Today was a day of challenges. Having decided to make fish padha, I had to make the much dreaded visit to the fish market.
As a kid, I have always loved going to the fish market. Sounds strange, I know. In my defence however, the fish market back in Belgaum used to be pretty clean, the fishmongers were friendly and the best part – the place used to be teeming with cats. It’s all very well to go to the fish market and play with the cats, but when it comes to choosing the fish, making sure it is fresh, bargaining with the fisherwomen and watching her cut and clean the fish? That’s not my cup of tea at all.
There was no help to it however. I wanted some fish pickle, I had to get fish. I did a little due diligence (called Daddy and asked the price of various fish) and set out. And surprisingly it was a nice experience. I met a plump mother cat with her playful little kittens. I managed to find some nice black pomfret, and after a bit of a haggle, I got a good bargain too. (At least I flatter myself that I did!) I do deserve a pat on the back, you know!
So without further ado let’s cook some Konkani style Fish Padha .
Fish Padha (Fish Pickle)
400 gms black or white pomfret
2 large onions chopped
3/4th cup oil
1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
3-4 dry red chillies
3 pods of garlic
5-6 curry leaves (kadipatta)
1/2 a lemon for the marinade
Salt to taste
1. Roast the cumin in a thick bottomed pan, till it turns brown. Keep aside.
2. Add half a teaspoon of oil in the same pan, and roast the chillies. (Warning: This step will make you cough. Roasting chillies is even worse than chopping onions. Brave it for the fish pickle though!)
3. Grind the onion, garlic, cumin, chillies, curry leaves and turmeric powder to form a thick spice paste.
4. Cut the fish into thick slices (Make sure you remove the bones).Sprinkle the juice of half a lemon on the fish slices and marinate for 10 mins.
5. Once marinated, deep fry the fish, drain and set aside.
6. Fry the spice paste in the same oil until a rich aroma rises.
7. As the spice paste cooks, you have just enough time to chop and mash the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the spice paste and stir well.
8. Finally add the fried fish pieces, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
9. Serve with steaming hot rice.