Monday, September 8, 2014

Mathi Achar

Mathi Achar. Kerala Sardine Fish Achar or Kerala Sardine Fish Pickle. Says it all. Me and my love for fish achar (Nyonya Acar Fish) or even salted fish pickle (Pada Salt Fish Pickle & Salted Fish Pickle). And so, you think I would have had major kitchen struggle in making Mathi Achar? I don't think so because I have to some extent, mastered my cooking skills towards Kerala cuisine (Nadan Meen Curry, Fish Puttu, Tuna Thoran & Malabar Fish Curry & Kerala Fish Fry). Of course, I must admit I did refer to a couple of recipes, but at the end of it all, I decided I will stay true to my own Mathi Achar cooking invention and fish by themselves, do I have to repeat myself again and again (Fish Ball Noodle Soup, Malu Kirata/Sri Lankan Fish Coconut Stew, Indonesian Fish Balado, Mauritian Fish Curry & Ikan Masak Kicap)? Moreover, sardines are not only a popularity in Kerala, but here in Malaysia too. So, sardines they were. Masala enhanced fried sardines tipped into a spicy and full of utmost power packed vinaigrette. Oh-My! What a fish pleasure. Made ahead and having Mathi Achar as you wish whenever you yearn for, for your rice meals (Sardine Masak Lemak).

For fish
10 sardine fish - clean and cut into two u
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp plain chilli powder
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper 
1/2 cup oil
Salt for taste
** Mix these ingredients together (except oil) and set aside for at least 1/2 hour

For gravy/vinaigrette 
1 inch ginger - slice thinly
10 pips garlic - remove skin and cut into two
10 small shallots - remove skin
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp plain chilli powder (or as needed)
(Note: mix turmeric powder and chilli powder with some water for a paste)
3 to 4 dried red chillies - cut into pieces
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
A pinch of asafetida powder
Vinegar - 1/2 cup
1 cup hot water
Sugar as needed 
4 sprigs curry leaves
Salt for taste
In heated oil, fry curry leaves till crispy-crunchy, remove and keep aside.
In the same oil, nicely fry the fish, remove and keep aside.
Leave about 4 tbsp of oil in the same wok/pan.
Fry mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried chillies, ginger, garlic and shallots for just a minute or two. 
Add chilli powder and turmeric powder paste. 
Fry till aromatic, pour vinegar and water. 
Season with sugar and salt. 
Simmer till gravy is heated through.
Add fish and asafetida powder, stir to combine and off the heat.
Add fried curry leaves, stir, cover with a lid and let it sit for an hour. 
Then, achar is ready to be served or bottle up and keep in the fridge. 

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