Fish Molly is a Kerala style fish curry where the fish is cooked in thick coconut milk. The fish that’s used mostly for this is Kingfish. But I think you could even use salmon.
This is my mother’s recipe and everyone who’s ever had it, totally loves it. To start off with my husband. He is a fish-lover. But only fish fry. No curries. Neither does he like my side, the Alleppey-Kottayam style meen vevichathu (Red fish curry) or his Thrissur style Thengapaal-ittu Meen with pacha manga (Fish curry in coconut milk and raw mangoes). But surprisingly and to my good luck and happiness, he loves Fish Molly. When we go to buy fish, and I pick up kingfish, his face immediately lightens up and asks me… “is this for fish molly?” 🙂
Even my mother-in-law likes the fish molly I make because like I said she’s from the thrissur side of Kerala, and though she knows the basic ingredients that go into it’s making, she never makes it (I’d like to think maybe it’s b’cos she can’t make it this good :-P)
Since I didn’t know how to cook when my marriage was fixed (and even after that), I was always scared that after the wedding, my mother in law or some other in law would ask me to cook. So, after the engagement, I took a book and jotted down a few of amma’s recipes, of dishes that I liked, was sure everyone else would like and of course that was easy. ( I still carry the book everywhere I go :-). And this book records her Fish Molly too.
- Kingfish – 500 grams (about 5-6 slices)
- Onion – 3 medium, thinly sliced
- Ginger & Garlic – 1 tablespoon
- Green chilli – 3 – 4 nos.
- Small onions/shallots – 5-6
- Tomato – 1/2
- Cardamom – 3
- Cloves – 3
- Cinnamon – 1 medium stick
- Thin Coconut milk – 2 cups
- Thick Coconut milk – 1 cup
- Maida (all-purpose Flour) – 2 teaspoon (you can even use conrnflour)
- Curry leaves
To Prepare the Marinade for the Fish
- Ginger & garlic paste – 1 teaspoon (fresh is best)
- Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Ordinary Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon (If you don’t have, then increase Kashmiri chilli)
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
- Pepper Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Garam Masala – a pinch
- Lemon juice – 2 teaspoons
- Salt, to taste
- Water, as needed (about 1-2 tablespoons)
Marinate the fish pieces for 30 minutes so that the fish absorbs all the flavours of the masala. Do remember that you can adjust the spices to suit your taste. Also, the fish marinade should not be watery, else it will not coat the fish. About 2 tablespoons of water should be good to make a thick paste.
Heat a little oil in a pan and shallow fry the marinated fish on high flame for less than a minute, on both sides (be careful not to burn the masala). This method is known as searing/pan searing, done to seal in all the juices of the masala. It creates a rich color, and a well-browned crust, that improves the appearance of the food.
Then, reduce the flame and fry on both sides for about 2-3 minutes, to cook the fish. Drain the fish onto paper towels.
Heat oil in another pan (I use the same oil that I fried the fish in), splutter cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
Add the sliced onions, ginger-garlic paste, and green chillies. Saute well for about 2-3 minutes. To this add the small onions, chopped tomatoes and curry leaves. Saute.
Add turmeric powder (gives color) and chilli powder.
Once the onions become translucent, add thin coconut milk. And then add the fried fish pieces and salt (try not to break the fish, but if it does…that’s OK). Allow the coconut milk to come to a boil and let the fish cook completely.
Reduce flame and add the thick coconut milk. For a thicker gravy, mix 2 teaspoons of maida (all-purpose flour) to 1/4 glass of warm water and add this to the fish molly.