Spicy Visonu (King Fish / Surmai / Seer) Fish Curry With Teppal (Sichuan Pepper /Szechuan Pepper / Triphal) ~ Garlic And Seasoned With Coconut Oil …….. Goes very well with Ukda Rice (Red Boiled Rice) …… Yumz .....
Fish is considered to be good for health. Growing up in Mangalore a coastal area I have been brought up enjoying sea food a lot. My Mom being an awesome cook used to prepare the yummiest fish curries and fries. A large family and huge bunch of relatives all enjoyed the delicacies she prepared a lot. My father used to go to the Fish Market personally and buy them. At the young age of about 10yrs he used to take me to market along with him. I used to run behind him with the bags. My father had the habit of taking a whole round of the market and only then he used to begin purchasing. That way it helped him not only judge the price but also know what and which veggies or fish were available. Initially my legs used to ache as I joined him and I used to crib. But that did not deter his decision from taking me to the market. Slowly, I began looking forward to the visits. By the age of 12 I had learned the art of purchasing by myself from Market. This has helped me a lot over the years. Today I am able to independently purchase anything due to the training he gave. A huge bunch of Thanks to my dear father who is no more, but sure to be watching over proudly at all of us. Coming to fish, Visonu / king fish is one of my favorite fish, though I love it fried more than in curry. But hubby wanted me to prepare a curry. He had been to Gokarn recently and brought Teppal (Sichuan Pepper /Szechuan Pepper / Triphal) and was very keen that I make something out of it with fish. So here is Recipe of the fish curry I prepared exclusively for him.
Addition of Sichuan Pepper / teppal to curries :
The addition of teppal / sichuan pepper depends upon how much aromatic it is. If too strong use less and vice versa. The older the shelf life of the teppal the less aromatic it becomes and you may have to add in more while newly dried once are more aromatic and you may need to add in less. Also it depends again upon individual liking as some prefer lightly perfumed dish while some prefer it with strong smell. So use your judgment while adding in the teppal to be precise. With experience you will learn to adjust the same. Also remember to snip off the stem and the center black seed from the teppal before grinding.
** Again Sichuan Pepper / Teppal can be used via 2 methods ... You may choose any method that suits you.
1) Is to add them to the ground masala towards the end and grind to a smooth paste along with the masalas and use it to the curry.
2) The other method is to grind the teppal / sichuan pepper separately in water and then sieve it. Use the sieved water while grinding the masala.
Clean and wash in plenty of water gently the Visonu / King fish slices. I used about 7-8 medium sized pieces for the curry. Be careful while cleaning as we do not want the fish to break. Fish is decicate and should always be handled gently.
Masala for Grinding : Heat 1 tblsp of oil in a small frying pan. When hot add in 2 tsp coriander seeds, ½ tsp methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds), teppal (Sichuan pepper / tirphal), 1 tsp urad dal, 10-12 red kashmiri chillies, 8-10 cloves of garlic. Put it in a mixer along with 2 cups of freshly grated coconut and a small marble sized tamarind to fine paste. The paste should be very fine. Also see to it that when you add the teppal (sichuan pepper / triphal) the inner seed should be removed and discarded).
Put the ground masala in a wide flat vessel (always use flat wide utensils to cook fish. The fish then can be laid evenly and not topped over each other which tend the fish to break as fish cooks very fast). Add in a bit of water if necessary to bring to thick gravy consistency and bring it to a boil. When the gravy comes to a full boil, lower the heat and add in salt to taste and mix well. Now add in the fish pieces.
Now on medium heat bring the fish with gravy to a boil. See that you place the fish pieces distributed evenly all over and not toppled one on another. Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stirring with a spatula / ladle should be avoided to prevent the fish from breaking. Just gently rotate or tilt leftwards and rightwards the vessel with the help of tongs. Be careful as you may pour off the gravy. You will need a bit of practice for this, but you will slowly learn the trick. When the curry is ready pour a tablespoon of coconut oil on top of it, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Let the fish absorb the flavors for some time say 15-20 minutes before serving hot with rice.