I would like to share some of the unique tastes of Kannur. Hope you will definitely try this recipe at your home.
In order to spice up any Kerala non-vegetarian dish such as chicken mutton or any seafood, we mostly give priority to either black peppercorns, chilli powder or green chillies. Our fish curries which we consume a lot mainly have that spicy and sour taste and is typi call y achieved through the heavy use of chilli powder and tamarind. Although this might be stimulating in flavour it might not be that healthy. A healthier spice which we can use instead is green peppercorns. Green peppercorns might be more subtle in taste when compared to black peppercorns as they are younger and unripe but they have a fresh and unique aromatic flavour. Moreover, they also have interesting health benefits such as helping our digestive tract by increasing hydrochloric acid in the stomach thus making digestion easier. They also help in reducing weight by breaking down fat cells and also contain antitoxins, iron and vitamin K. A good combination with this underused spice would be gooseberries or amla. This valuable little fruit with a big flavour would be a healthier substitute for tamarind as it contains nutrient values such as high vitamin C, aids in metabolic activity and controls diabetes. Blending gooseberries with green peppercorns gives a fresh twist and a well-balanced taste of spice and sour which is perfect for a fish curry.
The process of making this tantalizing curry with these two naturally flavourful ingredients is simple. First of all, it’s best to use smaller fishes like sardines or anchovies for this recipe because it blends better with the flavors and also looking at it from a healthier perspective they have a lower mercury level than big fishes. I actually prefer white sardine or veluri as we call it. it’s not only because it is a good looking fish or it fuses well with green peppercorns and gooseberry but also because of its nutrient values. White sardines are high in calcium hence minimizing the risk of osteoporosis, lowers bad cholesterol, and is easier to digest unlike the normal sardines (mathi) which can cause heartburn in some people due to its high fatty oils.
All you need to do to make this piquant curry is splutter some fenugreek seeds in coconut oil add chopped shallots, ginger and garlic, slit green chillies, some turmeric and salt and mix the blended green peppercorns and gooseberry paste (it’s better to take less amount of gooseberries and more of green peppercorns because of the former’s stronger flavour) stirring till the raw smell reduces. Then add the fish and cover till cooked and then garnish with some curry leaves. On the other hand, If you want to have a more gravy-like fish curry and want to eliminate oil you can cook by boiling the fish in grated coconut paste with a little turmeric, and ginger and then add the peppercorn and gooseberry paste and finish off by garnishing curry leaves. Both the fish recipes are distinctive, appealing and when accompanied with rice we get a deliciously zesty and healthy meal.