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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chettinad Viral Meen mangai Kuzhambu (Chettinad Butterfish (murrel) Mango gravy)

In my last blog, I really disappointed the non-veg lovers by showing a vegetarian fish. That was the case for the people at home too. So when Yesterday when I heard a voice ”Uyir Viral Meen Venumamma”, I ran to open the door and I saw a lady with a big shopper bag in her hand. Seeing her, I thought that I have misheard and asked her again what she was having. She replied that it was the live viral fish. Though I know that live viral fish is available in this part of tamilnadu during this month, I have never seen them live. Sometimes I have heard my husband after returning from the fish market telling that he got live fish. As he brings home the cleaned fish, it was the first time, I am seeing this live. Though it was Saturday and we don’t cook non-veg that day, I was eager to see and get the live ones. I asked for the price and she told that it is 160 Rs per kg. I had no idea of the price and simply told her “Oh, why this much costly”. Hearing me she suddenly got angry and told me,” I will give the whole thing free if you can get cheaper than this” and also that she is giving it for this price just because her husband caught it from a pond and she has no means to store it. I said Ok Ok and she opened the bag. Inside the bag 7 to 8 live fishes were playing inside a plastic bag filled with water. She took 2 big fishes and tried to keep them in the balance several times, and the fish jumped out of it each time. She caught it and kept it again and again. After 5 minutes she lost patience and asked me to bring a plastic bag. She put the fish inside the bag and weighed fast. She asked me” Are you going to cook today”. I said “No”. She asked me to bring a bucket with water, I thought the water was for cleaning but she put the fish inside that and asked for money. Now I understood why she put the fish in the bucket and I told her that, I want the fish to be cleaned and I can store it in the refrigerator. She went on arguing why, I want to refrigerate when I have a chance to have real fresh ones. The whole scene of me catching the live fish next day in my hand and running with it, and trying to kill it and clean it came into my mind and I laughed for myself and leaving my pride told her that, I don’t know to clean that fish.

The next fun was seeing her cleaning the fish. The fish was a very slippery one and the lady found it very difficult to catch. She rubbed some mud over it and caught it by its neck so that it can’t move and took out the fins and the side first. Now she cut the head piece and put it inside the vessel. The blood was flowing and she cut the remaining pieces as well. Seeing the blood the real fun I was having till that time went off and I didn’t want to see her cutting the next one. So I went inside and made a cup of tea for her. She washed the fish nicely, had the tea, took the money and went off. I kept the fish inside the kitchen and thought that after sometime I can wash once more, marinate it and keep in the fridge.10 minutes before my husband comes for lunch, I went inside the kitchen to marinate the fish. When I touched the fish, I was shocked. It was slippery as if it is inside a gel. I was worried what to do and called home and asked our Akka what to do now. She told me that the fish should have been scrubbed with a stone or salt before cutting, but now she asked me to take each piece and scrub nicely with big salt spread on the kitchen slab. Oh; it took nearly one hour for me to do this. As I got tired by this itself, I didn’t grind any masala.I just marinated with 2 tablespoon of chili powder and salt and refrigerated it.
Today morning I took it out from the refrigerator and wanted to make an awesome curry with it to overcome the strain of cleaning it.
Viral meen head and tail along with mango is known to be very tasty. I have mangoes in my mango tree now as my tree will bear bruits only in this season. I went to the garden and plucked 2 mangoes and thought that I will take snaps however and if the curry turns good blog the recipe. Believe me, I have never had a fish curry so tasty. It was worth all the strain. The fish pieces inside were like coconut pieces, so fresh. There was a ton of difference between this fish and the frozen fish we get from the market. The procedure for the gravy is the same as for any other fish gravy. Only difference is that, as we are adding mangoes for the sour taste and so only very little tamarind is to be used.



Ingredients
Head and tail pieces of viral-6 pieces
Small onion-20
Garlic pods-20
Tomatoes-2
Mango-2 small ones
Tamarind-1 teaspoon
Chili powder-1 tablespoons
Coriander powder-2 table spoons
Turmeric powder-1 teaspoon





Procedure
Marinate the fish pieces with ½ teaspoon salt and chili powder for 2 hours.
Cut the onion, garlic and tomatoes into small pieces.
Cut the mangoes into some big pieces. The seed can also be used as such
Keep the kadai in the stove. In two tablespoons of oil season the gravy with a teaspoon of fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaf. Sauté the onion, garlic and tomato pieces nicely. Dissolve the tamarind juice in 3 to 4 cups of water. Add the chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and the salt needed to this water. Add this water to the sautéed things in the kadai. Keep the flame in high and let the gravy cook for 5 minutes. Now reduce the flame to low and cook for 10 more minutes. Now add the mango pieces and cook for 3 minutes. Once the mango pieces are cooked slowly add the fish pieces one by one in such a way that they are inside the gravy. Now you can find that the gravy becomes little watery due to the high water content in the gravy. To give room for this extra water only we cook the gravy till it becomes thick before adding the fish. After adding the fish you cannot cook for a long time. The fish will get cooked within 7 minutes .Once you feel that the fish pieces are cooked switch off the stove. If desired a teaspoon of coconut oil can be added on top of the gravy to get extra flavor

18 comments:

Illatharasi said...

