I am a true blue Goan. Can never tire of a Goan fish curry even if I have it number of times in the week. So all it needed was a little persuasion from Chef Sunita Lopez at Zuri White Sands Goa (whee I am currently) and I found myself willingly giving the nod to try their version. The Goa rice and fish curry served was delectable. One of the best I have ever sampled.
The masala paste which formed the base of the curry was unique and that’s what sets it apart. Garlic, turmeric, red chillies, coriander seeds, were definitely the spices used, no different from what I use when I make it, but yet it tasted different. I also add green chillies and ground cumin. All these spices have to be ground to a paste along with coconut. And yes, Kashmiri chillies are a must for their colour.
Kokum is typically the souring agent I use. That is crucial to the taste. Kokum is more commonly used, yet in summer, some people use raw mango or bimli as well. That lends a special flavour to it.
In South Goa one tends to use less of coconut and the chillies are more fiery. This is what gives it the local flavour. North Goans like us, cannot do without their Kashmiri chillies or the long chillies which are less pungent.
The coconuts that grow so abundantly in Goa form a generous and integral part of our food. In the fish curry, one should use it ground to a fine paste. In case you don’t have fresh coconut, substitute it with coconut milk. But that changes the texture of the curry too.
Onions and tomato, cut lengthwise should be sauteed, before the masala (mentioned above) is added.
The fish can be any sea fish but must be firm and robust.
My Recipe :
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 dried red Kashmiri chillies
½ tsp turmeric
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3cm root ginger, peeled and grated
3 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 fresh green chillies, slit lengthwise
400g fish – any sea fish like Rawas, Pomfret
- To make the masala, grind all dry spices, along with coconut in a food processor.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Fry until soft and lightly golden, add tomatoes, then stir in the masala mix. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the aroma of spices pervades your nostrils.
- Add water and bring to boil. Add the chillies and kokum. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the curry has thickened slightly.
- Add fish and cook for a few mins.
This is best eaten the next day as the masala then coats the fish well