September 20, 2017

Meen Peera| Kerala style fish in grated coconut

Dubai can sometimes be a lonely place. Things took a huge turn a few weeks ago when the Malayalees of the firm which Shibin works for announced an Onam - Eid get together. That was something to look forward for. I got all the more excited when I was asked to join for Thiruvathira. Old traits seldom die:) I love dancing and this opportunity was just so perfect for me. What started off as a mundane Thiruvathira for the ladies and oppana for the kids geared up all the ladies who had let go off all the inhibitions and decided that they wanted to do more. As luck would have it Jimki Kammal Dance Challenge was going places and we decided to do our part as well. It was a simple suggestion by one of the ladies and others were more than eager to join in. The practice that started off in a single song, finally ended in a fusion of three. Despite stage fear, chances of forgetting steps and also the melodrama of having to dance in a saree - we did it! It may not have been the most perfect dance but there is no denying that we perfectly enjoyed every moment of it. We carry no regrets and we are proud our practice paid off!  The Onam celebrations started off with a pookalam, maveli varavelppu and continued to the cultural programs, sadya, tug of war, singari melam to name a few. Every event had its charm but it was the enthusiasm of the people that undeniably made an otherwise normal weekend - a one to remember for months to come. Age was not a bar as everyone present joined the singari melam ensemble and danced away into the evening. As for the employees of the company, 'hi-bye-smile' relationships turned more meaningful and for me I made some wonderful friends!

It is a week now, we still longingly look at the photos and videos that are being circulated. Having said that, it is time to post our next recipe - Meen Peera which is traditional to Kerala. It is a dry fish preparation usually using small fish varieties and grated coconut that serves as a side dish to the meal.

  1. Fish - 1 kg ( preferably the smaller fish like Natholi/Anchovy, Mathi/Sardines, Cheriya Aila/Small Mackerel)
  2. Coconut grated - 1.5 cup loosely packed
  3. Ginger - 1 tbsp grated heaped
  4. Shallots/ cheriya ulli - 8 to 10  can be replaced with onions
  5. Kudampulli - 2 -3 pieces
  6. Tumeric powder - 1 tsp
  7. Green chilli - 5-6
  8. Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Water
  • Clean the fish and drain off any excess water.
  • Coarsely grind together coconut, ginger, shallots, green chilly and turmeric. This can be done on a grinding stone, mortar and pestle or in a mixer pulsing it just once or twice.
  • Add this coarsely ground coconut masala to an earthen pot, add the fish along with curry leaves and kudampulli. Sprinkle salt and add half a cup of water.
  • Cook this on low flame for 15-20 minutes until the fish is almost done and leave it open for 5 minutes for any excess water to drain off.
  • Best when served along with rice.

You may also note- 
  • Avoid stirring, this tends to break the fish. Using a kitchen towel, hold on to both the sides of the pot and gently toss if need be.
  • Earthen pot has a very high smoking point, hence cooking on low flame ensures that the bottom does not burn.

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