Fish Curry (Mashyache Hooman)
Hooman is an inseparable part of Saraswat cuisine. It is a fish curry made in fresh coconut paste and it doesn't make use of oil (oil free and healthy fish curry). Tirpala / teppal (also called Sichuan pepper) is a rare spice that is commonly used in Saraswat cuisines.
This spice is mostly found in Kokan region of Maharashtra, Goa and I suppose also in northern parts of Karnataka.
Addition of tirphala gives a distinct taste and aroma to the fish curry. Tirphala is also used in some vegetarian dishes but is more common in non vegetarian dishes.
During monsoon you get fresh tirphalas which are dark green in color. They are dried after which they split and turn brown in colour. The black seeds inside are discarded and not used in cooking.
5 - 6 fillets of any fish (mackarel, surmai, pompfret) (I used yellowtail as I don't get these fishes in South Africa)
8-9 green chillies
1 1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 inch ginger
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 amsula (kokum)
1 small piece of tamarind
salt as per taste
5 cups water
1) Wash the fish fillets and keep them aside.
2) In a grinder grind the green chillies, grated coconut, ginger, tamarind, red chili powder and turmeric together.
3) On a medium flame, when the skillet is hot add water and then add the ground paste.
4) Let it simmer for 2- 3 minutes and then add the tirphala / teppal and salt.
5) Now add the fish fillets and cover it with lid and let the fish cook.
6) When the fish is cooked just a few minutes before you remove add amsule or Kokum to the curry and cook for about 2 minutes.
7) Remove from heat and serve hot with chapati or any other indian bread or simply with steamed plain rice.
1) Tirphalas or Teppal are not to be eaten, they shoud be removed while eating the curry.
2) Do not ground the tirphalas or teppal in the coconut paste or even otherwise as it give a strong distinctive taste.