradition and most critical element of it all - a cuisine blast!

One such explosive recipe is "papa-mummy meen curry". This is not what it is called otherwise. Its plainly called "meen curry". I mean how boring, especially when there is such a delightful story behind the recipe. "Papa-mummy" are my parents-in-law. "Meen curry" is fish curry.

Hailing from the "mal-land" - Kerala, this recipe was discovered by papa from a local food stall (commonly known as "kada" in Malayalam, meaning "stall") which are permanent spots in the Kerala landscape. Papa simply wanted another variation to his regular meen curry being made at home. Being the gentleman who has worked (by the way papa still is a working professional in the Life Insurance business) all through his officially prescribed work years, papa enjoys the simple joys of life, especially his food. When he discovered this new taste, he could not stop going to the kitchen of the kada and humbly asking for the recipe. There was no way he could be refused. He has such a pleasurable, non-intrusive and definitely non-threatening personality. I am quite sure he would have made the chef feel like the most sought after chefs - worldwide.

Armed with a new version of the meen curry, a happy papa passed on the recipe to mummy. Now, mummy is someone who has always done everything and more for the 3 men in her life (her husband and two sons. I am married to the youngest of her sons). And she still does. That is mummy. A math teacher all her life, she doesn't care much for frills in life other than enjoying life itself in all honesty.

So, going back to the recipe - she obviously made it and enjoyed the discovery. Since then, the meen curry has been this. It has passed on to our dining table as well. And all those who have eaten from our home, swear by the curry and make an attempt to make it. Marvellously, the taste varies. But the contentment after having "papa-mummy meen curry" is a sense of immeasurable joy. When I share the story behind the recipe, the smiles and blissful look I see in others is amazing.

This is the fabric of life we adorn. The true sense of relationships coming to life. A traditional recipe is a mere represent of the otherwise way of life. Whenever you feel like living the moment, and value our life and the moments in it, try the "papa-mummy meen curry".

For "papa-mummy meen curry" you will need:
500 grams: Seer fish (deskin if preferred)

A handful of sambar onions (small onions/ Indian shallots)
Peeled garlic (as per liking)
A piece of ginger (small enough to let out the flavour)
Curry leaves
Green chillies (optional, if spice is preferred)
Kerala tamarid (pulli)

One tomato (coarsely chopped)

Mustard seeds
Methi seeds (dry roasted and coarsely powdered)
Red chilli powder
Turmeric powder
Eastern fish masala
Coconut milk


How do you make it?
Crush the sambar onions and garlic in a pounder. Keep aside.
Oil the meen chetty (the traditional earthen pot) and warm it on low flame.
To this, add oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Then add curry leaves. Follow it up with the crushed onions and garlic. When slightly transparent, add the ginger, slit green chillies and saute for a bit.
Now add the salt, turmeric and red chilli powders. Cook the masala powders well. Once done, add the Eastern fish masala. Make sure the fish masala is not over cooked. Else will the loose flavour.

With oil leaving the sides, add the Kerala tamarind and chopped tomatoes. Mix it well.
When well cooked, add water and bring to a boil. To this add the seer fish pieces. Cook till the fish is done or is firm. Add the methi powder. Give it a mix.
Finally, pour in the coconut milk as per taste and thickness required. Give it a slight boil.

For an authentic Kerala twist in flavour, drizzle some coconut oil on top at this point.
Serve with boiled rice, authentic-traditional curd curry ("more curry"), papad, one vegetable side dish and fish fry.

1 comment:

  1. yummm..a definite'must make'. Will keep you informed about the end result!:)