Fish Fry can be made with practically any fish. Rather I'd have to say, any type of fish can be fried. There are different variations of spices that are added to marinate it and this differs from region to region and cuisine to cuisine.
Pomfret(Avoli in Malayalam) and Sear Fish (Nei Meen in Malayalam and Vanjaram in Tamil) are undoubtedly the hot favorites, albeit expensive. You do not have to encounter too many bones, the meat is fleshy and it marinates well.
This is what you would find in most of the restaurants that serve fish fry. But, the homes in rural Kerala use smaller varieties of fish on a day to day basis, and when I say day to day basis, I really mean it... They cannot live without fish curry every single day.
I still remember my childhood summer vacations at my grandmothers place. There used to be one or two regular fish vendors, who'd carry the fish in baskets on their head. These day's they come in motor cycles or at least plain cycles. I'll try to get a pic of one of them when I visit Kerala next. They used to make a specific sound, akin to the coo of a bird. You could hear them from far off those days, because the number of houses in our locality were very less.What was the most interesting part for me as a child was that even the pet cats in the house would get ready for the fish vendor the minute they heard their call. As a child, it used to fascinate me to see the open mouthed fish lying in the baskets when the elders in the house would bargain with the fish vendor, their standard line being, "Ah, your fish is so expensive, XX was willing to give it to me at this price". What interested me further was that it was this fish vendor's visit that helped me get closer to the cats at home. I would always insist on buying one or two pieces of fish more than what my grandma bought, simply to feed the cats. Hmm!!!! Nostalgic indeed!
The other varieties of fish that I like as fried are Sardines (Mathi in Malayalam and Tamil), Indian Mackerel (Aila in Malayalam and Tamil, Indian Salmon (Kaala in Malayalam and Tamil) and Anchovy (Nethili in Malayalam and Tamil). I used to struggle with the fish names in any language earlier because I hated buying them here. Buying them in Chennai meant going to the dirty fish markets where you'd have more flies than fish, walking through muddy, dirty slushy water and much more. Now, with various stores like Reliance Delight, Fish and Fresh, Fish Shoppee etc selling fresh fish, buying them has become way easier. I researched on fish names and found this link that gives me names of fish in Malayalam and English.
Well, so much for all the talk on fish names, here is how I made this fish fry.
- Sear Fish - 4 slices
- Red Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
- Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste)
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
- Oil - for deep frying
- Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
- Make a paste of the spice powders and lemon juice. Make sure you do not add too much water as it will become difficult to fry them.
- Marinate for 2 hours.
- Heat oil in a frying pan.
- Place the marinated fish and fry on low with the lid on for 5 minutes.
- Turn over and repeat.
- Remove and drain excess oil and serve.
Haha, I told you... making the fish fry is very very simple. I just needed to write and hence this post. Well, have fun with your fish fry and trust me, nothing tastes better than fish fry with just about any dish in the world.