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Tag Archives: maharashtra

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn’t it?

I have always loved this festive season. It’s not the starry lights, decorations or gifts but rather the cheerful spirit and joyfulness that seem to be in the air at this time of the year. And it is also the time when I am most grateful, when I count my blessings the most.

We will be spending this Christmas away from our extended families but I am still happy and grateful for the fact that all of us are happy and safe whichever part of the world we live in. Good health and safety is pretty much all that you wish for your parents as they get older and live so far away.

And my family always reminds me of seafood curries. Today’s recipe is a traditional mackerel curry from the coastal region of Maharashtra, not really from my home state of Kerala. If you look at the seafood dishes along the coastal line of South West India, especially parts of Kerala, Mangalore, Goa and Maharashtra, you can find so many similarities. But there will be one or two ingredients that would make the dish so unique to the region where it comes from.

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

For example, this mackerel curry is famous among the Konkan community of Maharashtra. But you will find similar seafood preparations both in Kerala and Mangalore. But there is one ingredient that makes this curry so unique to the Konkan community and that is tirphal (a variety of Sichuan peppercorns). Till I came across this traditional dish, I wasn’t even aware of the importance of tirphal in Konkani cuisine. A spice that lends a distinctive woody and smoky flavour to the dish.

Sichuan peppercorns - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Fresh mackerel is often underrated but the oily nature of this fish makes it perfect for rich curries like this one. It is affordable, sustainable and local which ticks all the right boxes for me when it comes to seafood.

Unlike meat curries, seafood ones are easy to cook; the only job is to make the flavourful base and then cook the fish in it. The defining flavours of this mackerel curry are coconut, tamarind, Kashmiri chillies and tirphal. Since it is hard to get native tirphal in Melbourne, I used Sichuan peppercorns (only a very mild difference in flavour). The peppercorns add a woody kick without being overpowering; it is nothing like the Sichuan dishes that you would have tried.

Fresh fish - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

So let’s get cooking Maharashtrian style Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan or a deliciously spicy mackerel curry with coconut, tamarind and Sichuan peppercorns. Especially recommended for days you crave simple, soul food and complete the experience with a bowl of steaming hot rice and a refreshing tomato cucumber salad on the side.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 mackerel; cut into four equal sized pieces (head included)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 medium onion; finely chopped
  4. For the coconut paste:

Read full recipe here.

Maharashtrian Bangdyache Ambat Kalwan (Spicy Mackerel Curry with Coconut and Tamarind) - a traditional seafood preparation from Maharashtra, India - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood. 

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Fish Ambotik

Do you believe in the ‘13th unlucky day’ concept?

I do, at some genetic level……though I haven’t become a freak yet!

I grew up with a mom who totally freaks over the number 13. She simply wouldn’t let us do so many things on that day, especially if involves travel, hosting an event, or even lodging an application…..If there was a way, she would simply bring life to a standstill and keep her family close by on the 13th.

My attitude, initially, was ridicule. It was plain crazy to attribute a day or number to be bad. And though I have read up a lot trying to figure out the scientific relevance of all this, the only answer I could come up with is that it has a lot to do with what you really believe in. As life went, the ridicule turned to frustration as mom wouldn’t let me do many things on the 13th, and it is not always possible in a practical, busy world. But I began to tolerate it much more because I began to understand the reasons behind her fears. Every undesirable or bad experience of her life has always been on the 13th and that fear has formed over many many years of such experiences.

And now, though I haven’t become like my mom yet, 13th has become a conscious date in my mind. Though I don’t prevent or impose on my family with my beliefs, there is an extra prayer in the mornings before everyone heads out, small prayers through the day worrying about the safety of my family till they are back in the nest and yes, sometimes consciously putting away doing things simply because I don’t feel great on that day.

Yesterday was one such 13th…..nothing has happened that stopped my life in any manner. But a couple of unpleasant and undesirable experiences peppered through the day that I just couldn’t wait for the day to come to a close. I went to bed with a heavy heart praying that I don’t want to believe that a date or number can have a hold on me.

Today’s dawn couldn’t have felt much better…a new day to start afresh with a better frame of mind. And all I wanted to do was fall back into routine and get cooking something to fire up my taste buds.

And that something happened to be this deliciously spicy and warm fish curry.

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Fish Ambotik curry is a famous sour and spicy seafood preparation commonly found in Goa and along the Konkan belt of Maharashtra (a state along the south west coast of India).

The unique sour flavour of the dish comes from the tamarind and fenugreek seeds while the heat is added from the kashmiri chillies and garlic. Ambotik curry can be prepared using a wide variety of fish but I have used Indian mackerel today.

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A bowl of steamed rice with this simple, no fuss, deliciously spicy fish curry can make the world feel a much better place……

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg Indian mackerel; gutted and cleaned
2. 1 ½ red onion; 1 finely chopped and ½ for making spice paste
3. 6 dry kashmiri chillies

Find the full recipe here….

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And if you love fish heads just as much as I do, here is special click for you;

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood

Malvani Fish Fry

The combination of school hols and cold winters is not exactly the most inspiring time for me to cook. In between work, activities and freezing your butt off, I hardly feel like entering the kitchen and on some days, it almost seems like a punishing chore.

Comfort food and familiar tastes seem to reign high during this time. So there are a lot of curries, fried food and saucy pastas on the menu. Not a time to watch your waistline!

My definition of fried food is a little different to others. For me, it is mostly seafood – I am so very partial to fried fish and there are a zillion ways to do it too. A bowl of rice, this lentil curry and some fried fish; that’s the way I am keeping sane this season.

Today’s fried fish recipe comes from the coastal regions of Maharashtra, India. The cuisine is often referred to as the Malvani style of cooking.

Malvani Fish Fry - a crunchy, mildly spiced fish fry from India - thespiceadventuress.com

There are a lot of similarities between the Malvani and Konkani (this is the term used for Goan cuisine) style of cooking. Seafood is big in both cuisines given the proximity to the coastal region. A common seafood preparation is the rawa fish fry, in which fish pieces are first marinated with a wet spice paste and then coated with coarse semolina/rawa and shallow fried.

The use of coarse semolina is ingenious; it gives that instant crunch without needing any egg or flour; also, there is no need for deep frying to get the crispy exterior. Now, that’s a winner! I have tried the same technique to make chicken nuggets and my kiddo loved it.

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Malvani Fish Fry - a crunchy, mildly spiced fish fry from India - thespiceadventuress.com

The Malvani fish fry is a delicious, crunchy preparation usually made with kingfish, mackerel or pomfret but today, I have used Indian anchovies/nethli. Being a small fish with a single line of soft bones, the anchovies when made this way is super crunchy and the perfect, delicious starter to any meal. And of course you have to eat it, bones and all.

Ingredients:

1. 400gm Indian anchovies (Nethli); cleaned with heads and guts removed
2. 1 tsp turmeric powder
3. 2 ½ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)

For the full recipe, visit here.

Malvani Fish Fry - a crunchy, mildly spiced fish fry from India - thespiceadventuress.com

Malvani Fish Fry - a crunchy, mildly spiced fish fry from India - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood

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