Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pacha-kurumulaku Arachu Meen Varuthathu – Grandma’s original recipe for Kuttanadan Pepper Fish Fry

...a smell I had never sensed yet transported me to a place I have never been………a taste and flavor completely unknown yet easily conquered my taste buds……. a dish I had never tasted/seen yet recreated in our kitchen translating the words of an old woman - like “ mole….oru nullu manja podi……. lesham injeem veluthulleem…kurachu pacha kurumulaku kallil vechu chathachathu…...” - at the other end of the phone, sitting miles away from us, at the small village of Kainakary in Kuttandadu, Kerala….that was pretty much the story behind the Pepper Fish Fry I had blogged long back….and also the story behind the other five recipes labeled under Kuttandan Recipes which I learned from CJJ’s grandma who had played a big role in developing the food enthusiast in CJJ during his adolescence and youth.

In my earlier post, Pepper Fish Fry- Kuttanadan Special, I had mentioned that “his loving grandma was ready to share her secret to taste; fresh pungent peppercorns ground with a stone mortar and pestle and then mixed with the fresh ginger and garlic paste and yes, it is quite luscious. I got to taste the one with fresh peppercorns last time when we went home. But since the fresh peppercorns were something that’s unavailable here, I substitute with dried ones and still it was appealing to us.

True, fresh peppercorns are a luxury at my corner of the world but at times I get lucky …….and my lucky stars winked at me last week and I got to lay my hands on some fresh peppercorns and the rest is history a delicious fish fry and a blog post!!

  • 17 medium size sardines/chaala/maththi or any other fish of your choice & size
  • 4 medium strings of fresh green peppercorns/pacha-kurumulaku
  • 3 cloves of garlic, medium size ( adjust as per your taste and strength of garlic)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4-5 Curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • Stripe off the peppercorns from its spikes; grind peppercorns along with ginger, garlic , turmeric and salt to a thick paste; tear off the curry leaves and mix well with the marinade and adjust salt. Make slits on the fish and marinate the fish evenly on both sides and keep it for 30 minutes to 2 hours to let the fish slices absorb the marinade. Heat oil in a flat non-stick pan and when it is steaming hot, place the fish gently and shallow fry at low-medium heat by flipping each side when it is done; do not crowd the pan and give some room for each slice; The cooking time varies depending the thickness of the slices and also depend on how crispy and firm one wants it to be. Overcooking the fish will make it very crisp; those who want it firm but soft and moist, may remove the cooked pieces when the oil stops spluttering.
You may also check a handful of recipes I have learned from CJJ’s grandma:

Karimeen Pappas Beef Stew Chemmeen Varattiyathu-Prawn Roast Mashed Tapioca & Fish Curry Chicken Roast - Kuttanadan Style Pepper Fish Fry

For more , Check Recipe Index


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