Meen Peera Pattichathu Kerala Style (Anchovies with Coconut)
Meen Peera pattichathu is a traditional Kerala recipe that’s used to prepare tiny fish called Netholi/Chooda/Kozhuva/Podimeen. The bones of these tiny fish are so soft that we can eat them whole, thus making sure we are getting all the nutrients like protein and calcium in a single meal. Cooking fish this way is a healthy alternative to frying. If small fish like Netholi is not available we can also make this curry using fish fillets. King fish steaks or Tilapia fillets would work perfectly. If using big fish it will be better if you de-bone the fish before preparing it. Meen peera pattichathu tastes best when prepared in an earthen pot. I have used King fish in the picture above, I usually make Mulakaracha Meen Curry with king fish steaks, but since that is too spicy for my son I decided to go with peera pattichathu this time.
Netholi/Kozhuva – 2 cups (cleaned) King fish – 4 palm sized pieces
Kudam puli /Kokum – 2-3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_indica)
Shallots – 1/2 cup (sliced)
Green chilies – 3-4
Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon (crushed)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin – 1 pinch
Coconut – 1 cup (grated)
Curry leaves – 3 sprigs
Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Crush grated coconut, onions, green chillies, ginger, turmeric and salt.
Soak the kudam puli in a little water.
If using King fish or Tilapia, de-bone the fish and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Add the coconut mixture, curry leaves and the kudam puli to the cleaned fish, pour 4 tablespoons of water and cook for about 10 minutes on low flame, stirring occasionally to make sure the fish doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (be careful not to crush the fish while stirring) .
When the fish is cooked and the water has evaporated, pour 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into the pan and stir. Remove from flame and serve with rice.
Instead of kudam puli you can also use green mango or bilimbi puli
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averrhoa_bilimbi), which makes the curry taste even better.