Top 10 Seafood Recipes from Western India

Now that we have explored seafood recipes from the North East, we move on to the western states of India. And well where do I start, variety is the spice of life and also the characteristic of cuisine of the West Zone of India. Diversity in the geographical area in this zone from thedry to the wet and coastal makes this zone most versatile in terms of cuisine. The food arsenal from this part of the country contains a wide range of both simple vegetarian and delectable non-vegetarian dishes. When it comes to non-vegetarian dishes, the exotic and world famous sea food takes center stage here. Cuisines of Western India are absolutely worth exploring! It is a region full of variety – in culture, lifestyle, cuisine and language. Maharashtra offers a plethora of mildly to very spicy dishes and Gujarat has a rich assortment of vegetarian fare, even though it has abroad coastline that offers sea food. Goa, on the other hand, makes liberal use of coconut, local spices and sea food in its cuisine. So, come hop on as we revel in seafood recipes from the West!!!
Maharashtrian cuisine is extremely versatile. Presence of multifarious communities in the state has led to recipes that are extremely varied. Vast coastline ensures that there is no dearth of sea food in the state. There are two main types of Maharashtrian cuisine, defined by geographical circumstances. The coastal regions, geographically similar to Goa consume more rice, coconut, and fish. Malvani dishes are a heady mix of Maharashtrian and Goan tastes. In the hilly regions of the Western Ghats and Deccan plateau, groundnut is used in place of coconut and the staples are jowar (sorghum) and bajra (millet). Fresh catch from the sea — fishes, oysters, clams, mussels and shrimps are cooked in delicate gravies or simply fried with spices.
  • Bombil Fry – Bombay Duck Fish Fry
    Bombil Fry is one of the star appetizers in Maharashtra. Despite its name, the Bombay Duck is not a duck! It is a variety of fish that is found in the Arabian sea especially on the coast of Mumbai and Kutch. Bombay Duck is pretty popular and is eaten both fresh and in its dried form. Fresh Bombay Duck is very delicate and needs gentle handling while frying. Bombil Fry is a super simple recipe which needs very little ingredients. Lightly marinated with salt, turmeric and chilli powder these Bombils are pressed on flour and rava, then fried till crisp. The result is a moist and succulent fish on the inside with a crisp coating on the outside.Enjoy this hot and crisp Bombay Duck recipe on a rainy day, and trust me that will be pure delight. This recipe calls for fresh Bombil, so go get yourself some and get ready to enjoy this classic preparation
    Recipe: Bombil Fry

  • Prawn Koliwada – Spicy Fried Prawns
    Prawn Koliwada is a Spicy Fried Prawn dish, relished as a starter in restaurants, can also be a star appetizer at your party. They say this dish has its origins in the Sion fishing village, or Koliwada in Mumbai and can be attributed to a North Indian immigrant from Punjab. These deep-fried,crunchy prawns can be identified by their signature red color because of the use of Kashmiri red chili powder. A perfect accompaniment with chilled beer, you can adjust the spice levels to suit your palate. The freshness of the prawns plays an integral role in the taste and flavor of this recipe. Alert! These spicy deep fried prawns are highly addictive and if you are calorie conscious then you can grill them in the oven but they taste best when they are deepfried. It is time you try this recipe in your own kitchen and make simple home cooking special
  • Kurlya Rassa – Crab Curry
    Crabs are also known as Khekda, Chimbori and Kurlya in Maharashtra. There are a wide variety of crabs available but the best are the crabs that are found in the rocks, especially in the monsoons. You will find a heady mix of spices in this recipe along with the bold flavors of grated dry coconut, a must try recipe just for its sheer outcome and taste. An amalgamation of aromas of spices like coriander seeds, dried red chilies, cinnamon, peppercorns, ginger and garlic along with a hint of tang from tamarind give this crab curry its distinct taste. This tastes best served with rice or bhakri (round flat unleavened bread usually made up of sorghum flour). But thoroughly cleaned crabs are a re-requisite for this recipe. If you don’t know how to clean crabs yourself, catch hold of that fisherwoman who will clean for you or try to get hold of a vendor who supplies cleaned, ready to cook crabs. 
    Recipe: Kurlya Rassa

  • Mase Kalvan – Fish Curry
    Mase Kalvan simply means simple Fish Curry from the homes of Maharashtra. This spicy and tangy fish curry from Maharashtra goes superbly well with hot seaming rice. The aroma from asafoetida, the tang of tamarind and the smooth silkiness of coconut milk make it distinct from other coastal dishes.This Maharashtrian style fishcurry is guaranteed to make your mouth water. If you love the Indian gravies and curries then this is it.  An effortless recipe to make, all you need is your everyday ingredients from the kitchen shelf and you can cook up this curry. You can use any white fish for this recipe, typical favorites are Pomfret, Halwa (Black Pomfret), Ravas (Indian Salmon) or Surmai.  So get going and allow yourself to cook up this simple yet classic hearty fish curry that is slightly spicy but not very oily. 
    Recipe: Mase Kalvan

