When I think of fish egg (roe), Caviar comes to my mind. Caviar is one of the luxury seafood delicacies and a part of gourmet food. Caviar is made from roe of Salmon, Sturgeon, etc. Roe is fully ripen unfertilized egg of a fish. It looks like red peals. Roe is used in different parts of world as a food item. The caviar of sturgeon roe is the most expensive one. In India, roe of different fishes like Hilsa ( Vatta Kanni in Malayalam vernacular), Salmon, etc. are used in different forms. In Kerala, fish egg is commonly known as Pananjil, Parinjil or meen mutta and it mostly small in size. It is normally fed to small kids for their good health. It is believed that fish egg is enriched with lot of vitamins and gives to nursing and pregnant women as a nutrient food.
In Kerala, roe of different variety fishes are used like sardine, mackerel, seer fish, tuna, etc. Variety of preparations are followed as well. Commonly found preparations include Roe omelet, roe deep fried (pananjil varuthathu), Pananjil curry,roe sautéed, etc. I prepared it with coconut and named it – fish egg roast. I got a roe of seer fish and i thought of making it like a usual meen peerayittathu.
- Roe/fish egg – 1 (about 300 gms)
- Red chilly powder – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
Wash and boil fish egg in a pan or earthenware with all the ingredients and a half cup of water until it is slightly firm. When it starts firming, its membrane start breaking and sometimes the inner portion inside the sack start popping out. Remove it from the pan without its juice and cut it into required size. Let it cool before making pieces. When it is cooled, remove its membrane and cut into pieces.
- Coconut scraped – 1/2 cup
- Ginger – 2” piece, crushed and chopped
- Green Chilly – 6-8, split and halved
- Curry leaves – few
- Kashmiri chilly powder – 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder –1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Kokum – 3-4 pieces (kodumpilhi)
Put all the ingredients (given in 2) to the left over juice (remained in pan after cooking the roe) with half cup of water, cover and cook and bring it to boil. When it is boiled, adjust the salt and chilly.
Now you can add the cut roe pieces. Cover and cook, stir in between without getting the pieces crumbled or broken. When all the pieces are covered with coconut masala, remove the cover and let it get dry in simmer.
Now it is ready to use. Serve it hot with rice or roti.