Pithia Fish Curry

Pithia fish curry
Pithia fish curry

Fish is such an important part of our diet that fishmongers carry their fresh ware and go house to house selling the day’s catch and usually the stock is sold out. Many households buy the freshest of supplies daily. I’m not a daily buyer but we do have fish twice or thrice a week. Today’s curry is a local delicacy, the Golden mahseer/Himalayan or Putitor mahseer. This is a fish found in rapid streams and riverine pools and lakes in the Himalayan region ranging from Iran to Sri Lanka and east to Thailand. It’s a popular gamefish and the largest species can reach up to 9 ft in length and 54 kgs in weight. As far as I remember this is a fish that tastes good during the winter months.
6 fish pieces
2 onions, roasted on an open flame
4 tbs poppy seeds, toasted till the nutty aroma fills the kitchen
2 tbs freshly-grated coconut
3 cloves of garlic, ground
1 small piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli powder
A quarter tsp turmeric powder + extra to rub on the fish pieces
Salt to taste as well as to rub on the fish
Mustard oil as needed
Chopped herbs for the garnish

Pithia fish pices, rubbed with turmeric & salt and lightly fried

Remove ends of the onions, peel, wash and chop them. Blend till smooth.
Blitz the poppy seeds and keep aside. 
Rub the fish pieces with a touch of salt and turmeric.
Heat some mustard oil in  a pan. When it comes to smoking point, add the fish pieces. This can be done in two batches or else the oil will cool down and the fish will stick to the pan.
Fry lightly on both sides till they are golden. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
In the same oil (check to see if another tbs of oil might be needed) add the onion.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook till the onions turn paler in colour. 
Then add the rest of the spices along with the coconut and cook till the oil separates.
Season with salt. Pour some hot water in the curry. The quantity will depend on the amount of gravy you like.
Let the gravy come to a boil. Check the seasoning and make adjustments, if needed.
Gently put in the shallow-fried fish pieces.
Cook for another 4-5 minutes or till the fish is soft and the curry looks ‘done’.
Remove from the flame and transfer to a serving dish. Scatter the chopped herbs on top.
This goes best with rice with. Maybe with another accompaniment. Some vegetables would be nice!:)

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