Have ever cooked using a Manchatti / Claypot /Earthen pots? you got try it sometime! Food cooked with traditional claypot has a unique taste, just ordinary simple food can taste extraordinary, your guest or any one who tries it for the first time will definitely notice the difference in taste and you will be head over heels bagging in all the compliments!
They all seems to be of rage these days, i’m no exception… got a few during my last trip to India and use them for traditional kuzhambu preparations, especially meen kuzhambu. They bring in this distinct flavor to the dish and all my non stick dishes are put to shame!
மண்சட்டி மீன் குழம்பு, கிராமத்து மீன் குழம்பு, மீன் குழம்பு, Meen kuzhambu, Traditional Claypot Fish curry, Fish gravy, Fish Kuzhambu, How to cure Claypot, How to season Manchatti, Manchatty, Earthen pots, Clay pots, How to clean clay pots, How to cure manchatti, Stoneware, kalchatti, Fish curry, Indian clay pot, Indian Manchatti Meen kuzhambu, Meen Kulambu, Gramathu Samayal, South Indian Meen Kuzhambu, Tamilian style Meen Kuzhambu, Seafood recipes, Fish recipes, Gravy recipes, Non vegetarian gravy
Special thanks to my friend Preeti Tamilarasan for a great video on how to cure clay pots, that was really helpful!
How to Cure an Indian Clay Pot / Man chatti / Earthen pots
For any Earthen pot / clay pot or Manchatti curing or seasoning is very important before the first use. Curing the pot is no big deal… just follow these steps and you will have a beautiful cured pot in 3 days.
- Thoroughly wash the pot with running water to remove all the impurities.
- Pat dry using a clean paper towel or clean cloth.
- Fill it with regular tap water and leave it soaked for 24 hours or overnight. This tep will get rid off all the raw clay or mud smell. Alternately you may also use rice kanji water / kanji thanni / arisi kalaintha neer to soak.
- The next day discard all the water or rice kanji water and give it thorough rinse in running tap water.
- Again pat dry completely, in and out using a dry cloth.
- Now apply oil (coconut or sesame oil) over the pot. Liberally apply all over the pot to coat even the rim, sides and the inside of the pot.
- Now heat the empty pot over a stove on very low flame for 2 minutes. After the first 2 minutes increase the heat to medium and heat for 5 minutes. Switch off.
- Remove the pot from the stove using a mitt or cloth. Let the pot cool completely.
- Refill it with tap water and let it soak for 24 hours.
- Repeat the procedure starting again from (step 1 to step 9) for next 2 days.
How to clean the Manchatti / Earthen pots / Clay pots
Never ever use soap or any dish detergents to wash the pots. Clay pots are very porous and soap can get into the pot and can infuse your food too. Avoid using them! Always use hot water and a stiff brush to clean the clay pot. For stubborn stains, use rock salt / kallu uppu and scrub with a sponge. Again no soap!
Now getting back to our recipe part. No wonder meen kuzhambu taste so special when cooked in manchattis… finger clicking good, that too the leftover meen kuzhambu fromt he previous day is much more tastier with piping hot idlis or pazhaiya sadam. Recipe shared here is a simple Fish kuzhambu that you can prepare… I’ve already posted a different style here
|Ingredients (for saute and seasoning)|
|King fish / Bass / Anchovies / Tilapia (of your choice)||5 pieces (i’ve have used tilapia fillets)|
|Onion (preferbaly sambar onion/ pearl onions / chinna vengayam)||10 or 1 cup chopped|
|Tomato||1/2 cup chopped|
|Green Chili||1 slit open|
|Garlic||5 cloves (lightly crushed)|
|Cumin seeds||1/2 teaspoon|
|Fenugreek seeds||1/4 teaspoon|
|Curry leaves||5 leaves|
|Oil (preferably sesame oil)||3 tablespoons|
|Ingredients (for gravy base)|
|Turmeric powder||1/2 teaspoon|
|Red Chili powder||1 teaspoon|
|Coriander powder||2 teaspoon|
|Black pepper powder||1/2 teaspoon|
|Salt (preferably kallu uppu)||1 teaspoon (or to taste)|
Wash the fish with some salt and turmeric and set aside. You can use any fish of your choice King fish, Bass (koduva), Neer Sudumbu, Tilapia… anything of your choice. Soak tamarind in water and get the pulp and keep aside
Heat oil in the manchatti, season with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
Add onions, green chili and fry until translucent.
Add chopped tomatoes and let it get mushy.
Now mix all the ingredients from table – 2 along with the tamarind pulp.
Make a thick sauce out of the power and tamarind pulp.
Add this to the onion mixture. Let this come to a rolling boil.
Once you see the gravy slightly thickening, add the fish pieces.
Once you open the gravy will will thickened to the right consistency and oil separating on the top. Switch off. Garnishing with curry leaves will enhance the flavor but optional.. Enjoy with piping hot rice or Pazhaiyathu…
- Serves 3-4 adults approx
- Gravy consistency can be adjusted- add little extra water for a thin conisitency.
- Sambar onion / pearl onion does make a difference in taste than big onions. So try to use small onions for a better flavor.
- Adding a little jaggery (about 1/4 teaspoon) is optional, adjusts the heat with little sweet taste.
- This is just a base gravy- you can add in much more flavor and variety. These are just variation which you can try……1. Adding Kuzhambu thool gives a different flavor, cut down on the above masala powder and add in little kuzhambu thool. 2. Make it coconut flavored meen kushambu by adding little thick coconut milk in the end. 3. Grinding the above onion tomato and then sauteing gives a smooth gravy. 4. A little sombu/ fennel seasoning will highlight any non veg / seafood dish.
- Using Black tamarind / karuppu puli will yield dark brown colored gravy.
- My Mil use to add raw mango to the kuzhambu, which gives nice tangy gravy. But my hubby hates raw mango in sambar or any kuzhambu, hence I skipped it. Typical pondy style fish gravy will include raw mango.