Meen Peera – Shredded Fish with Grated Coconut and Spices

Meen Peera - Shredded fish with grated coconut and spices
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A bowl of  rice,  some   fish, and  a  coconut  – there  are  some  people  in the planet   who  would  call it  heaven 🙂 There are a number of  dishes  that  combine  fish and  coconut in the  coastal regions of  India. Of  all these   this  must be one of  the  simplest – Meen Peera.  The  flavors  are  incredibly fresh in  this dish   from  Kerala. Meen  means fish and Peera  means  shredded/ grated  coconut.  Traditionally the  fresh  caught fish is cooked  with  freshly grated  coconut  and  a few  spices.  There are  no elaborate  sauces, or  deep  frying , just  s  few  fresh ingredients  steam  together for  tongue  tickling  experience.

Meen Peera - Shredded fish with grated coconut and spicesMom used  to  make  these with small fish  like  anchovies  or  sometimes  sardines.  But  this dish tastes  equally good when  prepared  with   any flaky  white   fish – tilapia, cat fish ,  cod etc.   Pieces of  fish, no larger  than 2  inches  are  mixed  with  grated  coconut ,  fresh  spices  and  cooked  covered. All the  ingredients  steam together and in  15 to 20 minutes  the  dish is  ready.

Isn’t that simple? When  made with  fresh ingredients – the  day’s catch, fresh grated  coconut,  curry leaves from the  backyard –  this is  just of  this world.

Cooking the Fish with spices for Meen Peera

Onions , ginger,  garlic  and  chilies  are  sliced  into small pieces or  crushed  with  a mortar  and  pestle  and  added to the  pan  along  with  curry leaves  to make the   base layer.  The  onions  of  choice  were pearl onions , but  when not  available use  regular red onions  or shallots.  Slice  the   fish fillets into  about 1/2 ”  thick  pieces  and  add  to the  pot. This  is  the  middle  layer.

Layer  half of the grated coconut  on top   and  add  the  turmeric  and  salt . Give it a  gentle mix  and pour the  kokum  with the  soaking  water on top.  Kokum is  the   acidic  component  for  most  of  the  fish  dishes of  southern parts of  Kerala, but    you can  use   regular  tamarind  or  none  at all   at  this  point .  If  not  using   any tamarind ,  round  out  the taste  by adding a  dash of  lemon juice  in the  end.

Cover  and  steam over medium to medium low  heat  for  10  to  15 minutes  until the  fish is  cooked  and  flakes  when  pressed  with a  fork.  Taste ,  add  the  remaining  coconut , stir  everything  together  and   taste  and  adjust  and salt. Cook for a  minute  and drizzle  a  little  coconut oil on top  and  take off  the  heat.  Cover  and  let  it  rest  for 10  minutes  before  serving.

Here is  the  whole  process in  pictures ..

Meen Peera - Shredded fish with grated coconut and spices

It  is a  simple  dish  that is flavorful  and  more  importantly  requires  very little  cleanup !     This   dish  comes  together  in  under  30 minutes.  A  few  other  ways  to  dress up this  dish is  to add diced  bell peppers or  peas  or  cherry tomatoes . Serve  with  a   bowl of  rice   and  dinner is  done !

Meen Peera
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Tiny  fish or   diced  fillets  are   cooked  with   fresh spices.  It is  flaked  and  mixed with grated  coconut  to make a  quick meal.  

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Fish (500g) See Notes
  • 2 C Grated Coconut
  • 1 C Onions Diced
  • 1 Tsp Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Green Chilies To Taste
  • Few Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt To Taste
  • 1 Kokum See Notes
  • 1 C Water
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Instructions
  1. Wash and soak the kokum in 1 C of water .
  2. Cut the fish into small pieces no larger than 1 " cubes.
  3. Chop the onions. If you like the dish to be spicy slice the chilies as well.
  4. In a thick bottomed pan place the sliced onions ginger , garlic , curry leaves and green chilies. Place the fish on top . Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt and turmeric on top. Add half the grated coconut and mix everything together.
  5. Tear the Kokum into small pieces and add to the pan along with the water. Mix again and bring everything together in a heap towards the center of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you notice steam coming out of the lid, reduce the heat so everything can steam and cook in its own juices.
  6. Take the lid off and check to see if the fish is cooked. Once cooked remove the lid and allow most of the remaining juices to cook out - 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining coconut mix and adjust salt. Cover and cook for a minute.
  7. Uncover and drizzle the coconut oil on top. Remove from the heat, cover and let it rest and mellow for a few minutes . Serve warm .
Recipe Notes
  • Traditionally  small fish like  anchovies  are  used  in this  dish.  But any  white  fish  fillets  or  even  canned  tuna  will work  great  in this   recipe.
  • If Kokum is not available use soak 1/2" piece of dried tamarind or use about 1 tsp tamarind paste

There is  no need  to  add  the   coconut   oil, but  it  definitely  enhances  the fresh  coconut  flavors.

These are  usually served  with rice.  Add a  side dish of  vegetables  and   well there  you have a  perfectly balanced  meal.  I am  perfectly happy to serve  these  with a  slice  of  bread  or  rotis  as  well.

 

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Meen Peera - Shredded fish with grated coconut and spices
 


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