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Friday, August 29, 2008

Saiva Meen Kuzhambu (Vegetarian Fish Curry)

For a long time I was trying to find out this recipe and personally see somebody cooking this chettinad special delicacy. Last week I was in chettinad and the lady cook( Akka) in our home was quite free to cook and show me this wonderful gravy. After cooking I served this vegetarian fish in my daughter’s plate and she could'nt find out till she swallowed one piece that it was not real fish. First she had the rice with the gravy and at that time she never found out. They steam the masala with which they make the fish in a leaf called lejjai ketta keerai (shameless leaf).It is a crotons type plant which is found in chettinad and I guess almost in all places in tamilnadu. They keep a small stick like pattai from plantain plant in the centre to get the centre hole in the fish. The veins in the leaf give the look of the thorns in the fish. I have clearly shown everything in the snap. They make the masal, steam it in the idly pot, cut into pieces, fry it, make the gravy exactly like fish curry and add the fried pieces.
Ingredients to make the masala for making fish
Thatta payar (cow peas)-1 cup
Chili powder-1 teaspoon
Garlic-5 pods
Fennel seeds-1 teaspoon
salt-1 teaspoon
Rotate the payaru one time in the mixie to break it and soak it for 1 hour. Coarsely grind the soaked peas along with the other ingredients. As we cannot get this leaf everywhere we have to find out some other means to steam it in the shape of the fish. I guess we can use plantain leaf and a small stick in the centre. Spread the mixture on to the leaf. Keep the stick in the centre and fold it. Carefully steam it. Once it is cold, remove the leaf, carefully pull out the stick and cut into pieces like fish. Fry the pieces in the oil and keep aside. Now we have to make the gravy exactly like karakuzhambu or fish curry
Ingredients for the gravy
Garlic-20 to 30 pods
Pearl onion (small onion)-20
Curry leaves-little
Green chilli-3

Coriander powder-2 teaspoon
Sambar powder (kuzhambu milagai thool)-2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder-1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind-gooseberry size
Gingelly oil-1 table spoon

For seasoning
Mustard seed-1 teaspoon
Fennel seed-1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seed-1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaf-little

Soak the tamarind with the salt needed in three cups of water. Add the coriander powder,sambar powder and turmeric powder to this water itself. Cut the onions and garlic into length wise pieces. If the garlic is not very big, no need to cut it. Cut the tomatoes also into small pieces. Keep the kadai in the stove. Season the gravy with the items given in ‘to season’ in one to 1 ½ table spoon of gingerly oil or cooking oil. Add the onions, garlic and tomatoes and sauté nicely. Now add the tamarind dissolved water .Wait for the gravy to boil nicely for 3 minutes. Now reduce the flame to minimum and allow the gravy to cook till it becomes thick. 5 minutes before switching off add the fried vegetarian fish and bring to a boil without stirring.


Life is beautiful said...

You are doing an excellent job solai....I read many food blogs as I love cooking...I dont know how I missed your blog. From the way the preparation looks I can say it is an authentic chettinadu food blog..Keep up your good work :)

Cham said...

I never heard or seen the leaf! May be i can use vetal which is available compare to banana leaf! Love the veggie meen kuzhambu . When we were kids , my mom fry the green banana and says it is veg fish we use to eat it!

Divya Vikram said...

Great recipe.

Mallugirl said...

This is a very interesting recipe. I don't get plantain leaves, so u think i can still try it?or is the flavor very dominant?

Solai Chidambaram said...

No flavour for the leaf used Mallugirl.So I guess any edible leaf or any other substitute to get the shape can be used

Revathi said...

Oh my god aachi !! What a recipe. You are doing the real thing of publishing chettinad recipes. Please consider publishing a book !!!

Solai Chidambaram said...

Thankyou dear cham,Revathi,divya and life is beautiful for your comments.I want you people to try this recipe too.You people find out some other good substitute for the leaf

Illatharasi said...

Hi Solai, sorry for not giving any comments. My brother came here with his family. So spending time with my nephew:) Would be spending more time from next week, since they wud be leaving:(

BTW, we call this keerai as "Nacchu Kotta Keerai" :) Very good recipe and will come back trying your new recipes ;) But I dont think we will get this keerai in singapore.

Priti said...

Wow this is lovely...looks delicious..I have bookmarked this recipe to try :)

Sujatha said...

Veg fish sounds interesting and unique! I've never heard of the leaf either.. Will try to hunt for a substitute.. I'm very curious to try this.. :)

Solai Chidambaram said...

Yes Sujatha,try out some good substitute that we can surely rely on

Ravi said...

Hi Solai,
Though I have been following your recipes for quite sometime, this is my first comment here. First, thanks for sharing your authentic chettinad recipes. Seeing each picture makes my mouth water. And this receipe... my God! something which I really wanted. Though I am a non-vegetarian, I am born into a vegetarian family and so cooking non-veg at home is strictly prohibited. I think this recipe would bring a little solace for me. Thanks a lot and what a novel idea. I don't know how you were able to choose the right ingredients for this. Hats off!

Solai Chidambaram said...

Thankyou Ravi,I wish this curry fulfills your wish for having a non-veg like thing

v said...

Solai akka,

Awesome recipe. I will try it soon.


Cham said...

Wish u a Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi to u and ur family!

Nithya said...

Fabulous Post..Looks really tempting..Keep them coming..Nice work..I dont know..how i missed ur blog!!! for so long..

SriLekha said...

that looks delicious!

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add u as a follower of my blog to have my recipes in ur dashboard itself!

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junior said...

It's really surprising - veg fish- Wow.

I have never even heard this method.Nice Idea.

Thankyou _solai-You'e name is alsi nice.

Rajani said...

hi I just dicovered your lovely blog. yummy recipes here - i am definitely going to try the vegetarian ones.

Preethi said...

HI Akka,
Thanks a ton for your recipe. I am pure vege while my hubby is 100% nv and he loves chettinad dishes. will make this fish curry and make him happy :) . can you please post more veggie dishes like this to substitute nv.

anna said...

I tried this recipe with Banana leaf. It came out very good. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I will also share this on my blog soon with the photos.

Solai Chidambaram said...

Good try Anna.thankyou for finding an alternative leaf

usha said...

hi Achi.. I loved your recipe..
my home town is nattarasankottai..
I live in usa..
some one told abt this recipe was in
kalayanavidu..I was searching for long time ..right now I found it..
thanku so much..I loved all your recipes.. It was great!!Which is your home town achi?

vinayak said...

any way akka wonderfull recipes..i hav seen youur dad kairali tv malayalam channel he only mention about your blog...actually where is the chettiyar mansions..pls give exact location

Solai Chidambaram said...

vinayak,It is chettinadu mansion.For details browse chettinadu mansion in the internet.It is in kanadukathan,sivaganga dt. Tamilnadu.

"அம்மு" said...

Hello Solai,

I am a brahmin married to a core non-veg lover.. Tried this one & my in laws & hubby loved it.. Thx for the recipe :) It will be great if you can post some more non-veg equivalent recipes. Thx again :)


Skl said...

hello aunty,
wish you and family a very hapy and prosperous new year,
great recipe,made with plaintain leaves,came out very well,looks exactly like fish,new to us,thank you,skl