Category: Konkani


Bod actually means head in Konkani. At my mom’s place, we hardly ate fish head. The maid who cleaned fish would take the heads away. But on rare occassions, they were retained to make this curry. My Annu (dad) and Annamma (granny) loved it. Specially during days when my Granny would be feeling sick and not feeling like eating anything, Amma would make this or any other spicy curry get her taste buds back alive.

I made this curry with mackerel and licked the last bit of the gravy off. You can make it with minimal ingredients that are easily available in any Indian kitchen. I prefer to make it with coconut oil. Do give it a shot, if your taste buds don’t get tantalized, then ‘pasia waapas’

Ingredients:

  • Mackerel Fish – 2, cut into 3 pieces
  • Onion – 3 nos, medium sized, finely chopped
  • Chilli powder – 2 tbsp or more as per spice tolerance
  • Tamarind extract – 1 tbsp, if thick ( I used readymade extract)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coconut oil – 3 tbsp

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute till they turn golden, do not brown them much.
  2. Add chilli powder and saute for a minute on low flame.
  3. Add tamarind extract, salt and 2 cups of water.
  4. Add in the fish pieces, cover and let it simmer covered.
  5. Stir lightly in between.
  6. Switch off the gas once the gravy has attained your desired consistency. (It should neither be too runny nor thick)
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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This is a typical Konkani Sweet Dish that gets made during festivities. One of our aunt’s mom was an expert in making these. They are the melt in your mouth kind and bite sized. Just pop one into your mouth and experience the bliss. I can never eat just one. I had absolutely forgotten about this sweet until recently I saw it in The India Food Court. The author Prathibha has given a beautiful step by step pictorial for making it. She made it appear so simple, so I had to give it a try… 
For the dough:
Maida – 1 cup
Chiroti Rawa / Fine Suji – 2 tsp
Melted Ghee – 1 tsp
Water – Around 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Method:
Mix all the above ingredients and knead into a firm but pliable dough. Keep it covered for about half an hour.
For the filling:
Thin poha / beaten rice – 2-3 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Green Cardamom – 8-10
Method:
1. Dry roast Poha in a Pan so that it crimples and turns crispy.  Ensure that it does not change its colour. Keep aside
2. Dry roast sugar in a pan till it begins crystallizing. Keep aside. Once cooled, grind together poha, sugar and cardamom into a coarse powder.
Method for assembling the final dish:
1. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
2. Pinch a small ball from the dough and roll it to a thin disc (1mm thickness) 
3. When the oil is hot, just add the disc into it, fry on both sides for not more than 30 secs.
4. Remove it from pan. Add a tsp of the sugar-poha powder.
5. Fold it in a semi circle. Again sprinkle little more powder on it and fold into a triangle.
6. Roll this in the powder once and keep aside.
7. Once the Mandos come to room temperature, they may be preserved in an air tight container.
Note:
1. In the original recipe, the discs were folded in the oil itself. I tried doing it. But I guess I need more practice and expertise for that. So I did all the folding only after removing the disc from oil.
2. If you are rolling the discs ahead before frying, make sure you don’t pile them one on top of the other. Place them separately and covered.

Crab Ghee Roast


As I seem to be on a draft-clear-off spree, here’s yet another one. I had seen Paneer Ghee Roast on Divya’s blog which led me to the recipe source. The author Kudpi Raj and his wife have recreated the flavours of Chicken Ghee Roast of Hotel Anupama. The pics of Prawn Ghee Roast had me drooling and wanting to dive into the plate. The comment section also was flooded with people sharing their success stories with this recipe. I had the urge to make it ASAP and hence substituted prawns with crabs which I had on hand. The outcome was liked by all of us.

