Sliver fish / Mothyale are tiny small fishes of around 4 inches in length. Cleaning this fish is the toughest task while it gets cooked in a jiffy. Scrap the scales, trim off the fins, tail and the head.
Give a slit on the stomach side to open the stomach for cleaning person. Clean the stomach and rinse the fish in plenty of water. All process should be done handling the fish gently or it tends to break. I have used about 30 silver fishes for this curry.
To be ground : Grind 2 cups of freshly grated coconut with 8-10 kashmiri red chillies to a very fine paste. The ground masala should be very fine and not watery.
Add the ground masala in a broad flat vessel (Always use flat and broad vessels to cook fish), wash and add 3-4 Kudampuli (Malbar Tamarind), salt to taste and bring to a boil.
Add water if necessary to bring to a gravy consistency. Lower the heat and let the curry simmer.
Add the cleaned Mothyale (Silver fish) to the curry, bring to a boil and remove from heat. The fish will have cooked. Do not boil more, as the fish will start to break and get mingled with masala.
For Tempering: Heat 2 tblsp oil in a small pan, when it is hot add 1 large onion chopped finely. Stir it often and fry till the onion turns brown, once done pour this over the fish curry and give the curry a single stire.
Cover and keep aside for 10-15 minutes for the flavor to get settled.
Serve hot with Ukda / plain rice or any other accompaniment of your choice.
** Note :
Kudampuli is a fruit available abundantly in the southern part of India, specially Kerala side. It is dried in sunlight and stored for using in curries for taste of sourness. There are different types of items used in different southern parts of India, for adding sourness to curries. Some use Bimbul (Fresh), while some use dried kokum, raw mangoes are used during the season, karmbola / star fruit is also used. However, in Konkani house holds (saraswat community) we mostly use tamarind for the curries. If using Tamarind, use a small marble size while grinding the masala. In which case do not add any other item that sours the curry.