Xit ani nishtya chi kodi

Xit ani nishtya chi kodi

Goan fish curry

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

Fish curry is synonymous with Goa. It is a staple part of the daily diet and a vast majority of Goans cannot do without it. Instead of white fish, you can add crab or lobster meat, shelled prawns, mussels or, even, oysters. For a veggie option, add cauliflower, tomatoes and par-boiled baby potatoes (cook in the sauce until tender). It is not suitable for red meat but is good with chicken (sauté for about 5 minutes first until browned and almost cooked through before adding to the sauce).


Quantity Ingredient
500g firm white fish, filleted and cut into large chunks
100g fat red chillies
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
6-8 garlic cloves
4 cm piece fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 medium-sized coconut, grated
or 200g desiccated coconut
50g tamarind
100ml hot water
salt, to taste
pinch ground turmeric
75ml sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 green chillies, finely shredded
300ml fish or chicken stock, or water
2-3 kokum
or 1 sour plum

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
curry rice


Quantity Ingredient
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1 green chilli, seeded if liked, and finely chopped
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
salt, to taste


  1. To make the masala, grind 100 g red chillis, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 6-8 garlic cloves, 4 cm piece ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric and grated coconut with a little water in a blender or food processor to a smooth thick paste. Add water a little at a time and ensure that it does not become too runny (you will need more if using desiccated coconut rather than fresh). You can also smoothen the paste by pressing it through a sieve or strainer.
  2. Soak the tamarind in the hot water for 1 hour. Mix well with the hands then rub the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.
  3. Rinse and dry the fish on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt and the turmeric and set aside. Heat enough oil to cover the base of a flameproof casserole dish.
  4. When the oil forms a haze, add the onion, ginger and green chillies. Sauté for 3 minutes then add in the masala paste. Sauté until the oil begins to run again (this shows the masala is cooked). Stir regularly to prevent sticking. Add the stock or water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the tamarind pulp and the kokum or sour plum (or lime juice) to taste.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes or so and check the seasoning. Check the consistency and ensure that it is not too thin but more like a pouring sauce. Simmer a little longer, if necessary.
  6. Add the fish in and continue simmering without stirring for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes to finish cooking the fish, giving it the perfect texture. Remove the kokum or sour plum, if liked, and serve with steamed curry rice and kachumber (see next step).
  7. For the kachamber put all the ingredients in a serving bowl and toss together well. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt if necessary.
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