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Goan Style Fish Curry – The story of Mrs. Sindhu Rao

Attentive and accurate only begin to describe the cook that 85-year old Rao Aunty is. Days before we started to shoot the video, she deliberated upon the perfect fish that could suit the palate of both sea and river fish lovers. We finally settled upon lady fish, as it suits both. Then, she proceeded to show the accurate technique of washing the fish, which is no less than at least three times. For the curry, she sent uncle out to buy fresh coconut so she could make fresh coconut milk from scratch and not the store bought ones! While we were filming, we were in awe of her eye for detail, where the shade of onion while browning is also described in great detail. This is perhaps the most detailed fish curry we were ever going to have. The coconut milk had been neatly divided into the number of pressings added at every stage. This has been the exact method of making the curry for over fifty years now, passed on through generations.

Attentive and accurate only begin to describe the cook that 85-year old Rao Aunty is. Days before we started to shoot the video, she deliberated upon the perfect fish that could suit the palate of both sea and river fish lovers. We finally settled upon lady fish, as it suits both. Then, she proceeded to show the accurate technique of washing the fish, which is no less than at least three times. For the curry, she sent uncle out to buy fresh coconut so she could make fresh coconut milk from scratch and not the store bought ones! While we were filming, we were in awe of her eye for detail, where the shade of onion while browning is also described in great detail. This is perhaps the most detailed fish curry we were ever going to have. The coconut milk had been neatly divided into the number of pressings added at every stage. This has been the exact method of making the curry for over fifty years now, passed on through generations.

“We used to have competition among siblings to see who would make the best curry” and this is how Rao Aunty started her cooking journey. She made her Goan fish curry which is regularly made in her house and relished with rice in cozy afternoons. She was shocked to know we loved it because habitually making and eating the curry, it had lost its charm to her family members. For them, it was their daily meal but for us it was a taste of the sea and sand and a taste of accurate, balanced and sumptuous fish curry. Practice makes one perfect and the proof is in the curry.

Did we mention that this was the first homechef Youtube video we shot?

Here is how you can make Rao Aunty’s Fish Curry at home! Use the fish that you like and follow the step by step recipe for getting it right!

This recipe will help you make curry for 4-5 people, it is for 1 kg of lady fish. The quantity of ingredients depend upon amount of fish and the type of fish.

Ingredients:-

1kg of river or sea fish

For the CURRY PASTE:

-11/2 cup of coconut

-½ tbsp. Turmeric or Haldi

-2 tbsp chilli powder

-½ tbsp peppercorn

-1 tbsp soaked rice

-1 large onion

– 3/4 th of a large onion for curry paste + 1/4 th for sautéing

-½ tbsp Coriander seeds

-1 cup warm water

-Tamarind Juice

-Fistful tamarind

-I cup warm water

-Coconut milk

-1 freshly desiccated coconut

METHOD:

Preparing the fish 

Lightly salt the fish and leave it for 30 minutes

·  Wash the fish thoroughly to remove the salt

·  Then wash each fish individually

·  Remove excess water

· Note: Adding salt to the fish helps to remove the fishy smell. In case it is a variety like mackerel which has a strong smell, them along with salt adding red chilli in the curry paste helps with the smell.

Preparing the curry paste:

Add all the ingredients for the curry paste and grind it

·  For the first grind add little or no water

·  The curry paste will have a thick and smooth consistency

·  To avoid a coarse paste grind it multiple times and add ½ tsp water if and when necessary

Note: Adding warm water to the paste helps to make a finer paste

Preparing the Tamarind Juice:

Add the raw tamarind in the warm water

·  Mash it to take the juices out

·  Let it sit for 10 mins

·  With a strainer squeeze the juice out

·  Repeat the process 3-4 times

·  Add warm water if required

· Preparing the Coconut Milk 

Add 1 freshly desiccated coconut to the grinder

·  Add 1 tsp of water

·  Grind it finely

·  Sieve the paste through a muslin cloth into a glass

· This is the first pressed milk  Put the coconut into the grinder

·  Add 2 tsp of water and grind it again

·  Repeat the process three of four time

· This will give you the second and third pressed milk Note: You can press the coconut for milk three or four times depending on how fresh the coconut is. For this recipe having a fresh coconut is important both for the fresh milk and the texture of the curry paste.

Making the Fish Curry 

  Take 1/4 th of the onion and slice it finely

·  Add 2tbsp of oil in a deep pan

·  The burner should be on medium flame

·  Add the onion and cover the pan

·  Keep stirring occasionally till the onion turns deep brown

·  Add the curry paste to the browned onions

·  Add tamarind paste depending on how sour you would like your curry to be.

 Save some to add the end to adjust sourness, as required.  Add the second and third pressed cocnut milk in the curry paste

·  Cover and let cook for 5 minutes

·  Add the washed fish into the curry. Please ensure that no residual water from the fish· goes into the curry. 

 Add salt to taste.

·  Use the pan handles, if possible, to stir the curry, as using a ladle might break the fish pieces. Otherwise, you can use a flat spoon for stirring  Let the curry and fish cook and come to a boil. When the fish starts to come to the surface of the curry, it is cooked and done.  Check for sourness and add tamarind juice if required.

·  The last step of the curry is to add the first pressed coconut milk and let the curry come to a light boil. If the curry continues to cook even after the first pressed milk has been added, the milk might split.  Switch off the burner and let the curry sit for 10-15 mins before serving with hot steaming rice!

 

 

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