South Indian Cucumber ~ Mackerel Fish Curry With Sichuan Pepper / Magge ~ Raja (Bangude) Teppal ghalnu randai …. A definitely must try spicy fish curry from the Southern parts of India for all fish lovers. The aroma of sichuan pepper (triphala / teppal) is overwhelming here and contributes well with the fish …. Yummy Yumz ......
Many a times we tend to prepare the same combination of curries that we relished eating during our growing years. Fish curry is something usually we stick to our tried and tested recipes. But I like experimenting with new varieties and always in the look out for different combinations in dishes. During my college days in Mangalore, I had many friends outside my community so I adapted very well to their methods of curries and dishes too. But unfortunately, I never tried asking my friends to ask their Mother’s to share in the recipes. At that age all we could think of was enjoying eating. Also, being the youngest of a large family, I hardly entered the kitchen except when I needed food. But I was always a keen observer and being talkative by nature, used to sit with Mom, Aunt’s and sisters in the kitchen and chat my way to glory when they toiled in the kitchen. I was always offered the dishes for tasting and I always took pride in it. This is the very reason how I became observant through my growing years. Coming to the curries, now I try out different dishes be it in veg or non-veg by digging out for recipes everywhere possible trying to recollect the tastes, textures of childhood relished dishes. Finally I adapt it to my own style and keeping in mind my preferences. Here is a Mackerel fish curry that I prepared today making my very own changes.
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.
Mackerels / Raja / Bangda : 3 large sized.
South Indian Cucumber / Magge : small sized about 250 – 300 gms.
Coconut : 2 cups freshly grated
Onions : 3 medium sized Sliced finely.
Ginger : 1” cut into pieces
Coriander Seeds : 3 tblsp
Kashmiri Red chillies : 12-15
Haldi / Turmeric Powder : ¼ tsp
Tamarind : small lemon sized ball
Sichuan Pepper / Teppal / Triphala : 6 + 6
Curry leaves -4-5
Coriander leaves : 2 tblsp finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil : 3 tblsp + 1 tsp
Preparing the Fish : My fish vendor scales and cuts the fish on purchase itself the way I suggest so I all I do is actually only cleaning part. However, if you purchase them whole, scrape of the scales on the skin of the fish with the blunt knife. Please do watch the process with someone who knows doing it for the fist time. Trim of the fins and tip of the tail and cut the top head portion too just below the eyes (some people keep the eyes intact, I do not). Now give a slit on the side near the tummy side and clean out the insides of the fish. Wash it gently in plenty of water, till you get clear water left out. Once again I repeat for cleaning and cutting of fish do watch closely the procedure through a well projected video or by someone who can show the same to you. Apply salt and keep them aside ready.
Preparing the South Indian Cucumber / Magge : Slice off the ends parts of the magge. Cut it into half horiozntally and then vertically. The inner part is lined with small seeds. Cut off that portion and then cut them into medium sized cubes. Retain the skin off the magge, no need of removing the skin, I do not. But if you wish do so as thinly as possible. Wash them under running water and put it in a pressure cooker pan along with 2 cups of water. Add in a pinch of salt. Pressure cook the magge to 2 whistles. Let the pressure release on its own. Once it cools down and you are able to open the lid, gently open the pan and let the magge cool a bit. Strain the cooked in water and retain it to grind the masala.
** In a thick bottomed pan add in the 3 tblsp of oil and bring to heat. When hot lower the heat and add in the haldi powder followed by the sliced onion. Fry the onions till they are almost brown.
** Now add in the red chillies cut to pieces, ginger pieces, coriander seeds and 6 pieces of the sichuan pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove from fire and let cool a little bit.
** Put this in mixer grinder along with the coconut, tamarind and grind to a very smooth paste. For grinding use the cooked magge water. The masala should be ground to a very smooth thick paste.
** Remove and pour the masala in a wide bottomed thick vessel. Add salt to taste and mix well. Add in enough water and bring to a gravy consistency. Add in the cooked magge pieces too and bring to a boil, when the curry comes to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for few minutes. Now add in the fish pieces.
You may add the fish cut into pieces or as whole. The choice is entirely yours. Also add in the remaining 6 sichuan peppers / teppal, curry leaves, 1 tsp oil and bring all to one boil and remove from fire. Garnish with coriander leaves and cover with a tight lid. Keep the curry aside for 30 mins and then serve hot with rice. This curry tastes even better the next day as the flavours seep into the curry and get mixed well. Enjoy this curry with your family and friends.