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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maasi Kuzhambu (Maldives Dry Fish Curry)

This is one curry that transports me to my childhood vacations in my mooma's (maternal Grandmother) house. It was to my eyes at that time of life at the end of the world. We had to walk around two km from the bus stop to reach the bungalow. But those times were some of the happiest times of my life.

Maasi Kuzhambu with Idiyappam..mmm delicious.
Maasi is preserved Tuna fish. It is mainly produced in Maldives. The red meat tuna is boiled whole in fish stock, then the flesh is taken apart in large chunks and smoke dried. This results in a horn shaped piece looking like half burnt piece of log.So the whole piece is called kombu (meaning horn in tamil). Good quality Maasi costs around 700 to 900 rs per Kg, so dont be temped by a cheap deal, because that may be a duplicate made from white meat fish. You will know the difference only when you grind it for use.

When split into flakes, the inside is red in colour and there is no strong smell. I usually bring powdered maasi from India. In Middle East, you can find it in stores selling Srilankan speciality foods.

Some people toast maasi before using it thinking it is like kariwaadu (salted dried fish). But that is not necessary as it is already cooked. Anyway, coming to the recipe:

Maasi Powder - 3 tbsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Pepper jeera Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Cocnut milk powder - 4 tbsp heaped.
Salt to taste
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sombu (sonf) - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 nos finely chopped.
Oil - 2 tbsp

Heat oil in a kadai or pan, add sombu & jeera, then add curry leaves. Add finely chopped onion and fry till golden. Add salt and maasi powder. stir a little and then add chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, pepper jeera powder and turmeric powder. Add water and let it boil a while. Dissolve coconut milk powder in warm water and add to the boiling curry. let it boil a few more mins and the curry is ready.

This is served mainly with idiyappam. It also goes well with aappam and my husband even likes it with plain rice and pappadom.

Maasi is an unusual item not known by many fish eating people even. Even in TVM, many of our friends did not know what it was. It is a great alternative to karuwaadu as it is not as smelly. It dosen't contain excessive salt like karuwaadu.

In my moomas place maasi kuzhambu and idiyappam was the standard menu for unexpected guests, with maybe eggs on the side from the hens roaming around the Coconut grove.

I am sending this to Learning to Cook : Dish Name Starts with M and Spotlight - Curries/Gravies guest hosted by Chandrani for Indrani's Event


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  2. May God shower His blessings upon everyone...... this is simple yet great tasting recipe....ur story reminded me my childhood mom cooks the same way but she adds maasi at the end....


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