“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell
I love it when you can feel the change in the climate, and the air starts getting really nippy and cold. And even though afternoons are bright and sunny there is this slight hint of the beginning of winter that you can almost feel in your bones.
Having lived in Mumbai almost all my life where winter is a season one only hears about and don’t believe. Perth doesn’t have cold bitter winters, but it does get cold enough for us to remove our sweaters, coats, boots and drink endless cups of tea to keep us warm.
Winter also means numerous bowls of soup/stews that are consumed at any time of the day. And even though I am a girl who wants a proper meal, having a hearty stew for dinner somehow satisfies my hunger, and I feel like I have had something filling and comforting.
This “Kerala style fish stew” Or ‘Meen Molee” is one of my favorites. It is your typical “Fish curry in coconut milk” but I have modified the recipe a bit by adding carrots to it to make it wholesome. The original recipe calls for 3 types of Coconut milk (thick, thin & semi thick), however due to time constraints and the fact that I cannot be bothered grinding fresh coconut and then extracting the milk, I just use 1 can of lite Coconut milk. The stew is mild, delicious and is so good on a cold evening that you can cuddle up with it.
Recipe: (Cooking times 45 minutes, serves 4)
For the Marination
2 – 3 large filets of Barramundi/Basa/King fish or any other firm white fleshed fish cut into medium sized thick pieces
1 tsp Turmeric powder
Juice of half a Lemon
Salt to taste
For the Gravy/Stew:
1 large Onion finely sliced
1 large Tomato chopped into medium sized pieces
1 tsp fresh Ginger (Do not be tempted to use anything out of the jar)
2 Garlic cloves crushed
1 tin of lite Coconut Milk (400 gms tin)
1 tsp Mustard seeds
3 green chillies finely chopped or slit
10 – 12 Curry leaves
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Pepper powder
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 Lemon or 1 tbsp White Vinegar (Do not use white wine vinegar)
2 large carrots cut into medium sized pieces
Marinate the fish in Turmeric, Salt and Lemon juice and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Usually this dish is cooked in a earthen pot /Kalchatti, but I used a ceramic pan. Heat Oil in the pan and add the fish pieces slowly frying on all sides till golden (but not brown). Remove the fish pieces aside and let the excess oil drain on kitchen paper.
In the same pan add the Mustard seeds, Ginger, Garlic and Curry Leaves. After around 30 seconds, add the Onions and fry till they have turned translucent.
Add the Turmeric powder, green chillies & Pepper powder and saute well. Add the Tomatoes and cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
Now add the coconut Milk and bring to gentle boil. Add the Carrots and cook till the Carrots are done. You can add ½ cup of hot water if the stew is too thick. Since I am only using 1 type of Coconut milk, I usually add water.
Add the fish pieces gently and salt to taste. As the fish was already cooked when we fried it, it won’t take long to get done.
Turn off the heat, sprinkle Lemon Juice or Vinegar and serve hot with Rice or have it on its own as a stew.