Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fish Curry - Thrissur style

Kerala is famous for its fish curries. Each part of the state serves different types of fish curries, which are all remarkable in their own way. Some have coconut milk in them whereas some don't. Some are cooked in a tomato based gravy, some with the tanginess of kokum, tamarind or raw mango, whereas in some places it is cooked in  the gravy of roasted and grinded coconut. Each place you go in Kerala , they will be having their own style of cooking the fish curry. Here I am sharing a fish curry recipe which is commonly found in the Thrissur district of Kerala. In Thrissur itself there are various ways of cooking fish curry, this is just one of them. 

1/2 kg fish(pomfret)-cleaned and cut into thick slices
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 inch ginger, peeled
4-5 shallots
2 pieces of kokum/kudampuli(soaked in 3tbsp of warm water)
3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
few curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
For seasoning
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 shallots, sliced thin
few curry leaves


  • Crush the ginger and shallots together.
  • In a thick bottomed vessel or preferably an earthern pot(manchatti), add the coconut milk, 1 1/2 cup water, turmeric powder, chilli powders, salt, soaked kokum pieces, crushed ginger and shallots, half of the curry leaves and salt. Mix everything well.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add the fish pieces.
  • Cook on a medium flame until the fish is cooked. Once the fish is added do not stir the curry frequently, instead pick up the vessel and rotate it to mix everything well.
  • Add the slit green chillies and remaining curry leaves.
  • Cook until the gravy thickens to your preferred consistency.
  • Remove from heat and keep aside.
  • For the seasoning, in a small pan heat the coconut oil. Add the sliced shallots and curry leaves. Fry until the shallots turn golden brown in colour. Pour this seasoning on the prepared fish curry and cover the curry with a lid immediately, so that the aroma is trapped in the fish curry.
  • Leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes. Mix well and serve.

*Any fish can be used. I have also tried this curry with anchovies and it has come out well.
* While cooking with small fish, a few pieces of drumstick can also be added. This imparts a unique taste to the fish curry.
* Kashmiri chilli powder has been used here so that the dish gets a rich colour without being too spicy either. It can however be omitted and the normal chilli powder can be used, but the quantity has to be reduced.
*For those who don't like the taste of kokum can substitute it with, raw mango pieces to impart the sourness to the dish.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


The typical breakfast or dinner dish of Kerala. It also finds place in the menus of  Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. This pancake with a soft spongy center and laced outer crust is simply a beauty to sight and taste. Paired usually with egg curry, vegetable stew or meat stew, this can be relished during anytime of the day.

Basically these are pancakes made by grinding rice and coconut, followed by fermenting the batter with yeast, and then made in a special pan called appa chatti. There are many variations in the process of grinding the batter for the appam. I have tried various methods, but felt this one gives the best appams in terms of taste, texture and appearance. So over to the recipe of appam.

2 cups idli rice
1 coconut grated
2-3 Tbsp sugar
1/4- 1/2 tsp yeast(I used instant yeast)
salt to taste
water for grinding

  • Soak the idli rice for atleast 3 hours.
  • Grind the soaked rice with the coconut into a very smooth batter by adding enough water.
  • Take a laddle full of the batter into a sauce pan and add 1 cup of water to it. Mix well.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil and on a medium flame cook this stirring continuously until it turns into a thick paste.
  • Remove from heat and allow this paste to cool.
  • In the blender take this cooled paste, add 1 cup of water, yeast, sugar and salt.
  • Blend this for one minute until everything is combined well. Add this mixture into the remaining rice and coconut batter prepared before and mix everything well.
  • Keep the batter aside and allow it to ferment for about 4 hours.
  • You can see a risen foamy batter once the fermentation is done.
  • Heat an appam kadai(appa chatti). Smear with some oil if you are not using a non-stick one.
  • Mix the batter well and take a laddle full of the fermented batter and pour into the appa chatti. 
  • Now pick up the appa chatti and swirl in a circular way once. This leaves a thick center part and thinner, lace like outer sides. 
  • Cover and cook the appam on a medium low flame until the center of the appam is cooked and the sides turn to light golden brown.
  • Serve this immediately - from the pan directly to the plate.
  • Appams are delicious when served with egg curries, vegetable stew or meat stew or any other curries.
  • Many like to have these appams hot with just a dash of some sugar sprinkled on top.