  • Goa
    Goan cuisine is all about fresh ingredients, especially seafood. Those of you familiar with Goa’s restaurants, beach cafes and shacks would know the sheer variety of seafood served there. One is completely spoilt for choice. The fish varieties include Mackerels, Sardines, Snappers and Barramundi.Mussels, Squids, Prawns, Lobsters and Mud Crabs are varieties of shellfish commonly found in the region.Influenced partly by its former Portuguese rulers the cuisine offers a distinct variety with generous use of coconut.  Sea food is apredictable part of a Goan’s diet.  Goa’s native population consists of Catholics and Hindus, and the recipes from both kitchens differ greatly. Goan Hindu cuisine uses more of tamarind, fresh coconut, jaggery, kokum, curry leaves and pickles along with fresh vegetables and seafood. Goan Catholics on the other hand, use toddy, vinegar, and more of spices and meat in their food.
    • Pilo Ambotik – Shark Ambotik Curry
      The meaning of ambot is ‘sour’ and tik is ‘spicy’ in Portugese.This recipe is tasty, tangy, spicy and too tempting for fish lovers. Usually made with Shark fish, this preparation is a local Goan delicacy. In Goa, it not only is a part of all festive occasion but also a specialty served in restaurants, shacks and home stays. Shark is preferred fish for this curry as it has chunky meat with a single bone. Goans say that Ambotik tastes better the next day as the flavors meld better. Be careful once you make this you might end eating loads of rice and you won’t even realize it. So don’t wait, just make this Goan specialty if you are a fish fanatic and especially love hot, sour and spicy gravies. This lip smacking gravy can also be prepared with Prawns, Pomfrets, Shrimps and Salmon. This finger licking fish curry is sure to tickle your taste buds and you will definitely be asking for more
      Recipe: Pilo Ambotik

  • Pomfret Recheado – Stuffed Pomfret
    Recheado literally means ‘stuffing’ in Portuguese. Goan Catholics, especially the ones with Portuguese ancestry, use this spicy paste to stuff fish as well as meat. A pride of Goan cooking, this one is an absolute must have. A dish that will remind you of  lazy lunches, balmy weather, pretty sarongs, fresh and simple seafood, cane chairs and warm sands. A must find on any menu at Goa, whether you’re eating at a makeshift little hut or at an upscale fine dining place. The recheado stuffing or masala paste has a long list of ingredients. Each of them plays a vital role in bringing out the robust, spicy and lively flavors of Goan food. This dish is really easy to make,looks spectacular and tastes great with hot steamed rice or an appetizer in itself. Make sure your fish is really fresh and if you don’t want to shallow fry, an open grill would be a fantastic alternative. 
  • Tissreo Dangar – Clam Cutlet
    In Goa, clams are cooked in many ways fried, steamed, in curries and stir fry, each family has its own style and preference of how to cook it. Pronounced as ‘daangar’, these fish cutlets from the Goan Hindu cuisine are the perfect balance of sweet and sour. You can snack on them, or make a meal out of them with a side dish of rice. Clam Cutlets is a very simple recipe prepared by mixing easily available ingredients like onion, semolina/rava and coconut with the clams. It is a task to clean up clams though – you need to break open the shell and then scoop the clam out. A melt in the mouth recipe. with a soft juicy centre.  And a must cook, if you can find fresh clams.
  • This blog post will be incomplete if I don’t talk about the fish recipes of the Parsi community. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who fled Iran during the Arab invasion in the 17th century. They eventually settled along the west coast of India and it’s during that time they developed a distinct cuisine with Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Iranian and Persian influence. Parsi food is an eclectic blend of exotic culinary influences of East and West, which is reflected in the sweet and sour taste of the cuisine. And needless to say they love their fish and meats.
    • Saasni Machi, Fish in White Sauce
      This is a spiced dish of fish cooked in a sweet and sour white sauce. Pomfret is the most popular fish for this recipe, but you can use Seabass or any white fish fillets. Often served at Parsi weddings and events, the Saasni Macchi is also a popular home-cooked meal.The Parsi white curry has only two spice elements: fresh green chili peppers and whole cumin seeds. But the part that really makes this fish curry stand out, is the use of an egg-sugar-vinegar mixture, added at the end of the cooking process, to create a curry emulsion. The Saas curry is just as amazing served with plain steamed Basmati rice or crusty bread.
      Recipe: Saasni Machi

  • Patrani Machi – Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves
    Here is one of those delicious recipes, for which you will definitely befriend a Parsi. Patrani Machi is a Parsi steamed fish preparation,where patra translates to ‘leaves’ and machi means ‘fish’ generally uses Pomfret, a popular Indian fish. The preparation is made by marinating the fish in a coating of spicy green coconut chutney and wrapping it in banana leaves. The fish is steamed to ensure that the flavors and juices of the fish and chutney are sealed in the banana leaves packet.The flaky, flavor-filled fish with all its juices and chutney is best served on a brown rice pulao. If you’ve ever been to a Navjote ceremony or a Parsi wedding, you’ll see that no Parsi celebration is without their beloved Patrani Machi.
    Recipe: Patrani Machi

  • Shrimp Patia – Hot & Sweet Shrimp Curry
    A spicy and tangy Parsi celebratory preparation, Shrimp Patiais made with prawns or fish, cooked with spices, herbs, jaggery or palm sugar and tamarind. It is hot, sweet and sour. The unique combination of Indian spices with Persian-inspired touches in a Shrimp Patia, is a true picture of what the Parsis’ love for good food has added to the Indian cuisine. Curried shrimp in a thickish tangy curry sauce is usually served with a plain lentil side dish, and rice.Parsis usually serve it alongside simple dal chawal. Hence get hold of some fresh seafood and cook this up. Trust me you will relish this one.
    Recipe: Shrimp Patia
  • Stay tuned,next we bring you the best seafood chutneys, pickles and relish from around the country.

    About the Author

    She day-dreams about new recipes, 
    devours cook-books, writes, cooks and 
    takes pictures of delicious food.
    Monalisa Mehrotra

    Image Credit: Cover

    Image Credit: Bombil Fry

    Image Credit: Spicy Fried Prawns

    Image Credit: Crab Curry

    Image Credit: Fish Curry

    Image Credit: Shark Ambotik Curry

    Image Credit: Stuffed Pomfret

    Image Credit: Clam Cutlet

    Image Credit: Fish in White Sauce

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