Preparation time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 12 to 14
1 kg of Fish, cut into small-sized cubes
5 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp regular red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of black pepper powder
½ tsp of fenugreek powder
1 ½ cups white vinegar
100 gms garlic, sliced
100 gms ginger, chopped
10 green chillies, chopped
2 tbsp skinless, split mustard seeds
1 tsp mustard seed
1 ½ tsp asafoetida
1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
Sesame oil or Gingelly oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (equal measures)
Clean the fish thoroughly and cut it into cubes. Bones, if any, need not be removed.
Pat and keep aside in a strainer till the water dries out.
In a bowl mix 2 tablespoons of Kashmiri chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of pepper powder, ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, salt and 50 ml of white vinegar* together and make it into a thick paste.
(Adding ginger-garlic paste at this point is optional.)
Marinate the fish pieces with the above paste and keep it aside for 30 minutes at least. (Longer it rests, the better.)
In the meantime, boil 1 ½ cups of white vinegar in a pan and keep aside.
Heat sesame oil in a deep and wide pan. When the oil is hot lower the flame and drop a few curry leaves* in. Deep fry the marinated fish pieces on medium flame till it becomes crispy on all sides. Avoid burning. Remove the fish and keep it aside on a paper towel to dry.
Heat ½ cup of sesame oil in a pan. Splutter the mustard seeds. Then add the split mustard seeds and sauté for a few seconds. Add the sliced garlic and chopped ginger, and sauté till the raw smell dissipates.
Add the chopped green chilli and sauté for a few mins over a medium flame.
Lower the flame to low and then add fenugreek powder and sauté for a few seconds. Then add 3 tablespoons of Kashmiri chilli powder, and 2 tablespoons of normal red chilli powder. Sauté for a few seconds. Make sure not to burn the spices.
Switch off the flame and add the boiled vinegar, salt for taste and asafoetida. Stir gently for a minute.
Finally, add the fried fish pieces. Combine well to coat the fish pieces with the gravy.
Meen Achar is ready. After cooling, transfer it to a sterilised glass jar. Let the fish pickle rest for about two days, outside, for the flavours to fuse together. Thereafter keep it in the fridge for longer use.
- If you require gravy, then add a bit of water along with vinegar while making the masala paste
- Curry leaves help to avoid the fish pieces sticking to the bottom of the pan while frying.
Recipe courtesy: Sobha Varghese is a homemaker based in Mumbai, India. Sobha runs a popular YouTube blog called ‘Sobha's Kitchenette’ that focuses on authentic and traditional Kerala recipes.
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