Home style Andhra fish curry

This home style fish curry (Macchi ka saalan) is a recipe from my grandma, which is very easy and simple to prepare. We call it macchi ka mittah salan, when no tamarind or any sour ingredient is added. I have cooked this fish curry so many times but could not match the taste of my grandma’s fish curry. Macchi ka saalan (fish curry) goes well with plain rice or Raagi mudde (also called raagi sankati or raagi ball or raagi sankati in Telugu. It is a staple food in some parts of karnataka and Andhra and very famous in Rayalaseema area (Andhra), which is made of rice and finger millet flour.

My grandma travelled many places but within Andhra like Visakhapatnam (Vizag), Bobbili and many more places, but settled in Anantapur. In Visakhapatnam, I used to taste fresh sea fishes and now fresh river fish and lake. The fishes, which I have seen are snake head fish called as Murral, Bocha and Cutla (Carp fish) and many more from the fresh river water or lake . My grandfather always prefers fresh fish - not frozen, not from the refrigerator as well. They have to be fresh from the market. I used to see my grandfather, how he used to go to market and select the fresh live fish in the market.

This fish curry is made from onion and tomato mixture with spices. Tamarind is not used in this curry. In this fish curry (macchi ka saalan) my grandma used to add all the ingredients, spices, fish pieces and cook together with big and thick chunks of fish. I have used thinner and medium sized pieces. I have cooked the curry first and then added the fish pieces. Everyone has their own family recipe and method of cooking varies. For this curry use fish like Sea Bass (Koduva in Tamil), pomfret, Lady Fish (Kilanga in Tamil) or fish like Catla (Carp) and Rohu.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Cuisine: Andhra, India (home style)

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • Fish (rohu) – 600 gms
  • For paste

  • Onions – 2 or 200 gms
  • Tomatoes – 2 or 200 gms
  • Garlic cloves – 2
  • Water - 1/3 cup
  • For gravy

  • Oil – 5 tbsp
  • Tomato (chopped) - 1 or 100 gms
  • Garlic cloves – 3
  • Curry leaves – 15 to 20
  • Chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 2 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Green chillies (slit) – 5
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Coriander leaves (roughly chopped) – 1/4 cup or handful

Method

  • The fish is sliced into medium size pieces. I have added fish head also.
  • Roughly chop the onions and tomatoes. Add all the ingredients in a mixer, grind them to a smooth paste with water.
  • Take a wide vessel and add all the ingredients - the ground paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, curry leaves, oil, green chillies, salt, garlic cloves (no need to chop) and tomato pieces. Add water and mix well. Cook for about 8 mins with the lid closed until the oil starts to separate from the curry.
  • Add the fish pieces and cook for about 3 mins on a high flame.
  • Do not mix the fish pieces with a spoon; just rotate the vessel clock wise direction slowly.
  • Add coriander leaves and cook the fish for about 15 mins with the lid closed until the oil starts to separate from the curry. Switch off.
  • Let the fish rest for about 5 mins and then serve.
  • Serve the fish curry with hot plain rice or raagi mudde.

Notes

  • Use nice plum, juicy, red tomatoes. It will give a good taste and colour to the fish curry.
  • If you want, you can add all the ingredients together and cook the curry and fish.
  • If the curry is too thick, you can add water as per the consistency required.
  • If you want, you can discard the garlic cloves or simply mix it with the rice and enjoy.

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