March 9, 2011

Country Style Fish Stew — Fish Moilee


Kerala has long attracted visitors to its shores from every corner of the globe since time immemorial: Phoenicia, Greece, China, Arabia, Syria, Portugal, France and Rome. Needless to say, these civilizations left their imprint on the local culture, cuisine and religious practices. Several of the world’s great religions are found here—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. Jews dating back to 562 BCE, Christians to CE 52 and Muslims to CE 643.

Foreign influence on the cuisine of Kerala is also marked, with each religion developing its own cuisine and style of preparation in response to its rich history, religious practices and local ingredients. Vegetarianism followed by a majority of Hindus contributed a myriad of vegetarian fares, most significantly dishes like avail (mixed veggies in coconut), olan (ash gourd and red gram in coconut milk), erissery (red gram and pumpkin curry), thorans (stir-fried vegetables) and pradhaman (puddings made with milk or coconut milk). Muslim influence is evident in delicacies like pathiri (unleavened rice pancakes), porotta (unleavened layered wheat bread) and other luscious non-vegetarian dishes like the Malabari biryani. The Syrian Christians blend the Indian European and their most exquisite dishes are vellayappam (lacey rice pancakes), meen vevichathu (spicy fish curry), erachi ularthiyathu (fried meat), and various stewed dishes.
 
Fish moilee is a typical Syrian Christian delicacy with the distinction that it is subtly flavored to suit most palates. Again, as with most dishes, you will come across variation to the recipe. The curry is usually prepared in a traditional monchatti (earthen vessel) by stewing fish in coconut milk infused with fresh ginger, garlic and other delicate flavors. Coconut vinegar is used as the souring agent and tomatoes are mainly used for garnish. Fish moilee is usually served as a starter and best enjoyed with appam or bread.


Country Style Fish Stew — Fish Moilee

Ingredients

500g fish of any fleshy variety, thinly sliced into 2 inch pieces (or use fish fillets)
3 tablespoon oil
2 cloves
2 cm cinnamon, broken into two
10 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger, finely shredded
3-4 small green chilies, slit lengthwise and halved
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 teaspoon coconut vinegar
1 cup coconut milk, first extraction
1 ¼ cup coconut milk, second extraction
salt, to taste

Directions

Prepare the first and second extraction of coconut milk. If you are using canned coconut milk, dilute the milk with equal proportion of water to make the second extraction.

Heat oil in an earthen vessel (monchatti) or casserole over medium-high heat. Add cloves and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Tip in garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add ginger, chilies, curry leaves, onion and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add tomatoes, vinegar, pepper, turmeric and toss gently for 2 minutes. Pour in second extraction of coconut milk, season with salt and mix well before adding fish. Bring the fish to boil and simmer until the gravy is thick and reduced. Now pour in the first extraction of milk and simmer everything together for another 3 minutes. For thicker gravy, add 1-2 teaspoons of corn flour diluted in water. Remove from heat and serve hot with appam, bread or rice.

42 comments:

  1. wonderful presentation dear.looking gorgeous fish moilee.

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  2. this looks absolutely delicious. I love your styling. And the curry looks wonderful- the list of ingredients just confirms that!

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  3. Amazing clicks... love the manchatti...And your meen moilee looks absolutely delicious..

    http://krithiskitchen.blogspot.com

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  4. Fish moilee... I'm literally drooling at the plate with the fishes... The gravy is thick, the fish well cooked.. Very perfectly prepared!! That manchatti looks fabulous.. Wish I could also have one :-) Love your way of presentation and the background info you provide about Kerala and its cuisine. Keep up the good work :-)

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  5. Amazing pictures as usual and a wonderful recipe.

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  6. Fish stew prepared in this pot definitely adds some special taste, looks very yummy and well presented.

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  7. Beautifully presented....and nice stew recipe.

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  8. Cooking fish stew in pots give more taste to the stew na, looks absolutely marvellous..

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  9. Aha...beautiful pot/earthen vessel, love that traditional touch...fish moily looks very appealing, all I need is some steamed rice:)

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  10. The stew looks wonderful and heart warming. Loved the earthen wear in which you have served the stew. :)

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  11. Very tempting and delicius recipe....

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  12. I have soo many fish moileee....but haven't seen one presented so beautifully!....looks veryyyyy yumm!!
    Smitha
    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

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  13. Very authentic n your presentation is FAB girl!!


    US Masala

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  14. Im drooling like hell! Could imagine the taste of curry prepared in "manchatti" Too lovely!

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  15. Hey all, thanks much for your support and kind words. As always, it's inspiring to hear from you. You guys rock!

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  16. Amazing clicks and the curry looks toooooo tempting...

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  17. looks marvellous.... picture perfect... its our favourite too....

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  18. Wow, my fav fish stew and if this is made in a mann chatti, the taste will be excellent. I think you might have enjoyed this with appam.. :) Great pics Nash.

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  19. Such a yummy dish! Love the use of that pot and your beautiful clicks as well....

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  20. looks yummy! And love ur meen chatti :)

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  21. hey more than fisy, I was staring at tht meen chatti.. perfect.. am sure the taste just doubled in tht chatti.
    ammaandbaby.blogspot.com/

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  22. OMG!!!I have lost my control..Drooling here..Looks absolutely delicious and great pictures..I wish we too have good natural light available here :)

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  23. Hey..the dish looks sooooooo droolworthy n delicious..
    Happy to follow u..:)
    Tasty appetite

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  24. one f ma fav kuttanadan recipe...I used to have ths on most sundays n my childhud..thanks a lot ..u made me nostalgic...

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  25. Hi,
    You have an award in my blog. Please visit and collect the award.
    Thanks
    Vimitha

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  26. Oh how beautiful!thanks for bringing it over to the Kerala Kitchen Nashira!

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  27. Absolutely gorgeous fish molee.

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  28. Hi, An award is waiting for you in my blog... Please collect it..
    http://krithiskitchen.blogspot.com

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  29. Hi, first time in this cute kerala cuisine blog. Love the recipes a lot :)

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  30. Totally country style..Loved d presentation too!! Thx for stopping by...;) U have a lovely space here with beautiful photography..!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

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  31. Dear all, thanks so much!

    Vimitha and Kirthi- thank you girls for generously sharing your awards with me- how very sweet and thoughtful of you!

    Pushpa and Chitra: I'm happy to see your feedback, thanks for stopping by.

    Rumana, Jay and Prathima: It's a pleasure to see you here, thanks.

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  32. I love fish molly and make it usually with pomfrets ...loved the earthen pot...this is something i am looking for .

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  33. There is a award for you at my space...do collect it

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  34. Simply Beautiful Nash! Love your pictures :) Thanks for sending this in to Kerala Kitchen!

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  35. Thank you, Sangeeta and Reshmi!

    My pleasure, Magpie!

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  36. Hope I am here for the first time ..love love it totally.. pictures are amazing. Offcourse the recipes aswell.

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  37. Hey Pavithra, nope, this is not your first visit :) You even subscribed to my posts a while back! Anyways, thanks for the fresh thoughts, makes me happy! :)

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  38. This is absolutely Yummylicious Nash! What a lovely presentation!!

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  39. simply awesome and mouth watering Fish Moilee

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  40. Hey i had seen a few recipes of fish moilee where fennel(perumjeerakam) is not at all an ingredient fof fish moilee i had always noticed chefs finishing fish moilee with a sprinkle of crushed fennel .,which gives a distinct aroma n flavor .it will be helpful if you can clarify :)

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi