Monday, August 3, 2015

Sura Meen Kuzhambu / Sravu Varutharacha Curry / Shark Fish Curry

Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Shark fish curry is familiar for the Keralites and Tamilians. Surameen Kuzhambu basically belongs to the Chettiar cuisine, made using paal sura or the young and tender sharks. Sravu Curry is not common in central Kerala, though, a much loved thick brown coloured curry made to perfection!

insisted Amma to go for a fish dish everyday this time in Kottayam, the reason being I never get to have these favourites of mine back home. She made the fish and coconut curry, red fishcurry, fried fish and the small fish varieties with coconut. She makes the best ones or at least, we children approve so.

I had been mentioning about shark fish and the curry she makes, which I wished to make a note and Bingo, she finds the young sharks in the shop right beside our home.This is a curry I crave and amma says I would have some extra meal with this side dish when I was a kid.

Now, before hitting the publish button, I did a bit of research to which cuisine the curry belongs and was excited to see the curry amma prepares is a lovely combination of both. The ingredients, method and the look of the final curry in both the cuisines is the  same; dark and thick!

Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Sura Meen Kuzhambu / Sravu Varutharacha Curry /  Shark Fish Curry
Serves a family of 6-8 members
Total time needed- 80 minutes


2 lbsPaal Sura meen / Baby shark fish - cleaned, deskinned and sliced

To roast and grind

3 tbsps Coriander powder
1 tsp Sombhu / Perunjeerakam / Fennel seeds ( This is an imp ing. Do not omit pls)
2 tsps Red Chilly powder
1/2 tsp Jeerakam / Cumin seeds
1 tsp Milagu/ Kurumulaku / Black pepper corns
1/2 tsp Manjal Thool /Manjal podi / Turmeric powder

1/2 cup  freshly grated coconut
A sprig of Curry leaves
10 numbers Shallots
6-7 Garlic cloves, small variety ( if large, 3-4 will fair)

 Extract from lime sized ball (Tamil recipe) of Tamarind ( I used this) OR *4-5 pieces of Kokum / 'Kudampuli' (Kerala recipe)

For Seasoning:

3 tbsp Nallennai / Nallenna / Sesame seed oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Venthayam / Uluva ?Fenugreek seeds
8 numbers shallots, sliced lengthwise
3 green chillies, slit lengthwise until 3/4th
A sprig of Curry leaves


Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Dry roast coriander powder till it turns into a deeper brown hue for about 4-6 minutes in low-medium flame. Note the colour. This is very important for the right flavour of the final curry.

Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Add the fennel seeds and chilly powder and turn off heat.
Add jeera seeds, pepper corn and turmeric powder and mix well. The heat in the pan will be enough to heat them up. Transfer this to your large mixie jar. We need to grind it later.

Roast coconut gratings and Curry leaves for a few minutes. Add whole shallots and garlic cloves and roast continuously for a few more minutes until the coconut is browned.
Transfer this to the mixie with the earlier roasted powders and spices.
Grind the whole mix into a fine paste adding enough water.
Prepare the tamarind extract.Mix it with the ground paste and keep aside.

 *If you use Kokum or 'Kodampuli', rinse and soak them in a cup of warm water for 10-15 minutes. You need not extract the pulp. Keep aside.

Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Slice the onions. Slit chillies until 3/4th, lengthwise. Do not separate them.
Heat oil in a wide kadai or the one in which we roasted the ingredients earlier or a seasoned earthern pot. Splutter mustard seeds and brown the fenugreek seeds. Sauté sliced shallots until light brown followed by the green chillies and curry leaves.
Pour the ground mix carefully over the seasoning. (If you use Kokum, add at this point).
 Add a cup of water to dilute and add salt. Simmer the curry and slide in the fish pieces, gently. Continue to simmer until the pieces are cooked soft for 8-10 minutes, in medium flame keeping the kadai closed. Check salt and fish pieces whether cooked. Young sharks are tender and cook soon. If not, simmer in low fire until the oil separates!

Sura Meen Kuzhambu

Serve hot with steamed rice and chips or 'Pappadam'. The curry turns thicker, darker and tastier, the next day!


 Traditionally, we should use whole coriander seeds and red chillies for roasting in Set-1.I have used the powders instead. This doesn't alter theauthentic taste if roasted rightly. This is easier to grind as well, than the whole seeds.
Amma used a 'Manchatti' or an earthern pan in the very final part. The curry was kept closed in it and was reserved for the next day. :).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shortbread Hearts for the Valentines!

Shortbread Hearts
                                                                       Foodgawked, Tastespotted       

For me, cookie dough is a kid's play-doh. The more the creative, more the products. More the interest, more the ways to dress 'em up
Some name them, sexy. Some, romantic ; a few, delectable.
 I love semi-formals or smart casuals when it comes to clothing. Enterprising ladies and gentlemen dressed in semi-formals.  My mind relates these choco-dipped cookies to them.

Most of you would have heard about shortbread. Scottish in origin, this is a kind of biscuit which is baked traditionally using one part of white sugar, two parts of butter and three parts of flour; all by weight. No chemical leavening agents such as baking powder or soda get into this.

Anyway, now that it's much looked forward Valentines week, we should be talking about hearts, roses, love, beauty, fragrance and whatever related to it :)

Shortbread Hearts

Shortbread Cookies
From- Joy of baking
Bakes 25 hearts

You Need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

A fat pinch of salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1/2 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbreads:

3 ounces (90 grams) semi sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

How to make:

Shortbread Hearts

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy or for a minute. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbreads: Place 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat. Add the remaining chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely melted and is smooth and glossy. Taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.

Shortbread cookies with keep in an airtight container for about a week or they can be frozen.

Stephanie is again there with the video and the elaborations, if you might need a look upon.

Shortbread Hearts

                                                                To the Valentines of the world

                                                                                        Love twice in your lifetime. 
                                                                                              Now.  And for ever!