Paravai Muniyamma is known for her village recipes from southern Tamilnadu even though she is a famous singer. She hosts a Sunday afternoon show in which she quickly whips up snacks, vegetarian and non-veggie dishes. What I like the most out of her’s is the ingredients that go into the dish. You can imagine the aroma that would rise when the dish is cooking. She grinds the pastes required in a stone grinder and cooks in earthernware which would definitely add the distinctness for any dish.
Also at the end she would sing a nice folk song about the dish and about the person she would invite to taste it. Last week she demonstrated Thirukkai meen (Whip tail sting ray fish) kuzhambu. Amma had made this umpteem number of times during my pregnancy and lactation days but she cannot wait to make it again in Muniamma’s way.
And what to say, we had a treat
And I am giving the recipe below. No changes to the recipe!
Ingredients needed :
Thirukkai fish (cleaned and cut in to 3 inch squares) - 1/2 KG
Small onions - 20
Garlic pods - 20
Tomato - 1 big chopped
Tamarind - 1 medium sized lemon soaked with 1 teaspoon of salt in 4 glass of water for 15 minutes
Gingelly oil - 4 T spoon
Vadagam - 1 T spoon for taalipu
To be ground to a paste:
Black peppercorn - 3 T spoon
Red chillies - 6
Cumin - 2 T spoon
Coriander seeds - 4 T spoon
A little piece of kombu manjal or 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
First take all the ingredients for the paste and grind it to a smooth paste with little water. Squeeze the soaked tamarind to get all the extract and then filter it in a colander. In the tamarind liquid mix the ground paste and well.
In a thick bottomed vessel heat the gingelly oil and once hot add the vadagam. Let it turn golden brown and add the garlic pods. Saute till they turn golden and add the small onions and saute till they turn pinkish. Add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. Add the tamarind-masala mix now and mix well. Check for salt now and add if required more. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Add the fish pieces and cover the vessel with the lid. Let it cook for another 10 minutes and by this time the oil will get separated. Garnish with coriander leaves. This is a thick gravy like kulumbu and the fragrance it spread the whole house when boiling is extra ordinary. The ingredients and their quantity might sound that this is a fiery kuzhambu but actually not. The coriander seeds and the mixing of the paste in the tamarind liquid actually mellows the pepper’s hot taste.