November 07, 2006

Meen Porichathu/ Fish Fry

Fish Fry

Fish fry is an essential item on the menu anywhere in Kerala. The fish varies, the marinade varies, but a noon meal (oonu) is not a meal without it. The hotels stick to the economical big fish but there is a variety of small fish freshly caught and sold every day which makes every fish fry a different one. Now when I am standing in an Asian grocery store looking at the big, bigger and biggest fish spread out on ice, a pang of envy crosses my mind. But instead of dwelling on it, I decide to fry the familiar King fish and Pomfret(Neimeen and aakoli). The thick salmon, swordfish etc also takes well to the marinade but the thin fillets have to be fried with care.

Fresh fish fry may stink up your whole house but will definitely warm your heart and fill you up with marvellous memories of other fish fries, the tastes and tales back home. I grill fish often using the same marinade with a bit of oil added in but nothing can beat the crispness of a deep fried fish. It is considered to taste good with rice :)) but somehow, it tastes best by itself just as it is fried, before it cools down.

You will need:
Fish – 1lb or ½ kg ( Pomfret/King fish or any firm fish)cut into thin slices
This one is made with black pomfret/pompano( Aakoli)
Red Chilli Powder - 4 heaped tsp More or less as per spice level
Turmeric Powder -1 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder – 1 tsp
Lemon Juice-1 tsp, 2 tbsp for rinsing.
Ginger powder-1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves -4 (optional)
Salt,- 3/4 tsp or to taste
Canola Oil- about ½ cup as needed for frying.
Clean the fish properly. Toss with about 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, rinse and pat dry with paper towels or drain completely.
Make a fine paste of the spice powders and curry leaves, mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice and salt. Add few teaspoons of water if needed to make a thick paste. At this point, taste the marinade (relax, it is not yet fishy) and add more seasoning if needed.
Marinate the fish evenly with this paste. This is best done by hand, to allow the marinade to penetrate into the fish.
Keep aside for at least half an hour. Heat the oil in a shallow thick bottom sauté pan and slide in the fish pieces one by one. Don't drop the fish in from the top. Deep fry (in that case,add more oil) or shallow fry on medium heat as preferred. Flip the fish pieces only after 3-4 minutes to prevent it from cracking and splattering.
The total frying time should take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes depending on how big the fish pieces are and how crisp (well done) you would like it to be. I like it pretty crisp whereas my sibling needs to get it just right, not too rare, not too crisp, still soft and moist. So each to his own cooking time. The oil would stop crackling when it is almost done. Serve it with lime and onion slices.
P.S. One way to get rid of the fishy smell is to boil undiluted vinegar. Then dip a small kitchen towel in it, wring out excess vinegar and walk around the house waving it.(Muttering or chanting "go away fish smell,come back another day"):)It absorbs the smell. Then just aerate the kitchen for some time. It does provide entertainment for my little one.
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Seema said...

Yummmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...the pic looks so real..wish i could just pick up go whack whack whack !!!
This curry leaves, ginger n garlic powder for marination on fish sounds interesting..will try this bit the next time around !

Maheswari said...

Looks great..i make them almost the same way,iadd little bit of coriander powder.It's been long since i had pomfret..will try that soon..

Revathi said...

looks yummy. Have u heard about Velu Military Mess ??? If you have not heard about it, it is the mother of all nonveg hotels in Chennai !!
Your blog is the e-version of that.. Whenever I think about Sunday back home, which seldom goes without any nonveg, I visit ur blog... Awesome collection of nonveg items..

Anonymous said...


how abt sending me some around dinner time tonite? it will go nicely with my parippu curry and vendakka upperi.

thank you
PS: dinner will be served in another 3hrs.

Deepak Gopi said...

Neimeen or aavvoli?itil eethanu.
good day:)

Sumitha said...

A meal without fish at home,unimaginable!The fish fry looks so delicious!

Foodie's Hope said...

YUM!!! Crispy and crunchy!!:))

Anonymous said...

boo hoo:( fish fry didn't reach so had to make do with omellete.

tommorow is my stock replinishing day. so i'll hav it 2mmorow.

i stick to the basics, but my mom at times add to the marinate shallot , garlic, green chilli, black pepper,ginger etc. all together or one at a time to the basic chilli,turmeric,salt,lime juice/vinegar mix.
my fav is green chilli, ginger and a bit of pepper to the basic one.

i really don't know y i'am yapping so much abt the fish fry.
of course i do lov eatin fish, thou' hate the cleaning part...
here i go again
i better stop

Lakshmi said...

that fish fry looks so crispy, just want to have a bite. nice dish there.

indosungod said...

