Just before I joined for my post graduation, it dawned on me that I needed to hone my culinary skills by learning from the family experts. So I decided to start off with my toughest item, fish ( I had a gut feeling that just as much as I detest it, my future husband would love it)!
Baby Aunty, is more like my grandmother than an aunt and she is the only one who has ever prepared a fish curry that I’ve loved. It’s just pure art to watch her clean the fish and cook it. The karimeen (pearl spot) which is the ideal fish for this recipe, was pure white in her hands, with not a speck of the black scales or a dent in the skin.
My so called training session was a week long process of getting pampered with good food and my realisation that I’ll learn to cook fish when the time comes! The addition of macaroni in this recipe is because of my husband who cannot have fish Moilee without them !
Chilly Powder -1 tsp
Turmeric -1/4 tsp
Salt & Pepper – to taste
Flour -1 tbsp
Fish -500 gms
Oil – 4tbsp ( enough for shallow frying)
Onions (sliced) -1/2
Ginger (coarsely ground)-1tbsp
Garlic(coarsely ground)- 1tbsp
Green Chilly (Slit)-4
Fennel Seeds -1tsp
Curry Leaves -2 sprigs
Thin Coconut milk -2 cups ( dilute 5tbsps of coconut milk powder in 2 cups of lukewarm water)
Thick coconut milk-1/2 cup (dilute 5tbsps of coconut milk powder in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water)
Salt -to Taste
1. Marinate the cleaned fish with Chilly powder, turmeric, salt, pepper and a little flour & egg as a binding agent. Set it aside as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. On a low heat, fry the fennel seeds & peppercorns till it gets fragrant. Stir it around, so that they do not get burnt. Coarsely grind them in a dry grinder or with a pestle & mortar.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan , just enough to shallow fry the fish. When the pan is warm enough, place one layer of fish. Do not rush through this process as an undone fish would stick to the pan. Once it’s done, turn it around to the other side. Take it off the pan, drain it on top of the pan you plan to cook the fish in.
4. Once all the pieces of fish are fried and set aside. Take the required amount for cooking the gravy in the pan . I used a earthen dish for cooking this. But if not available , any kadai or deep dish can be used for cooking the gravy.
5.Heat the oil and add the crushed whole spices (cardamom, cloves and cinnamon) . Sauté the onions, green chilli, ground ginger and garlic with a sprig of curry leaves. When the onions turn translucent, add a teaspoonful of the freshly ground spice powder of fennel seeds & peppercorns.
6.Add the fried fish and the thin coconut milk. Add salt to taste. At this stage, you could add a handful of macaroni and let it cook along with the fish. This would take roughly 9-10 minutes to cook.
7. Once the macaroni /pasta is cooked, add the thick coconut milk and sliced tomatoes. Add the required amount of the remaining freshly ground fennel-pepper powder to suit your taste. This stage could be done in the microwave if you want to transfer the fish Moilee into your serving dish , thereby the tomatoes would serve as a garnish too!
8. When the tomato starts to look cooked, the Fish Moillee is ready to serve.
This dish best served with Appam or kallappam.
Please click on the link , Fish Moilee,to download or print the recipe.