I am not a fan of the ubiquitous King Fish (Vanjiram), which people usually prefer to serve as large fried slices, whether it be a simple household or a star hotel. I find the disproportionately high price of King Fish also very off-putting. Cobia (Kadal Viraal) is at least 30 percent cheaper than King Fish or Sea Bass (Koduva), and much less smelly.
I always wanted to try something other than coating the fish with chilli powder and found this recipe in Mrs. Bhooma Ponnavaiko’s Asaiva Samayal Ulagam (The World of Non-Vegetarian Cooking). Even though the original recipe is for fish slices, I have used Cobia cubes. I also deleted coriander leaves from the recipe because the flavour of the ground curry leaves would dominate the masala and mask the flavour of coriander thereby making it unnecessary . It was a wise move, because it considerably enhanced the flavour.
- ½ kg Cobia (Kadal Viraal), skinned and deboned cubes
- 1 tsp Salt, or to taste
- Vegetable Oil for shallow frying
For the masala
- 2 green Chillies, deseeded
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Pepper powder
- ½ tsp Cumin powder
- ½ tsp Aniseed powder
- Wash and drain the fish cubes.
- Rub the ground masala and the salt on the cubes.
- Cover the vessel with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. On low heat, fry a few cubes at a time, turning the pieces, now and then, to cook on all sides.
- Remove and serve with any rice preparation.
- If one doesn’t object to the taste, fresh water Pomfret, which is even cheaper than Cobia, can be used.
- Take care to fry only on low heat, so that the masala doesn’t get burnt.