Fish molee is a traditional and famous side dish that originated from central Kerala. The story behind this dish goes way back to the 15th century, during the Portuguese reign in Kerala. Legend has it that the traditional Kerala fish curries were too spicy for the Portuguese officials, and hence a woman named ‘Molly’ toned down the spice level by adding coconut milk and replaced red chilies with green chilies. This resulted in the dish to be known as ‘fish molee’.
Today, the simple and delicate process of cooking fish stewed in a lightly spiced coconut milk gravy is famed among locals and tourists alike. The dish tastes best when served with either steamed rice, roti, or bread variations.
For the gravy:
500gm fish (King Fish, Pomfret, Seer Fish), cut into medium pieces
2 onions, finely sliced
1 inch long ginger, finely sliced
5 green chillies, sliced (scoop away the seeds to reduce spice levels)
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp lime juice
200ml coconut milk
4tbsp refined oil
2 tomatoes, sliced for garnishing
1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped, for garnishing
1 sprig of curry leaves
Salt to taste
For thickening paste:
1tbsp grated coconut
7 cashew nuts
2 cloves of garlic
A pinch of cumin (jeera)
1/2 inch long ginger
1/2tsp black pepper powder
Step 1: After thoroughly cleaning your fish pieces with salt and vinegar, marinate the slices with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Keep it aside for 10 minutes.
Step 2: For the thickening paste, add 1 tablespoon grated coconut, 7 cashew nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of cumin (jeera), 1/2 inch long ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper powder, and 50 ml of water into a mixer grinder. Keep the paste aside.
Step 3: Take a non-stick frying pan, pour 2 tablespoon of refined oil, and place the fish (piece by piece) on the pan. Make sure to shallow fry the marinated fish and once done, keep it aside on a plate.
Step 4: Add 2 tablespoon of refined oil to the frying pan once again, and add the sliced onions. Sauté on a low flame for 2 to 3 minutes, until they turn golden brown.
Step 6: Add the 1-inch long sliced ginger, 5 green chilies, 6 cloves of sliced garlic and one sprig of curry leaves, to the mixture. Sauté once again for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 7: Add the thickening paste into the mixture, and sauté for another minute.
Step 8: Measure 100ml of coconut milk, and dilute in 125ml of water. Add it to the combination and allow it to boil.
Step 9: Add the shallow-fried fish and salt to taste. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on a medium flame.
Step 10: Add the remaining 100 ml of coconut milk and 1 teaspoon of lime juice. Garnish with tomato slices and coriander leaves.
Step 11: Remove the dish from the flame before it begins boiling again.
Transfer the fish molee to a serving dish and serve hot with steamed rice.
Tell us about your favourite dishes or recipes at email@example.com