Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pre-Diwali Special Seafood Treat

Every year when Deepavali is round the corner, fishing activities are brisk in the Arabian Sea and abundant quantity of fresh fish enters the market. Prices also drop considerably, and people go around buying tasty seafood like Seer Fish(Anjal) White Pomfret, Prawns, Silver Fish, Mackerel and Croaker in heaps!
It is also the time for GSBs to celebrate the oil bath and Pre-Diwali Special Seafood Treat. Perhaps we cultivated this habit from our Bengali cousins or from our forefathers who settled in Konkan hundreds of years ago. Thus, GSBs are also called as 'Matsya Brahmins' or fish eating Brahmins.

Not all GSBs are piscetarians, but many are. Anjal is a must for most of the GSBs on this day, to make fried fish. Anjal steaks are cleaned washed and marinated with a chilli tamarind masala with added asafotoeda(Hing), rolled in rice flour and deep fried in coconut oil. A simple Mackerel curry such as 'Alle Piyaava Ghashi'(Coconut based curry with added chopped ginger onion  and green chillies), phannaupkari or Kothambari Methi Ghashi(Coriander fenugreek curry) is prepared traditionally in earthen pot and is served with piping hot boiled red rice and the fried anjal fish steaks. This meal follows the traditional oil bath, lighting the diyas(Terracotta oil lamps) and burning of first round of crackers. rest of the days are auspicious to perform various poojas and are strictly vegetarian.

We have been trying new curries and fish fries every year for this special seafood feast, but this year we had enough of fish curry rice and fried fish two days ago. Hence we didn't make any curry or fry for the pre-diwali dinner. Let me present the typical Tuluva style Bangude Ghasi(Mackerel curry) that we tried last Sunday along with Anjal Tawa Fried. Our friend Uma Shenoi sent marinated Anjal steaks.

Uma is a fantastic cook, a perfectionist. The masala marinade she applied is as per typical GSB style Fried Fish with a pinch of added turmeric powder. The marinated steaks are rolled in rice flour and shallow fried on a tawa or shallow frying pan. A simple Tendle Batate Upkari(Gherkins with potato fry) made up for the veggies. Needless to mention here that the dinner was a super-hit!
Bangude Ghasi

Mackerel Fish - 4 big, cleaned washed and cut into 3 pieces each
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Red Long Chillies - 18
Red Short Chillies - 14
Coriander Seeds - 2 Tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Green Chillies - 8 cut into small bits
Ginger - 2" piece chopped
Onion - 1 medium chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Tamarind - Cherry size ball
Salt - To taste
Curry Leaves- 1 Sprig
Coconut Oil - 2 Tbsp

Marinate the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder for 30 mins.
Fry red chillies, coriander seeds and mustard seeds with 1 tsp oil.
Grind the spices with tamarind and grated coconut to a fine paste.
Wash the grinder/mixie with 1 cup water and reserve this water.
In a thick bottomed vessel(Preferably earthenware pot) heat remaining oil.
Add chopped green chillies and onions.
Fry till onions turn transparent.
Add the ground masala and fry till raw smell disappears.
Add the water from the grinder/mixie and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil and add the marinated fish.
Cover, simmer and cook for 5 mins or till the fish is cooked.
Add curry leaves and keep covered for another 5 mins before serving with red boiled rice and fried fish.

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