Spicy Marthandam Fish Curry

Posted On May 19, 2008

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Fish is almost the staple diet here in Marthandam. This used to be a fishing village at the southern most part of India, belonging to the Kanyakumari district. Remember tsunami?!

It’s a booming town now, with the residents emigrating to all parts of the world from Ernakulam to Europe! However, in spite of all the cuisines that one gets to taste, sea food will always remain a delicacy, more because it reminds us of home and our mothers than its absolutely mouth-watering taste.

No lunch at Marthandam is complete without the spicy fish curry! So here’s a simple recipe, Marthandam style…


1/2 kg fish (cleaned, washed and cut in to 2-3 inch length pieces)
1/2 cup grated coconut, grind with water till smooth
half an unripe mango, cut lengthwise into moderately thin slivers
one drumstick (the vegetable, please!) cut in to thumb-size pieces
one ripe tomato, cut length wise into thin slivers
1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp fenugreek powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
one small piece of really dark tamarind, dissolved in 2-3 tbsp of water (remove the stuff that doesn’t dissolve)
curry leaves and coriander leaves (a handful, chopped)
2-3tbsp coconut oil
salt to taste


Get yourself a well-burnt mud pot that’s especially used for cooking fish. If you can’t get your hands on one, a wok will do just fine. People from Marthandam will tell you, though, that cooking fish in a mud pot makes it all the more delicious. Don’t know what’s the science behind that, but I absolutely agree!

Throw in the coconut, the mango pieces, the drumstick pieces, the tomato, and all the powders. Pour in the tamarind water. Add salt and allow to simmer.

When the gravy is beginning to simmer, add water according to the quantity you want (2-3cups water, in this case) and add the fish pieces. Allow it to boil for 20 minutes or so. Make sure you do not cover the pot with a lid.

After 20 minutes, pick up a piece of fish and see if it has taken on the colour of the gravy. If it has, it’s good to go. Now sprinkle the curry leaves and the coriander leaves. Check if the salt is sufficient. If not, now would be a good time to add some. If you have added salt, give it 2 more minutes,

Finally, pour the coconut oil in a circular direction all over the gravy, switch off the stove and close the pot with a lid. The coconut oil will hold in all the spices and give the fish curry a divine smell and taste!

This curry tastes great with rice!


The Lake House

I saw the movie The Lake House. Those who do not like a good, soppy, sobby, predictable romance…. stop reading. You might give your self a hemorrhage! Those who love the stuff just described, join the club!

Why am I like this ?I love soppy romances. As soon as I see the font of the Movie Title, the name of the lead characters and listen to the opening music, I can more or less predict that it is going to be a romance movie. Then, fifteen minutes into the movie, I can usually predict what’s going to happen, how exactly the hero and the heroine are going to cross paths, and whether they are going to get along. Then, even worse, one hour in to the movie, I can usually predict how it is all going to end. The last one, I bet, is a no-brainer, because the ending of a romantic movie is always happy, right?! If it is sad, then they probably have another name for it in Hollywood! So, why do I actually sit through the whole movie, why don’t I just go on to the news? That’s totally unpredictable and shocking..or is it?!

Anyway, The Lake House was no different. I mean, it was predictable as ever. Also, I am no fan of Sandra Bullock. However, she stumped me in The Lake House. For starters, she was a doctor; then she drove safe and she spoke slowly. Moreover, she had the habit of writing letters. Even in 2006, who ever wrote letters??

Keanu Reeves I have always loved. He is the strong silent type in all his movies. You can call it a stereotype, but I call it consistency, and I like it.

So here’s Keanu Reeves in 2004 and Sandra Bullock in 2006. They supposedly write each other letters and pop it into the mail box at the lake house where they both used to live. And then they finally meet up when Sandra Bullock manages to stop Keanu from meeting with an accident that happened two years ago and then, they finally manage to meet in the present. When the movie begins, actually, Keanu Reeves dies in the first ten minutes, even before the audience gets to know about him properly. I know!

Yet, I watched it. And cried during the end of the movie.

Why..why am I like this?

Why are we such suckers for romances and happy endings?

The same reason why we laugh at comedies and why we watch movies in general. Because it is not happening to us.

This kind of whirlwind romance, this crazy, unpredictable and absolutely swept-off-the-feet romance, flowers and white weddings does not happen to everyone. Yes, we are happy with what we have, but there is always the fantasy, the dream, the wish. And all these people who seem to be normal folks like us are getting it all. So instead of feeling envious about them, we pay money to be part of their lives for a few hours. What if the characters of The Lake House started living in real life. Would they last forever? I mean, she is a doctor who works long hours and has to run away from the hospital every time one of her patients dies. She cannot handle the stress of her work. He has a history of disappearing from a situation, too. And then there was the plan for a law firm he made with his brother that he backed out of. How many plans will he make with the girl and then back out of? Will they even manage to get married?

Who is going to pay for the renovation of the Lake House? Does the guy have a job? He did quit the previous one, right?

See what I mean? This is real life.

Still, when you watch that movie, you decide to forget all that, forget even the issues in your own life and then allow your self to believe the happiness, the bliss that these people offer you. That, in literature, is called ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. Like when you allow your self to believe your husband when he says that he will remember your daughter’s recital. Like when you allow yourself to believe your friend when he says he will return the loan in a week. Like when you allow your self to believe the claims of that fairness cream.

You know, happiness is what we make of it. Too much thinking about something destroys the thing itself. Try thinking about your ability to read, and you will suddenly forget how to read! Seriously, try it! Think about how you breathe and you will feel your lungs closing up on you!

I am almost done with this post and at the end of this, I just figured out that just as we should never take anything for granted, so also we should never take anything too seriously. Take success, failure, love, achievement, kids, your husband, your sense of humour and yourself as they come, and you will find that things are less complicated.

I think for now, I will look out for the next soppy romance. I’ll watch The Wedding Singer…again..for the 100th time! And..cry at the ending…!

Thou Shalt Blog

It is truly despicable that a blogger should ignore her blog for a period of two months and finally come back with a cheeky post about how ‘thou shalt blog’! But it’s happening and I am the blogger in question.

And suddenly there was work. I think it’s a good thing that I am suddenly in demand for a whole batch of technical writing tasks. My work is sought after, and I get paid for it. (am i making it sound like a great adventure, here?! It really isn’t. It’s just work that I am supposed to get done.)

But that left me with absolutely no quality time with my blog. I just stuck to plain technical writing. I do have a sense of achievement that I have finished one training manual, written an advertisement and a promotional letter to school principals, have written a post for the company blog and an article to be featured in a popular search engine news section. Still, I feel guilty that I forgot my AdLibitum, green layout and all. (The layout has been changed since then – my update on January, 2009). Sitemeter traffic is truly humbling. I plead guilty but acquit me in the name of all things creative and verbose.

Will try to do more justice from now on!

This was a really lame effort, but I’m saying this was atleast an effort, so …

Next post, and all that…tomorrow.