Surmai Koliwada

Although I grew up in Calcutta and now live in Delhi, Bombay is my favourite city. It is difficult to explain what it is about Bombay that makes it so special. Although congested and somewhat dirty, that city has so much to offer in terms of culture, food and great people that the negatives seem totally irrelevant.

Bombay (second only to Goa) has some of the best seafood on offer. Fresh catch and some of the best Indian coastal delicacies are cooked and served up almost at every corner ‘lunch home’. My favourite of course is the fried fish, Koliwada style, a recipe of Bombay’s Koli people. This recipe has many variations although the basics remain the same. It is delicious and fresh and tastes of Bombay, if you know what I mean!

  • Jeera (cumin seeds): ½ teaspoon
  • Saunf (fennel seeds): 1 teaspoon
  • Ajwain (carom seeds): 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander (cilantro): ½ cup
  • Garlic: 12 cloves
  • Green chilli: 2
  • Water: 2 tablespoons
  • Surmai (king mackerel)*: 500 gms. (cut into  2 inch cubes)
  • Turmeric powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Mustard oil: 3 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon wedges to serve

*You can use salmon or tuna or any other white fish.

Grind the cumin, fennel, carom, coriander, garlic, green chilli and water, to a smooth paste.

Marinate the fish for about 2 hours with the spice paste, turmeric and salt.

Heat the mustard oil in the skillet.

Pan fry the marinated fish for 4 minutes on either side (adjust time depending on the size of the cubes).

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

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