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Modha Fish Curry Kerala Style: A Delicious and Spicy Seafood Dish

If you're a fan of seafood, you've probably heard of Modha fish curry Kerala style. This is a traditional dish from the southern Indian state of Kerala, which is known for its delicious cuisine. Modha fish curry is a spicy and tangy dish that is perfect for those who love bold flavours.

A pot of modha fish curry simmers on a stove, filled with aromatic spices and coconut milk, surrounded by traditional Kerala-style ingredients

To make Modha fish curry Kerala style, you will need a few key ingredients. Fish is, of course, the star of the dish, and Modha fish is the most commonly used variety. Other ingredients include tamarind, shallots, garlic, ginger, and a variety of spices such as Kashmiri chilli powder. Coconut milk is also used to give the dish a creamy texture.

The cooking process for Modha fish curry Kerala style is relatively simple. The fish is first marinated in a mixture of spices and then cooked in a sauce made from tamarind, coconut milk, and other ingredients. The result is a flavourful and satisfying dish that is perfect for serving with rice or bread.

Key Takeaways

  • Modha fish curry Kerala style is a traditional dish from the southern Indian state of Kerala.
  • The dish is made with Modha fish, tamarind, coconut milk, and a variety of spices.
  • The cooking process is simple and results in a flavourful and satisfying dish that is perfect for serving with rice or bread.

Ingredients and Substitutes

A pot simmering with modha fish curry, surrounded by traditional Kerala spices and ingredients

Primary Ingredients

To make a delicious modha fish curry Kerala style, you will need the following primary ingredients:

  • Fish: The star ingredient of the dish is modha fish. However, you can substitute it with any firm white fish such as cod, haddock, or halibut.
  • Coconut Milk: It is a must-have ingredient for any Kerala-style fish curry. It adds a creamy texture and a subtle sweetness to the curry.
  • Tamarind: It gives the curry a tangy and sour taste. You can substitute it with lemon juice if tamarind is not available.
  • Curry Leaves: It is a staple ingredient in South Indian cooking. It adds a unique aroma and flavour to the dish.
  • Turmeric Powder: It gives the curry a vibrant yellow colour and a subtle earthy flavour.
  • Chilli Powder: It adds a spicy kick to the curry. Adjust the quantity according to your preference.
  • Mustard Seeds: It is a common ingredient in South Indian cooking. It adds a nutty flavour and a crunchy texture to the dish.
  • Salt: It enhances the flavour of the dish.

Spices and Seasonings

Apart from the primary ingredients, you will need the following spices and seasonings to make the modha fish curry:

  • Garlic Paste: It adds a pungent flavour and aroma to the dish.
  • Ginger Paste: It adds a sharp and spicy flavour to the dish.
  • Green Chillies: It adds a fiery kick to the dish. You can adjust the quantity according to your preference.
  • Tomato: It adds a tangy and sweet flavour to the curry.
  • Coriander Powder: It adds a warm and citrusy flavour to the dish.
  • Lemon Juice: It adds a tangy and sour taste to the curry.

Optional Add-ins

You can add the following ingredients to the modha fish curry to enhance its flavour:

  • Cilantro: It adds a fresh and herbaceous flavour to the dish.
  • Fenugreek Seeds: It adds a slightly bitter and nutty flavour to the dish.
  • Potatoes: It adds a creamy and starchy texture to the curry.
  • Onions: It adds a sweet and caramelised flavour to the dish.

Cooking Process

Modha fish pieces simmer in a fragrant Kerala-style curry, infused with coconut milk, curry leaves, and spices

Preparation Steps

To make Modha fish curry Kerala style, you will need to clean the fish thoroughly. You can ask your fishmonger to do this for you, but if you prefer to do it yourself, make sure to remove the scales and the guts. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Then, cut it into medium-sized pieces and set it aside.

Next, you will need to marinate the fish. In a bowl, mix together some ginger, garlic, turmeric, and chilli powder. Add some salt and a little bit of water to make a paste. Rub this paste all over the fish pieces and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

While the fish is marinating, you can prepare the other ingredients. Chop some onions, garlic, and ginger. Soak some tamarind in water and extract the pulp. Measure out the spices and keep them ready.

Cooking Techniques

To make the gravy for the Modha fish curry, heat some coconut oil in a clay pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them until they are translucent. Then, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute more.

Add the ground spices (coriander, cumin, and fennel) and sauté for a few seconds until they are fragrant. Then, add the tamarind pulp and some water and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the fish pieces to the pot and gently stir them to coat them with the gravy. Lower the heat and let the curry simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Avoid stirring the curry too much as the fish pieces may break apart.

Serving Suggestions

Modha fish curry is a great lunch option and can be served with rice, appam, coconut rice, roti, or mashed tapioca. Garnish the curry with some fresh coriander leaves before serving.

This dish is also a great way to introduce kids to fish as the gravy is not too spicy. The energy from the coconut oil and the protein from the fish make it a healthy and satisfying meal.

After you have finished eating, make sure to clean the fish bones and any leftover curry from your plate. You can use a toothpick or your fingers to do this.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pot simmering with modha fish curry, surrounded by aromatic spices and herbs, evoking the flavors of Kerala

What are the essential ingredients for making authentic Kerala-style Modha fish curry?

To make a delicious Kerala-style Modha fish curry, you will need some essential ingredients, such as fresh Modha fish, tamarind, curry leaves, coconut oil, mustard seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garlic, ginger, and onions. These ingredients are what give the curry its unique flavour and aroma.

How do you prepare Kerala-style Modha fish curry with coconut?

To prepare Kerala-style Modha fish curry with coconut, you will need to grind coconut, garlic, ginger, and some spices together to make a smooth paste. Then, you need to cook the paste with sliced onions and curry leaves until the raw smell disappears. After that, add some water and tamarind extract to the pan and bring it to a boil. Once the gravy thickens, add the fish pieces and cook until they are tender.

Can you make Modha fish curry without coconut, and if so, how?

Yes, you can make Modha fish curry without coconut. Instead of coconut, you can use tamarind extract to give the curry its sour taste. To make the curry, heat some oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, sliced onions, and curry leaves. Once the onions are soft, add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder. Add tamarind extract and water to the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the fish pieces and cook until they are tender.

What's the best type of fish to use for a traditional Kerala fish curry?

The best type of fish to use for a traditional Kerala fish curry is a firm, white-fleshed fish like Modha, Kingfish, or Seerfish. These fish have a mild flavour and can withstand the strong flavours of the curry.

Could you explain the history behind the Kerala fish curry tradition?

The history of Kerala fish curry tradition dates back to ancient times when fishing was a primary source of livelihood for the people of Kerala. The locals used to cook fish with coconut, tamarind, and other spices to preserve them for a more extended period. Over time, this cooking style became popular, and now Kerala fish curry is one of the most iconic dishes of South India.

What's the calorie count for a typical serving of Kerala-style fish curry?

The calorie count for a typical serving of Kerala-style fish curry varies depending on the ingredients used and the serving size. However, on average, a serving of Kerala-style fish curry contains around 300-400 calories.