Fish curries in South India are traditionally made very spicy. Super spicy. Like I-don’t-know-how-Indians-have-any-taste-buds-left spicy.
Green Pepper Fish Curry was an experiment to make something different from the usual fiery red Kerala fish curry – spicy yet not killing. This works! Green pepper as the name suggests, would be great for this curry, but if it’s not readily available, black pepper will do.
Soak a 2 inch string of tamarind in a cup of water.
Marinate 1/2 kg fish fillets in 1 tsp green pepper paste (or green chilli and black pepper powder paste) turmeric powder and salt. Shallow fry them so that the fillets hold and don’t fall apart, when you curry them.
Pour the same oil into a mud pot. Temper with 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 4-5 fenugreek seeds (go easy on these, else the curry will taste bitter) 1 tbs fresh ginger garlic paste and sauté well.
Add a cup of chopped shallots or onions and 1 slit green chilli. Sauté.
Add 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp crushed black pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1/2 tsp fish masala and sauté well, sprinkling some water. Add 2 small chopped tomatoes and sauté until the oil clears.
Add the fried fish pieces. Cook on low flame.
Add the tamarind water. If it’s too dry, add another cup of water and cook until the fish is coated in the masala.
Garnish with more curry leaves and chopped cilantro – this dish needs both. Serve hot with chappatis or rice.
By Linda Joseph Kavalackal,
Christ & Co.