I grew up on Mackerel curry.
Every once a week, father would come back from the local fish market with a bagful of freshly caught mackerel and persuade mom to cook this particular curry. Over the years, my tastes changed but the memory of this amazingly comforting aromatic curry with plain boiled white rice still evokes a strong nostalgia. Few meal’s excite me as much as Bangdyan Chi Aamti
The recipe here is my Mom’s very own. The same one she learnt from her mother and so on. Authentic, as far as I know and ready in 30 mins flat!
6 medium/ small sized fresh mackerels
(The smaller the mackerel the better the flavour of the meat. This is opposed
to how one buy’s most other fish but is a great tip I learnt from my father)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1/2 spoon corainder seeds
2 spoons of fresh onion
Dried red chillies 4-5 (or more according to your taste for hotness)
6-8 corns of Tirphal or Teppal (optional but mackerel curry without it, is unthinkable)
A knob of ginger
2 green cillies
A marble sized ball of tamarind
1. Clean and wash the Bangde (Mackerels) thoroughly. If medium sized cut each into 2 pieces. If small, just make incisions on each side.
2. Rub salt into the incisions and keep aside for 10 minutes.
3. Prepare the masala by combining all remaining ingredients in a mixer and grind with a spoon of water
until it turns into a fine yellow paste.
4. Heat a spoonful of vegetable oil in a deep bottomed pan.
5. Add the ground paste and saute well for a minute or so.
6. Add the mackerel pieces.
7. Cover and let cook for a minute.
8. Add salt and water as per taste and your desired consistency for the curry and check the balance of the spicy and sour flavours.
9. Cover and cook until the curry simmers and the fish is tender. Make sure to not overcook any fish curry as the fish tends to disintegrate and all you will get is a gritty mix of flesh, bones and curry.
10. Top with coriander and serve piping hot with steaming white rice and a big bowl of Kokum Kadhi.
Note: Mackerel is an oily fish and high in Omega 3 fatty acids and in flavour and hence tends to not store for too long. When buying Mackerel, make sure its the catch of the day or at the most has been well preserved in ice to retain its rich flavours.
Whole mackerels can be substituted for other fish and even shrimps. Also, for a tasty but frugal meal, use fish heads with the above curry paste. The result will be gobsmackingly delicious.