Ingredients:
Crabs  – 1 Kg, cleaned
Refined vegetable oil – 30 ml (I reduced both oil and ghee quantity, started off by a little and added a bit more as I went by)
Pure Desi Ghee – 30 ml
Chopped Coriander leaves – A handful
Lemon wedges – To garnish


For marinating:
Juice of 1 lemon
Curd – ½ cup
White Pepper powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

For masala – grind together:
Red long chillies – 30 roasted (I had only 1 variety and used the same)
Red short chillies – 8 roasted
Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp roasted
Cumin Seeds – ½ sp roasted
Fenugreek Seeds – ½ tsp roasted
Garlic flakes – 12-16
Tamarind – Cherry size ball soaked in 2 tbsp water

Method:
1. Marinate crabs with ingredients called for in the marinade section.Keep it marinated for 8-24 hrs in the refrigerator.
2. Heat oil in a shallow pan. Roast the marinated crabs till they cook. Drain and keep aside.
4. In the same oil, roast the ground masala till oil leaves the sides and raw smell disappears. Add salt to taste, the marinade and the cooked crabs. Mix well and keep for 2-3 mins on slow fire. Add ghee, mix and cover. When the masala gets thick, transfer to serving dish, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with lemon wedges.


Egg Curry with Coconut Milk

This was my Grandpa’s favourite. Amma used to prepare this along with Ghee Rice. It was a combo to die for. I hardly make this egg curry because Abbas is too fond of Bong Egg Curry and also Ma is allergic to coconut. Now that she is not here, I am preparing most of the coconut based dishes and loving it. I prepared this curry along with Bong Mishti Pulao and the combination worked well. Since I used instant coconut milk powder, the curry got done with minimal efforts and time. In my attempt to further reduce the effort of de-shelling eggs, I delegated the task to Mantam only to see that I got uneven scrambled eggs mixed with petty pieces of egg shell. Sigh!

Ingredients:
Eggs – 3-4, hard boiled, de-shelled and halved
Onion – 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium sized, finely chopped or pureed
Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste – 3 tbsp
Coriander leaves – a handful, finely chopped
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Coconut milk – 1 cup thick milk, 1 cup thin milk
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onions. Saute till they are translucent.
2. Add ginger garlic green chilli paste and saute till oil separates.
3. Add chopped tomatoes and keep pressing them against the pan using a spatula. Let them turn mushy and oil has to separate again.
4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Combine.
5. Add coconut milk and give a brief stir. (I generally switch off the flame and add coconut milk due to the fear of it curdling. Then switch on flame on sim and slowly increase.)
6. Bring it to boil, place the halved eggs, add coriander leaves and let it simmer for 6-8 mins.
7. Let the gravy stand for atleast 30 mins before serving. With time, the taste of this curry enhances like with most non veg curries.

Due to unavailability of VaaLi or Malabar Spinach, this dish laid back in my memory which used to be my favourite. Whenever Amma brought VaaLi home, it was mostly Vaali Ambat. I used to make frequent requests for this Sukke also. It’s so easy to make and finger licking good. I can have a couple of bowlfuls of this dish and easily skip a meal given an option. Recently most of the supermarkets have this on offer and I am a happy girl. During last visit, I bought two bunches and they were undiscriminatedly divided to make a Bong Side Dish with Hilsa fish head (which is like a classic) and the next day I make this dish.

Ingredients:
VaaLi / Malabar Spinach – 1 punch
Coconut – 1/2 cup, grated
Red chillies – 8-10 (or as per spice tolerance)
Tamarind – a marble sized ball
Salt – to taste
Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves – 10-12

Method:
1. Chop leaves of spinach and cut the tender stems in 1″ pieces. Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
2. Grind together coconut, red chillies, tamarind and salt together with a little water.
3. Add this masala to the cooked spinach and boil well till well blended. Adjust any salt required. Keep aside.
4. Heat oil in a pan. Add the garlic cloves and saute on low flame till they are uniformly cooked on all sides.
5. Pour this tempering on the spinach mixture.
6. This is served as an accompaniment with rice.

Sending this to Priya’s Veggie/Fruit A Month – Coconut

Vison is called Brahmin fish. You know why? The fish has a single thin line on its body which resembles the thread that Brahmins wear as per religious customs. Vison to Konkanis is what Betki is to Bong if I may say so. In Kannada, this fish is called Arakozhi (Ara meaning half, Kozhi meaning Chicken) because of minimal bones and texture is close to chicken. Back home we used to fry fish by marinating in masala and rolling in semolina. But since my Bong family does not prefer semolina coated fish, I have begun coating in rice flour which turns out yummy too.

