Serving
(click to enlarge)

Mean Molly
India - Karala
  -   Meen Moily
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
Do ahead:  
3 w/rice  
***
50 min  
Yes

Outstandingly flavorful, this dish will be loved by anyone who likes spicy food - it's one of my very favorite fish dishes. It takes a bit of effort to make it, but the harder steps can be done a day in advance. "Meen" is a common Indian word for "fish" - as for "Moily", see Note-6.



1-1/2
2
3
4
------
3/4
1/2
2
2
5
1/2
3
------
1
2
ar
1-1/2
2/3
2/3
1/2
------
#
T
oz
oz
---
t
t



T
oz
---
T
T

T
t
c
t
---
Fish (1)
Lemon Juice
Onion
Tomatoes
-- Coconut Paste
Mustard seed blk
Fenugreek seed
Cardamom
Cloves
Chilis, dry (2)
Oil
Coconut grated (3)  
----------
Tamarind (4)
Cilantro (5)
Oil for fry
Oil
Turmeric
Water
Salt
-- Garnish
Cilantro Leaves
Prep   -   (30 min)
  1. Cut FISH into pieces about 1-1/2 inch on a side by whatever thickness your fish is. Tumble the pieces with Lemon Juice and set aside for 1/2 hour or so.
  2. Cut ONION in quarters lengthwise and slice thin crosswise.
  3. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and chop small.
  4. Put all Coconut Paste items except Coconut in a small pan and fry stirring over moderate heat until chilis darken and mustard seeds are popping - do not burn the chilis! Cool thoroughly.
  5. Grate COCONUT and chop as fine as you can get it. Pound it in a mortar, then mix with Coconut Paste items and pound to paste - or use whatever means you have available.
  6. Prep TAMARIND if using block form (see Note-3).
  7. Chop CILANTRO medium for recipe (or use Curry Leaves, see Note-5). Pull CILANTRO leaves from stems for garnish.
Run     -   (45 min)
  1. In a kadhai, wok or iron skillet, heat sufficient Oil to 375°F/190°C and fry fish lightly. Do a few pieces at a time so they fry quickly and aren't crowded. Drain and set aside (can be done in advance).
  2. In a spacious sauté pan heat 1-1/2 T Oil (you can use fish fry oil) and fry Onions until lightly browned. Stir in Tomatoes and Turmeric and fry stirring until tomatoes are quite soft.
  3. Stir in Tamarind and 2/3 c Water. Bring to a boil and simmer another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in Coconut Paste and Salt. Simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting water as needed. It should not be too dry.
  5. Stir in Cilantro (or Curry Leaves), then gently stir in Fish. Simmer until fish is done, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve garnished with Cilantro leaves and along with plenty of steamed Basmati or Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. Fish:   This needs to be a fish that holds together well with wet cooking. Catfish, American or Vietnamese (Swai, Basa, Tra) or Tilapia work well (the photo is with Tilapia). Cod and Mullet are also good, and Mackerel for a stronger flavor (Mackerel is well liked practically everywhere except North America). In India this dish may be made with small pomfret or other small fish cooked whole.
  2. Chili:   I use dried de Arbols or Thai Chilis. If you want less hot use Japones. For details see our Chili Page.
  3. Coconut:   Use fresh if possible. Weight is for fresh or frozen coconut. I prefer a "fresh" coconut which is like the dry ones but white instead of brown. The flesh pops out of the shell easily and grates easier, and the water is more flavorful for drinking. If fresh or frozen aren't available use 2/3 cup of dried grated coconut (unsweetened) and soak with enough water to make up 1 cup. Drain before using. For details on handling coconuts, see our Coconut page.
  4. Tamarind:   If your Tamarind is concentrate in a jar, use 1 T, or if it's block use about 1 T, soak and strain. If you don't have tamarind use 2 t lemon juice - not the same, but it's something. For details see our Tamarind page.
  5. Cilantro:   The pattern recipe (published in India - see bibliography reference imp) calls for Cilantro in the ingredients and Curry Leaves in the text, and the photo shows curry leaves (unlike many Indian recipes, the photo actually more or less resembles what the recipe produces). I'm not going to be too hard on the Indians here, inconsistency may be a habit they picked up from English cookbooks. Meen Moily recipes on the Internet that are cribbed from the source book (some display the book's photo upside down, attempting to conceal its origin) call for Cilantro. Other recipes call for curry leaves (from 4 to 30 or so). While I have easy access to curry leaves, most in North America don't, so I'm leaving it up to you. Use curry leaves if you have them (and like them) - it'll be more "authentic". For details see our Curry Leaf page.
  6. Moily:   The story from India is that when Portuguese sailors came to Karala they were served a dish too hot for them to handle. It was toned down for them by a lady named Moily by adding coconut. This story is highly suspect. It was those Portuguese sailors who brought chilis to India, and they were real fire breathers - see Pork Vindaloo and other recipes from the Portuguese port colony of Goa.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
imf_fishmm1 100904 imp27   -   www.clovegarden.com
©Andrew Grygus - agryg@aaxnet.com - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.