It's Malabar tamarind that adds zing to Kerala fish curry

Kudam puli is the Malayalam word for Malabar tamarind (Garcinia cambogea). It is known for its pumpkin-shaped, sour-tasting fruit which is used as a spice in Kerala kitchens. Extracts from the garcinia fruit find application in several weight loss tonics and pills. According to Ayurveda, kudampuli promotes digestion. It is indigenous to India and parts of Asia. The extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), claimed to suppress appetite and enhance fat-burning. The dried rind is used as a condiment to flavour fish curry in Kerala.

Now, for a recipe.

Kerala fish curry

Ingredients

Seer fish: 250 gm

Kudam Puli (Malabar tamarind/Gamboge): 2 pieces

Kunjulli (shallots): 3 or 4

Red chilli powder: half tsp

Fish masala powder: 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder: half tsp

Coriander powder: 2 tsp

Mustard seeds: half tsp

Sliced onion: 1 large

Slit green chillies: 3

Garlic pods (finely chopped): 4 or 5

Ginger (finely sliced): 2 tbsp

Fenugreek powder: half tsp

Curry leaves: a sprig

Coriander leaves: chopped (a handful)

Water: 1 cup or more as needed

Salt to taste

For the marinade:

Fish masala powder: 2 tbsp

Ginger paste: half tsp

Garlic paste: half tsp

Salt as required

Method: Clean, wash and cut the fish into medium-sized pieces. Add a pinch of turmeric while washing it. Marinade with the fish masala powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Set aside for half an hour. Soak the kudam puli in a little water. Heat a non-stick pan. Roast shallots (kunjulli), fish masala powder, chilli powder and coriander powder on low heat. Grind the roasted ingredients into a smooth paste with a little water. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds. Add onions, green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic and sauté for a while. When the onions turn brown, add the ground masala paste along with 1 cup water and salt. When the gravy starts boiling, add the fish pieces and kudam puli pieces. Add more water if required, so as to cover the fish. Sprinkle some fenugreek powder. Cover and cook on gentle heat for 15 minutes. If you like the taste of cilantro, garnish the curry with a handful of leaves.

Note: You can use this recipe for any fish variety. Allow the curry to stand for at least 5 hours before serving so that the gravy absorbs all the flavours.

ABHISHEK BASU

Executive Sous Chef

The Park

Keywords: foodkudampuli

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