Friday, February 27, 2009

1001 Indian Fish Curries

This cookbook lists 1000 Indian fish curries, greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily cook them. The principle is simple – 10 commonly consumed fishes are combined with ten different bases and 10 different flavouring techniques to create a thousand different recipes.  The building blocks are listed below.

Fishes commonly used in South Indian Cuisine:

Vanjiram : Seer fish / King fish. 

Koduva : Sea Bass.

Viraal : Murrel.

Karuppu Vavval : Black Pomfret.

Vellai Vavval : Silver Pomfret.

Sura : Baby Shark.

Sankara : Red Snapper.

Kilanga : Smelt.

Sudumbu : False Trevally.

 The base :

0.: None . No liquid base is used to cook dry fish curries.

1.: Onion . An extra dose of pureed onions is used for the North Indian Fish Dopyaza

2.: Nuts / Seeds . A rich base made from nut paste,  made popular by the Moguls. This is used to cook up rich, mild fish curries.

3.: Herbs . A variety of pureed herbs are used for tangy fish curries.

4.: Fish Tamarind . Used especially in the western coast, Kokkum r fish tamarind is chiefly responsible for the unique fish curries of Kerala, Goa and Konkan.

6.: Tomato is used as a curry base across the country.

7.: Tamarind is used to cook up a variety of sour fish stews like the Kulambu of Tamilnadu and Pulusu of Andhra.

8.: Onion – tomato is stir fried, blended to a paste with other additives and is used as a base in the rich Chettinadu fish curry.

 The flavouring :

0.:  Readymade Masala  is used across the country.

1.:  Mustard is fried in oil and is used to flavour South Indian fish curries

2.:  Ginger- Garlic  is used across the country.

3.:  Asafetida   is widely used in South Indian curries

4.:  Panchphoran  is a mix of five whole spices and is chiefly used in Orissa and West Bengal

5.:  Fenugreek  lends a bitter note and is more common in South Indian curries.

6.:  Cloves – Cinnamon are commonly used in Muglai curries.

7.:  Roast & Ground whole spices  are used across the country

8.:  Fried & Ground whole spices are more common in South Indian cuisine.


Anonymous said...

you seemed to have forgotten coconut paste/coconut milk base.hardly any fish curry recipe from kerala wthout it.

Anonymous said...

just noticed that uve mentioned coconut milk under 100 fish curries.

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Cooking is fun - Duplication is a pain !

"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

"What's angering about instructions in many cookbooks is that they imply there's only one way to cook a dish - their way. And that presumption wipes out all the creativity." Cook dishes your way - Download  1001 South Indian curries now and learn to cook, not to duplicate ! ( Thanks Robert Pirsig !)

"Recipe purity is no different from racial purity or linguistic purity. It just does not exist. Cuisines are alive and change all the time. What is traditional today was esoteric just a few decades back. So being a 'foodist' is as bad as being a racist !

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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