Kerala, a state known for its rich and diverse cuisine, is home to one of the most beloved dishes in India – fish curry. However, this classic dish has been the subject of much debate among food lovers in the state – the great Kerala fish curry debate: to masala or not to masala. On one hand, some swear by the traditional version of the dish, which is made with a blend of freshly ground spices and coconut milk, while on the other hand, some prefer a more modern take on the dish, using masala paste as a base for the curry. This essay will explore both sides of the great Kerala fish curry debate.
The land of coconuts and backwaters has a rich culinary heritage passed down from generation to generation. One dish that has become synonymous with this southern state of India is fish curry. However, whether or not to add masala to the curry has been a heated debate for decades.
On one hand, we have the “Masalists,” who believe that adding a spoonful of masala to a dish is equivalent to adding a pinch of excitement to a dull existence. The traditional fish curry, made with a blend of freshly ground spices, is known for its complex and layered flavour profile. The spices used in the curry, such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and cumin, are carefully selected and blended to create a unique flavour unmatched by any other dish. Adding freshly grated coconut to make the curry base gives the dish a rich and creamy texture.
On the other hand, we have the “Purists,” who believe that adding masala to a dish is equivalent to polluting a clear lake. They argue that the fish’s natural flavour should be the dish’s only star and that any addition of spices is just a cover-up for the fish’s lack of freshness and quality. Some prefer a more modern take on the dish, using masala paste as a base for the curry. This version of the dish is known for its ease of preparation, as the masala paste can be easily purchased at a local store or made at home using a pre-packaged mix. Masala paste also reduces the time and effort required to prepare the dish, making it a convenient option for busy individuals.
Despite the heated arguments, both sides can agree that fish curry is a staple of Kerala cuisine. Whether made with masala or not, it’s always a delicious and comforting dish. But, unfortunately, the two sides have been at each other’s throats for years. The debate has even reached the point where families have been torn apart.
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But, as with all great debates, there is always a third option: the indifferent. Those who couldn’t care less whether there’s masala in their curry or not. They simply enjoy the dish for what it is. While both versions of the dish have their own unique characteristics, the great Kerala fish curry debate ultimately comes down to personal preference. And that’s okay.
Some people prefer the complexity and depth of flavour offered by the traditional version of the dish. In contrast, others prefer the convenience and ease of preparation provided by the masala paste version.
So, whether you’re a Masalist or a Purist, remember this: at the end of the day, fish curry is a dish that brings people together. So let’s put down our spatulas and raise a bowl of curry in peace. To masala or not to masala, that is the question. And the answer, as always, is up to you!