Ingredients:
Seer Fish – 3-4 slices, medium sized
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp or as per spice tolerance
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Rice flour – 2-3 tbsp
Coconut Oil – 4 tbsp (I prefer coconut oil, any other cooking oil can be used)

Method:
1. Marinate fish pieces with ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice. Keep aside for atleast half an hour.

2. Roll the marinated fish in rice flour so that it is well coated on both sides.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan, place the fish pieces in the pan and on low flame let it cook for about 5 mins. Invert the fish pieces. Once the fish pieces are cooked, increase flame and let it get roasted well on both sides.
4. It can be served with lemon wedges and onion rings.

I can survive on only Ambat and Rice for months together. Amma used to make an array of Ambat for lunch back home. For the non Konkanis, it is a preparation of lentils cooked with veggies or greens, blended with coconut and spice paste and concluded with varieties of tempering. We would have our lunch on banana leaves and the flavour that these leaves impart to any hot dish that is poured on them is unique. Having your meal on banana leaf is an art in itself and it is a hearty experience. Especially I never miss pouring ladles of Ambat on my banana leaf / plate and by just using my fingers pick the gravy and quickly suck it in with a distinguished ‘Srrrrrrrrr…..’ sound. Mmmm, this sure is the best part of my meal. In Konkani we call this act as ‘Burkuche’ and I sure am a Burkofying freak!
This particular ambat is made of a variety of Spinach called Malabar Spinach. It is called ‘VaaLi’ in Konkani and ‘Pui Shaag’ in Bengali. Pui Shaag has a respectable designation of its own in Bong cuisine as it is widely cooked with Bengal’s most sought after fish Hilsa. We never spotted Malabar Spinach anywhere after leaving Kolkata. Recently when one of my dad’s aunts visited us, she brought these for me. It had to be Ambat as my VaaLi deprived thirst had to be quenched.
Ingredients:
Toor Dal – 1/2 cup
Malabar Spinach – 1 bunch
Salt to taste
Onion – 1 large, diced
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
For the masala:
Coconut – ½ cup grated
Red chillies – 7-8
Tamarind – 1 marble sized ball
Method:
  1. Separate the spinach leaves, cut tender stem into 1” size pieces. Avoid using hard stems. Wash thoroughly.
  2. Grind red chillies, tamarind and coconut together.
  3. Pressure cook dal, spinach leaves, stem and diced onions along with salt for 2-3 whistles.
  4. Mix the ground masala along with cooked dal and add enough water to achieve desired consistency and let it boil for 10 mins. It should neither be runny nor too thick. (Adjust salt at this stage)
  5. Heat oil and add finely chopped onions. Let it brown on low flame. It will take time and its better done on low flame. Once onions start turning brown, pour the seasoning on cooked dal. Immediately cover and set aside.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.

Remember this Palak Pathrado I had posted sometime back? I had kept aside a couple of rolls and frozen it. After a couple of days, I simply removed them from the freezer, thawed, cut into thin pinwheels. (Cutting through was perhaps easy because they were frozen) Coat these pin wheels in semolina or rice flour and fry them. You could either deep fry or fry on a dosa griddle by sprinkling oil and turning them over to ensure both side are cooked well.

