Goan cuisine is a delicious mélange of spicy flavours and depth. Rice, seafood, coconut, vegetables, meat, pork and local spices are the main ingredients of this cuisine. And, due to Goa’s proximity to the coast, fish is an essential part of the daily Goan menu.
Goan Fish Curry is the most popular curry in Goa and is an everyday staple, which is eaten along with rice. Goans absolutely love their fish-curry-rice (called Xitt Codi in Konkani). This curry is a blend of sweet, tangy and spicy and can be part of lunch or dinner.
This simple curry is made by combining a few ingredients and simmering for approx 30 to 45 minutes. It is versatile and can be prepared using fish, meat, prawns or vegetables. Veg options such as okra, raw mango, pumpkin, butternut squash work well, too.
Coconut milk gives the curry depth, while a distinct mild sourness is given by tamarind.
Part of the hot-sour flavour comes through the incorporation of Portuguese influences (the use of vinegar in cooking) into the typical Indian flavours.
Recipe: Traditional Goan Fish Curry
6 slices of fish (or 1 cup prawns, peeled deveined)
Salt to taste
4 green chillies, deseeded
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups grated coconut
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves garlic
8 dried red chillies
½ piece ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
3 cups warm water
Wash, clean and pat dry the fish (or prawns).
Add salt, chillies, onions, and keep aside.
Combine the rest of the ingredients, except the tamarind pulp, and divide it into 2 portions. Put each portion in the blender, and extract the spiced coconut milk by putting it through a fine sieve. When you have squeezed out every drop of liquid from the ground coconut mixture, add another ½ cup of warm water to the coconut mixture and put it into the blender, and then through the sieve, so that all the milk has been extracted.
Now, put the coconut extract into a deep pan on medium heat and cook, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the sauce becomes thick.
Add the marinated fish/prawns and the tamarind pulp to the boiling sauce. Stir gently, adding more salt if necessary.
When the fish curry has reduced to half its quantity, remove the curry and put into a serving dish.
Serve hot with rice.
RECIPE COURTESY: ‘The Best of Goan Cooking’ by Gilda Mendonsa