Meen Asaadhu is a recipe which my mother had copied from her grandmother’s book but she never prepared. I was always curious about it and tried it only when I was able to get skinless and boneless fish cubes (when I moved near the sea 10 years ago). My great-grandmother had recommended either pomfret or barracuda, but you can use other any other marine fish which could be prepared into cubes. I prefer to use black pomfret.
Shark is a very strong-smelling fish and is therefore used primarily to make pittu and cutlets. In my family we use it only to make pittu, and we never make kuzhambu (gravy) using it. My mother preferred to use a small variety of shark known as pal sura, but it is not available round the year, and therefore I use the more regularly available larger variety. The pittu recipe I have used comes from my great-grandmother and is very different from the sura pittu prepared in Chennai.
There are several Western or Chinese recipes where fish is fried dipped in batters which use milk or egg. In Tamil Nadu the batter that is used for the preparation of Bhajjis (vegetable slices dipped and fried in batter) is used to fry fish also. Bhajji batter is made chiefly of Bengal Gram flour, and the result is a wonderfully crisp coating with soft fish inside.
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.