Valval is a Konkani version of Vegetable Stew. It’s white coloured coconut milk based gravy stands for its purity. By purity, I mean that there are no onion-ginger-garlic like the usual curries or no garam masala or any other spices. Its just veggies cooked in coconut milk and a light tempering! A bowl of Valval is simply a bowl of goodness, nevertheless tasty.
I was a very picky eater and would hunt for cashews only in this stew. So my Amma would at times prepare Valval with only cashews just for me. Hmmm… Now that I have become an Amma, I like my kids to have all veggies. (Do I hear someone saying “How mean!!”) And I am no more a picky eater coz my kids learn by following me. (Being a parent actually makes one a better person. I have even begun brushing my teeth before sleeping just so that my kids do it too)
Well, Valval is generally prepared during festivals. My Annamma (Grandma) would sit and scrape atleast 25 coconuts on such days at a stretch. She sure is a super woman. She is the best grandma any child can have and the best MIL in this world too. About being the best MOM, I doubt??? Coz all her children call her Honnie (meaning Bhabi in Konkani) and she never corrected them. Strange isn’t it? It was her birthday this month and she just completed 82 years. I love you Annamma from the bottom of my heart and miss you so very badly.
Each household might have a different Valval recipe. The basic outline should be the same but the choice of veggies and tempering might vary. This recipe is my version:
Ingredients:
Pumpin – cut into cubes
Ash gourd – cut into cubes
Beans – cut into an inch long pieces
Carrot – cut into cubes
Cashew – a handful
All the veggies together should amount to about 2 cups
Coconut Milk – 1cup think milk and 1 cup thick milk– I used Maggi Coconut milk powder sachet
Green chillies – 1 or 2
Salt to taste
For tempering:
Ghee – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 10-12
Asafoetida – a pinch (optional)
Method:
  1. Cook all the veggies along with slit green chillies and salt in a pressure cooker or in a sauce pan. I added 2 tsps of coconut milk powder in the water. (Ideally veggies are cooked in thin coconut milk)
  2. Now Add the thick coconut milk (I mixed rest of the of the coconut milk powder with a little more than half cup water) and give it a boil. (Adjust salt if required)
  3. Heat ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add asafetida and curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the prepared stew.

Palak Pathrado

Pathrado is one of the favourite sides on an Amchi platter. Having it along Rice and Dali Toy (Amchi Dal) is a heavenly experience for me and I believe for most Amchi population.
After marriage, I really missed this dish as I never saw Taro leaves in Kolkata. I couln’t even explain to my folks what it was as there are some varieties which are not edible. One day I googled Taro leaves for images and was showing Ma if she could identify it.  Sudden outburst from my kids’ nanny, Savitha at the sight of these leaves. “Didi, eigulo to kochu pata. Eigulo khao na ki?” (She could identify those and she wondered if we ate those?) I confidently (and proudly) announced, “Yes, we eat them. Do you know where these are available?” She said skeptically “There are so many near my home. I can get them for you. But… How …can you … eat …them?” Due to my persistence, she brought them for me and I jumped out of joy. I did not have a steamer with me then. So I made my Amma’s Phanna pathrado in pressure cooker. We had unexpected guests that day during lunch time. They too got to taste these and were stunned that something so delicious could be made out of Taro leaves! And Savitha would bring Taro leaves whenever she found fresh ones coz she too was hooked on to the taste!
Well, that was about Kolkata. Ever since we moved out of Kolkata, I never got to eat Pathrado. Never found Taro leaves in Chennai or in Bangalore. Had bumped into Divya’s Palak Pathrado some time back. Made those to subside my Pathrado craving. I must say they were yummy to the core. Didn’t miss Taro leaves at all. And the best part is that there is no fear of throat itching that occurs as after effect with some Taro leaves. The masala that I use is a bit different from Divya’s though. (I also drizzled drops of mustard oil instead of coconut oil to see if Abbas would like it. But as usual he didn’t like it. God Bless the Pathrado deprived soul!)
Ingredients:
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch
Rice flour – 2 tbsp (add little more if the masala turns runny)
Coconut oil – 1 tsp
For the Masala:
Grated coconut – 2/3 cup
Red chillies – 7-8 or as per spice tolerance
Tamarind – 1 small marble sized ball
Fenugreek seeds – a pinch
Turmeric poweder – ¼ tsp
Hing / Asafoetida – a pinch
Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Wash the spinach leaves well and keep aside.
  2. Grind together the ingredients called out in the ‘For the Masala’ section with a little water. Add rice flour and mix. The masala must have spreadable consistency. If it is too runny, add little more rice flour.
  3. Take the biggest spinach leaves of the lot and place separately on a platform. Smear the masala over them. Place next smaller sized leaves over them and repeat the process of layering for about 6-8 times atleast. Roll gently and secure the rolls by tying them with a thread.
  4. Steam in an idli steamer for about 20-25 minutes or till well cooked.
  5. Serve hot right out of steamer with coconut oil drizzled on top. (And ofcourse do not forget to remove the thread tied around the Pathrados before serving.)
This recipe goes out to Bookmarked Recipes Every Tuesday hosted by Priya and Aipi.