Fish Recipes

Fishy Secret- The Best Seafood in Pune

 

This Sunday at the crack of dawn we were out and about. A short drive through the uncharacteristically  deserted lanes of the old city and then, turning the corner to Laxmi Road, we were in mayhem.Trucks line up on the side of the narrow roads , each spewing out blue, heavy duty crates, full to the brim with fish on ice. We follow the line of people, each with a bag under the arm) in a winding slushy tramp through a filthy street.The crowd goes from a trickle to a riot in the space of 200 yards and we can barely enter the gates where three wheelers, porters, vendors and buyers all jostle for space.

If we didnt know it before we know it now...the appropriateness of the term- fish market.

Crowd-at-fishmarket

This teeming crowd, shouting, yelling, ankle deep in mud and slime, smells of the sea, of garbage and sweat ,all mingling in the excitement of making a large bargain before the sun rises.

Mural-on-fishmarket

This is the wholesale market for fish  placed in the very heart of Pune, behind Alpana Cinema,at Dulya Maruti Chowk in Ganesh Peth, where shark and prawns, eels and bombli and a host of other fish lie gleaming in the early morning light .

Fish-on-ice

This is where fishmongers from the rest of the city come to pick up their catch of the day to resell at substantial profit to seafood lovers all across town.Buyers for five star hotels and local restaurant alike.

Prawns

We picked up two kilos of the very best large prawns after ascertaining the market price. It is at least 50% less than what I would pay at my local fishmonger.

Delighted with my haul I squeeze my way through the crowd in the general direction of the guys who clean and prepare your fish. They charge Rs 20 a kilo and its well worth it. Nobody there today and so I look forward to a morning of shelling and deveining prawns . Hmm...not so wonderful.

But the end result ,Kerala prawn curry with freshly ground pepper and just squeezed coconut milk, piled on plates and polished off by our guests was well worth it . Wonderfully fresh with a bite and sooo much better than the tasteless stuff that sells as "Prawns" in our fanciest supermarket's frozen food section !

 


Prawn Curry with lemon grass

This is another family cooking day special.Our numbers are growing to include dear friends who love cooking too and are eager to learn and share their own special cooking tips. Mohini Mohini demonstrated one superb prawn recipe made with some lemon grass bulb that she brought back from Thailand. Then the addition of few leaves from her lemon tree crushed in a mortar added even more of a lemony flavour.Made with large luscious fresh prawns, we demolished the curry, as usual, immediately after for lunch .

Prawn-curry-2

Ingredients:

250 gms large prawns cleaned and deveined

1 bulb lemon grass, not the fibrous root. Crush

5-6 lemon leaves, crush

2 medium sized onions, choped very very fine

1 slit green chilli, with seeds removed

2 peeled tomatoes chopped fine

2 tbsp garlic chopped very fine

1 tbsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp haldi

1/2 tsp mirchi powder

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp hara dhania

Fry the onions, garlic, lemon grass bulb, lime leaves, kari patta, green chilli and ginger paste till soft and pulpy. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more. Now add the haldi, mirchi powder, salt and sugar. Add 2  tablespoons of water and cook covered for 8 minutes till all the ingredients have mixed and cooked well Now add the prawns and simmer for 5 minutes. Add three tablespoons of prepared coconut milk  and the hara dhaniya.Mix well and serve hot with rice.


An illustrated glossary of Indian Fish-3 - Malabar Sole


Fishbutton Flatfish are common in India one of the most important fisheries being the Malabar Sole or  Lep as it is known in the vernacular in Maharashtra. Scientifically known as cynoglossus semifasciatus it is found in greater numbers in the waters of the Indian Ocean on the east coast and in the estuary of the Godavari, for which reason it is more commonly known as the Bengal tongue-sole in English. It is also found around Sri Lanka where it is native.

Fish_stall_kirkeenight_2

I buy sole at the Kirkee fish market which is open till late in the evening. They stock a lot of river fish,  eel, shark and other species which are not always available in other areas of the town.

Other common names for sole are Nangu in Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. It is also referred to as Manthal in Kerala and Nakkumeen in Tamilnadu. Since there are 137 species of tongue fish it is likely that one can be mistaken for a different variety in different states. The Kukur jeebh of Bengal is also referred to as Bengal tongue sole in English( note: without a hyphen)  but its scientific name is cynoglossus cynoglossus, thus a different species.

Relatively inexpensive as compared to the pomfret, sole is a common food fish especially amongst the poor. Is is not, however, as rich in Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, as in fish like the salmon and mackerel .

Like other tongue fish it feeds on the ocean and estuary floors and is fished in the ocean only when it comes in to fairly shallow waters in September and October. During the monsoon, shoals tend to go out into deeper waters. At the end of October they migrate out again to breed, returning only at the onset of the monsoon. The biggest catches are, however, on the Malabar coast between Kadapuram in Thrissur district and Edakkad in  North Kerala.

Malabar_sole

The Malabar sole, as with all tongue fishes, has both its eyes on the left side of its head and can be recognized by its shape which is ovoid in the front and pointed towards the tail. The following simple fried fish recipe is good for all flat fish.

Malabar_sole_fried_fish

Fried fish - Tala hua macchhi

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients

  • ½ kg small  Malabar sole fish (about 6).
  • 6 tbsp rava / semolina
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp haldi / turmeric
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 limes cut into quarters

Skinned_sole

Clean sole by peeling off the skin. It comes off really easily. Cut head and wash well.

Marinating_sole

Mix all the masalas and rub on both sides of the fish. Let it stand for half an hour. Now spread the rava / semolina on a plate and coat both sides of all the  fish.  Heat half  the oil in a large non stick frying pan and fry three fish at a time.  Brown well on both sides for 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately with lime quarters and tomato chutney.