Meen Varuthathu is a Malayalam term for fish fry. Fish in Kerala is called as Meen and it’s curry, Meen Moilee! Kerala cuisine has a variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes, where generally coconut forms the base of cooking due to the abundance of coconut trees in that region.
Similarly with the abundance of fish, many such dishes such as fish fry and curries too are very famous. One more important ingredient used in their cooking is curry leaves, which imparts a delicious flavour to the dish, least not to forget it’s health benefits!
In Kerala, for fish fry, a special masala is used, either by using a mix of readymade spice powders and ginger garlic paste or a freshly ground spice paste which imparts a unique flavour to the dish! Just like in other regions, here too you might find different recipes for the same fish fry! In this recipe, I have used pomfret fillets which is called as Avoli in Malayalam language. The fish was totally fresh and it’s taste was enhanced by the fresh ground masala, especially the fennel!
Even the biryani and chicken fry from Kerala is totally different from other places. We had tasted each of these dishes on our visit there, a few years back! And, thus had begun my endeavour to try out these dishes!
For some more fish dishes, take a look at the following recipes too…..
- Bhajille Paaplet
- Crispy Garlic Butter Prawns
- Tisryaa Vade
- Mori Vade
- Bangdyaa Huggae (Dry Savoury Mackerel)
Here’s the recipe for the delicious Meen Varuthathu….
Prep Time : 25 min
Cooking Time : 10 min
- 12 Pomfret Fillets (Avoli/Paaplet)
- As Required Oil for Shallow Frying
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- 2 tbs Rice Flour
For The Marinade :
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil / Vegetable Oil
- 4 Dry Red Chillies …. Deseeded
- 10 large Garlic Cloves
- 1/2″ Ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Tamarind
- Salt to taste
- To make Meen Varuthathu (Avoli/Pomfret Fish Fry), clean and rinse the pomfret well.
- Discard the unwanted parts and cut it into approximately 1 cm thick fillets.
- For the marinade, first heat a small kadhai and add oil to it. Add to it the dry red chillies and roast slightly.
- Grind it together with the garlic cloves, ginger, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, turmeric powder, tamarind and salt to taste using very little water to get a thick paste.
- Add the oil, remaining after roasting the red chillies, as well as the rice flour to the marinade.
- Alternatively, instead of mixing in the rice flour, it can be used for dusting the fish before frying which prevents the spice paste from separating during frying.
- Rub this marinade on both sides of the pomfret fillets. Keep aside to marinate for about half an hour.
- To make the fish fry, heat a griddle and add oil to it. When the oil heats up, add the curry leaves and stir.
- Slowly release each of the marinated pomfret fillets either as they are or after dusting with rice flour, into the hot oil.
- Reduce the flame to medium and fry well, till both sides of the pomfret are well done and crisp.
- Serve this delicious Meen Varuthathu with some Meen Moilee and steamed rice and some salad by the side!
The above marination can be used for Neymeen (Seer Fish/Surmai) too, which I have shown in the picture below. The rest of the procedure is the same as above.