Wash and pat the fish dry with a clean cloth or kitchen paper. Marinate the fish half a tsp each of salt and turmeric, and a tsp of ginger-garlic paste. Allow the fish to marinate in the fridge while you prepare the ground masala.
Grind all the ingredients listed under the 'For the Ground Masala’ section into a fine paste. Begin by only adding a quarter cup of water to the ingredients to help them grind down. If needed add more, a table spoon at a time.
Here’s the consistency that you are looking for in the final masala.
Heat a tbs of coconut oil in a deep bottomed pan; when hot add the crushed garlic and sauté until slightly golden.
Next add the finely chopped onion and sauté until brown. This is how brown you want it to get.
Add the ground masala to the roasted onion and continue to sauté on a low flame for 10 mins, until it cooks through and begins to leave the sides of the pan1. We want to make sure that the raw onion, ginger and garlic in the ground masala cook through!
Here's what it should look like once cooked through!
Add about 3 cups2 of water to the roasted masala and stir well until it forms as mooth gravy. Place the slices of fish into the gravy, turn the heat down to minimum and cover with a lid.
Allow the fish to simmer3 for about 6-7 mins or until cooked through.
About 6 mins in, add the pieces of kokum to the gravy and cover again. Let it simmer for another 4 – 5 mins. Check for seasoning at this point and adjust the salt if necessary. Turn the heat off.
Heat a tbs of coconut oil in a tadka pan; when hot add the curry leaves and allow them to crisp. Pout this into the fish curry and then immediately cover with the lid once again.
Let it rest for at least 10 mins so that the aroma of the curry leaves seeps into the gravy!