Shaheen, No Way, I need to have this fish fry right now, the picture looks amazing and the fish fry perfect.

archana said...

I am suddenly hungry and homesick ! What a splendid photo Shaheen, if only i could grab some from that picture ! Thank you for your recipe

Ashwini said...

Shaheen I will surely try this...we have a very different masala for fish fry so I would like a change

Shaheen said...

Seema:i like the sound effects.. normally its scrunch scrunch in my house..:)

Maheshwari: I don't normally use coriander with fish, but lets have ur recipe.

Revathi:I am humbled! Now I have to velu's mess to check it out.. And to think I just visited chennai in Jan!

Ki: Sorry, the fed ex guy said the fish will stink up his plane so couldn't sent it. i had ur share too so don't feel bad.:)it took me a long time to eat fish the same day i cleaned and cooked it. still feel a little queasy if i spent too much time cleaning.

Deepak.. its aavoli.

sumitha, i know how u feel. good to have u back.

Asha, yes i like my fish crunchy..and with lots of spice.

lakshmi, indo.. go ahead, have some.:)

Archana: I yearn for the tiny fishes of calicut.

Ashwini, how is ur marinade.. it would be good to have that recipe too.,

RP said...

That looks toooooo yummy! I usually do the fish-frying outside on my grillside burner to avoid the smell inside the house. Now that it is winter, I cannot do it, but again a couple of days ago I fried some fish in the house. I think the smell is still here! :D

Anonymous said...

Yum...Yummmmm.... Yummo! I love fish fry. who doesn't right? I miss my mom's fish fries a lot. Too bad! you made me homesick now:( I too love it very spicy and crispy. The picture is awesome as usual. It tempts me to grab some:)Thanks Shaheen.

Anonymous said...

hi Shaheen,
Wonderful recipe as usual. I am regular visitor here Keep it up

Nabeela said...

oh shaheen, i wish my fish fry always turned out as nice as yours..I've finally give up :(

Chandrika said...

Shaheen........The fish looks so yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy!....I need to get my hands on that!

nikhat said...

Shaheen ur blog is another delight .......each time i visit i end up salivating ...i m a big seafood fan........and ur malabar recipes are WOW!

gattina said...

I don't care that stink (from frying fish)... nothing can stop me to taste this marvellous and crispy fish! Shaheen, your recipe is right on my Friday's menu!
But I have problem to get very fresh seafood in my area, the fish guy at asian store always defroze then freeze again and defroze the fish, while the selection at western supermarket is so limited... *sigh*

mandira said...

shaheen, the picture is lovely... I am yearning for fish fry now...

Shaheen said...

RP: i am thinking of investing in an electric skillet to do outdoor frying.

Rg: We all share similar memories of home, right? yep, spicy and crispy it is for me.

Susan, thanks for stopping by an dcommenting.. would love to see more of ur notes.

Nabeela: fish fry is easy .. with ur patience in baking, it should be a inch for u.. try it again.

Shaheen said...

chandrika: Thanks..Nice to see a fish photo appreciated.


Gattina: thats the spirit.I get my fish too from the asian super market.. the trick is go on weekends when they freshly thaw the fish(hardly fresh, right?)but when u fry it , it is better. I go by the rule..If the fish stinks or it looks wrinkled, it is not fresh.

Anonymous said...

hi ,

this recipe is not found in ur list of fish recipes....i mean it is missing from the contents...


Meera said...

Fabulous picture! I am going to try it soon.

Zo-Ya said...

Hi Shaheen,
Wonderful site- was looking for a fish recipe and I landed here.. Live in NJ-dont get to see King fish in the fish stores around- is it called by some other name around here?
Am going to try your tilapia fish curry now:)

Mallugirl said...

zo-ya, u can get frozen king fish fillets at Sunshine Groceries on Stelton Rd, NJ which are ok and u can get better ones at the ROute 1 south farmers Market near Aaron Road.

devi srini said...

hi shaheen...

namaskaaram, the fish fry looks nice. fish fry is also a great work of art , the right masala the crispy point and cooked flesh..huh.. but the best treat to warm your soul.wonder if you noticed,there is a typing mistake in your write up - it is aavoli and not aakoli...I dont know if it is pronounced that way.. But your recipes are soooo tempting.

for avoiding the fishy odour you can close the doors of your rooms like the bedroom doors , toilet doors etc and before fish fry process leave you windows and balconies open for 15 mins, It helps a lot. Then keep the fish fry pan cooking on medium fry closed with a lid covered with aluminium foil see the wonders!

this is should be good treat for a afternoon treat with little meen chamandhi also...

lovely work


ruby said... your fish fry recipe.. the ingredients itself telling me its going to be one tasty fish recipe..will try it on king fish !!