Monday, October 26, 2009

Butter Fish Delight!

A detour to The Wharf, on our trip to DC, brought forth an exciting  array of fish and myriad possibilities!Perch! Trout! What fun those people had cooking it fresh caught from the stream...which book was it? Mackeral, Red Snapper, Black Snapper, Croaker, Crabs, Scallops, Crawfish, Tilapia, ...and  as with many armchair 'sea-food' experts, imminent danger of getting carried away! MFW, the 'man of few words' saw the glint and immediately forced one to the phone and ask the experts:  South-Kerala Mallu friend's recommendation: Mackeral is good for frying, Perch and Trout are not good for curries! Croaker is good for frying..but "Butter Fish is good for curry, good for frying!"
The Butter Fish was selling at about $3.29/lb; we bought ours from Jessie's who gave 5lbs for $3/each!
Five Pounds of Butter Fish = 8 no's.

      Happy 'Meenful' Mallu's [all atrocious puns intended! :-)] scoff at this perceived bargain! There are dedicated connoisseur's who drive 2 hours one way with jumbo coolers packed with ice to wait for the boat to come with the days catch for $.50cents/lb?!!! Happy to take the long drive back with the week's/month's quota in the trunk!

Who can compete with this??! Fish fry and fish curry has always meant a spelling mistake somewhere for moi! When NRI Mallu's get excited over fish 'back there' and their  relatives in the Atlantic ocean, moi gets a feeling of being a deer-caught-in-the-headlights'!

The internet is littered with Fish Molly recipes, most of them call for King Fish, which cut into fairly thick pieces. I am using the Butter Fish and am lightly frying the fish before cooking it in the curry. But here goes the simple recipe of Butter Fish fry.
Scored the fish in semi-circles and marinated it with a paste of red-chilli powder, turmeric powder, a little salt and vegetable oil. Pan fried the fish after 15-20 minutes of marination, basting the top with hot oil from the pan.
Fried Butter Fish
Alternately, one can use any kind of masala:  ginger-garlic paste, small red onion and red chilli paste, a little garam masala or plain salt and black pepper paste.
Cooked it in my electric skillet, suggested by not just one, but many self-respecting, meen-loving, Mallus who figured out early that their love of the fragrant,  fish curry clashed with the controlled air-conditioned luxury available in the west! The Mallu then found out the electric skillet [mine is from Oster, others abound in thier square convienience] which he or she happily plugs into the christmas light outlet of an apartment balcony  and pheromone's his or her territory to the aam-junta!

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