Puttu Meen Curry
Icannot tell you how much I love Kannur Style Meen Curry/Fish Curry.It is such a simple recipe that even a child can make with adult supervision.I have to say, this is my first attempt at making this curry because Janu Chechy was an expert at it and it was her speciality. When I was growing up, I used to eat this at my childhood friend, Babitha's house. Asha aunty is an excellent cook! This curry was there, always at their house. So when I was cooking this curry, I couldn't help but think of all the fun we had as kids at Babitha's house.

We were a gang of 3 girls. Rechana, Babitha and myself. Rechana was elder to the two of us by 6 years or so but that didn't matter. We still enjoyed pretend play as any other kids would do. I used to be the cook flipping out dosas from my pan with a small 'chattugam'/flat steel spoon.Once in a while we used to fight and since we were 3, one of us were 'outside' the group during the fight as 2 of us paired against the other.
I clearly remember we 3 were enrolled for Indian Classical Dance classes which was held at a school very close by to our house in Talap. Finally we got our uniforms for the class which was a 'salwar kameez'. The kameez was off white and the salwar and dupatta were baby pink. We were super excited to have the uniform but myself and Babitha didn't go for the class after that...just being lazy, you know! :-D

So, one day, we had a fight...this time it was me and Babitha against Rechana. We were so angry with her (and I don't even remember why!) and we decided to pour water at her over my boundary wall when she went for the dance class. But it never happened as she was smarter than us :D
Meen Curry
When I look back at it, we were just being stupid and silly! I have such good memories with my childhood friends and the best part is we are still connected. Rechana got married 2 days before our wedding and Babitha was one of my bridesmaid. We live continents away but we are still in each other's thoughts!

Do you have such memories of how stupid and silly you were, when you were young? I have plenty of them. I was a single child till I was 8 years old, so I never liked sharing anything , mostly with my cousins (no idea why!). When my cousins used to visit us and if there were chocolates in the fridge, I used to run and hug the fridge so they they wouldn't open it, also thinking that they wouldn't know they were chocolates in it! Imagine how stupid I was!! :-D

That reminds me...I haven't told you how we 3 became friends right? It's funny, atleast how Babitha and I became friends. That's for another post...I hope I haven't bored you . Now let's move to the recipe :-)

My own recipe 

For Puttu:
Roasted Rice Flour* or Store bought Puttu Podi (Taste Buds, Avis,Nirapara, Double Horse are good brands)
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Freshly grated coconut as need

For the Meen Curry:
1 lbs/ 0.5 kg King fish (can use sardines, mackerel, shrimp etc)
1c freshly grated coconut
1 tsp turmeric powder
6 green chillies
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 lime sized ball of tamarind
1/2 c warm water
Salt to taste
3 tbsp coconut oil

For Puttu:
In a large bowl, mix together the salt and rice flour. Sprinle water to it and mix well.Start with half the qty of flour that you are taking.
When you press a ball of flour, it should hold it's shape and not crumble down. If you have reached that consistency, stop adding water. Pass this mixture through a sieve to remove the lumps.Leave it aside for 15 mins.
Take your puttu maker *, add some grated coconut followed by the rice flour mixture. Never ever press the puttu podi into the puttu maker, it just needs to be spooned in.
Bring to boil some water in a pressure cooker. When the steam comes, insert the puttu maker into the nozzle where the steam comes out. Let it steam till you can see steam passing through the puttu maker which will happen in less than 2 mins.
De-mould it and serve hot with Fish Curry.

Fish Curry:
Grind the coconut and turmeric powder. Add water to aid it in grinding.
Add the warm water to the tamarind and set it aside for 5 mins. Squeeze out the pulp and strain.
Add the red chilli powder, green chillies and salt to the tamarind pulp and mix.
Heat oil, add the ground masala and the tamarind pulp.
Once it comes to a boil, add the fish and let it cook.
If you think you need to add more water,add it and give it a boil.
Check for salt .

*The rice flour used for Puttu is not super fine, it has to be coarse. The super fine variety is used for Idiappam/String Hoppers. So make sure you have the right one.If you are in doubt, go for the store bought powder made specially for Puttu.
* Puttu maker usually comes in a cylindrical form but Amma always made it in 'Cheratta'/Coconut shells and her shells are as old as I am :) I wanted to get one here but in the last minute hurry all I could manage was this commercially made 'Aluminium' Cheratta. If you are using any other kind of puttu maker, please follow the manufacturers instructions.

* If you do not own a puttu maker, you can still make it by steaming it in a plate . Simple! But this time, you will keep it inside the cooker/steamer and not over it as I did :)

Verdict: It goes without saying how much I love this curry rather the combo! Try it and you will know why I like it :)

I am sending  the deliciousness to The Kerala Kitchen.

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