Hi Solai, more than your recipe, I liked your description. I imagined you and the fish seller cutting it.... he he...

Gravy looks yummy.... drooling over the picture ;)

Kayal said...

Hi Solai,
You i have being trying out all your recipes one by one. I must thank you, becoz i found all of them fetching appreciations from my husband and kid (which is very touch to get).
I am waiting for your recipe for Paal kozhukattai and few more of that kind.

Solai Chidambaram said...

many are asking for this paal kozhukattai recipe.My husband and my daughter are not big fan of desserts or sweets.So I rarely make them.But soon I will post this recipe Kayal.It is a common dessert in my mom's house and I know the preparation well

Ahadha said...

beautiful description of viral meen..it was so real......

Cham said...

Only few times, i had viral meen . None in my house like the taste of that fish (Because it is not sea fish). Did u find the difference?
The price is hard to believe, even we had Sunami those fishes were in high demand in my place and we paid pretty much 80 rup per fish!
I can imagine u running to kill the fish!
Meen and mangai are very classy one, looks tasty aunty :)

Solai Chidambaram said...

Things have changed in India now cham.Everything is costly.But in Pondichery you will get fish much cheaper than elsewhere.IThe live viral is Rs.200 here now

Revathi said...

idhu bayangara anyaayam. Fresh fish and fresh mangoes...the simpler the life the better I guess -

Vaaiii oooorudhu :)

Sujatha said...

thats a nice post.. It brings back my old memories of mom buying from the fish lady and going thru the cleaning process of sclaing, scrubbing, washing in salt, cutting etc.. I used to get tired by just seeing it.. But the end-result - Ultimate meen kuzhambu.. Nothing can compensate that :)

Delicious meen kuzhambu, aachi :)

junior said...

Solai...really good recipe.
I want to taste your cooking.

Thankyou.

pearls said...

as everyone said i liked ur description very much.awaiting for ur more recipes.

Muthu said...

santhoshama irukku unga recepie paakkum pothu ... solli kodukrathukkum oru manasu venum ...
athu vungal ta irukku...
thank you very much...
ippathaan paathaen vunga site -a.
Ini onnu onna try panna vendiathaan.
en vooru nagercoil..

Vijaya said...

Hi Solai:
I am originlly from Karikal - been living in the US for past 30 years. Suddenly I thought about what my mom told me about viral meen. Is it true that this fish uses its tail to walk on water?
We make "pully kolumbu" with Catfish in the US - that is as close as I come to viral meen kolumbu here. My husband loves to eat it with Idly.
Vijaya

Solai Chidambaram said...

Thankou Dick for informing me that some are copying and posting my recipes .I have condemned it and asked for its removal.Thanks again for showing your concern

Sunita said...

Dear Atchi

i tried this fish curry today. It was bit sweet and hot and very nice. Something different. MY friend said her grand ma used to make this type of fish.

I sincerely hope that more recipes will be on the way esp on chicken, mutton and fish

God Bless

Rajeshkumar said...

Hello Madam:
To start with you are not just an amazing cook you are good visionary interms of conveying the messages very clearly.. oming to business I asked my wife to tr this recipe and got two good results, 1: Very delicious kuzhambu, 2: My wife doesn't eat fish so she started eating it, thank you very much for making my life even more colorful with fish gravy on my kitchen....

I would rate your blogs are the best for chettinad dishes, as I have seen many yours is the best...

Thanks,
Raj

Solai Chidambaram said...

Thankyou Rajesh for the compliments.Happy to note that your wife started tasting fish

Vishnu said...

Hello Aunty, Hope Ur doing good cooking for ur daughter, I wish her to have happy delivery...To cook Non-veg my hand goes starightly to ur blog, this meen kolumbu story was awesome, Trying this afternoon, but with nethili...Hope it comes good...Thank U...

Richmond said...

Hello Aunty..

Loved your narration.We live in US and last year when we went for vacation for Outer banks we did fishing and caught quite some fishes.But we did'nt know how to clean them.They were extremely slippery.This year when we go I will use your techniques.I want to cook with semi riped mango and cat fish (equivalent to viral meen as the other aunty suggested in the comments).Will try it and post my comment.With my pregnancy your fish kolumbu is mouth watering .