Goa, a state located in the West of India, is famous for its beaches, its relaxed culture and of course its cuisine. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms has led to a different and unique style of food with a combination of spicy flavors in this beloved vacation state.
The Portuguese dominated Goa for centuries coming in the 1500s and leaving in 1961. Thus, the Goan culture heavily reflects the Portuguese influence. The Portuguese culture is known for their happy go lucky nature, love for drinks, late night parties and gala dinner. And that’s how Goa is perceived all over India and loved by all.
The taste of Goan food involves tangy, spicy and other lip-smacking delicacies. Most Goans, unlike the rest of India, eat all kinds of meat- including beef, pork and all types of seafood, besides the regular chicken. Prawn Balchao, Pork Vindaloo and Chicken Xacuti- yup they are all goan dishes.
One of Goa’s staple dishes is fish curry and rice, something I will be sharing today.
I was watching an Indian food channel when I came across this recipe. The original recipe uses lobster as the choice of meat and I am sure the lobster complements this dish perfectly. But all I had on hand was halibut and thought the flavors in the recipe would be a perfect way to eat the fish steak I had.
If you have lobster, go ahead use it and follow the same instructions as given. Except for searing the lobster before putting it in the curry. If you use lobster meat, just marinate it and then when the curry is ready add to the dish. But if all you have is halibut, don’t worry, it works fine- in fact absolutely perfect.
The dish is very spicy, but that’s how most goan dishes go. Even if you don’t feel like making the curry (though I can’t guess why because all of it comes together quickly), just grilling the fish in the marinade is a great meal in itself, especially if you are a looking for an Indian, spicy flavor in your fish.
The original recipe calls for a feni flambe. Feni is a spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple, made in Goa. It tastes bitter as hell (at least that’s what I remember of it), but that’s what the tamarind concentrate is supposed to take care of- the bitterness of the Feni. But I didn’t have access to Feni, still I added the tamarind concentrate since I think it cuts a little into the spiciness of the dish, which for me was very much welcomed.
The dish fit perfectly with my gluten free diet that I plan to be on for this month. Gluten free and sugar free. It’s not that I am allergic to gluten (at least not something I am aware of), but it’s a way to challenge myself and go a little healthier in things I eat. And that’s why this month I will be (or at least try to be) gluten free and sugar free. And to challenge myself even more I plan to go raw for a week in between.
You can follow my gluten free month on Facebook. I still haven’t gotten the hang of twitter, even though I am on it. I have never been one of those witty people who come up with smart one liners. Probably that is why twitter is still something I just can’t get used to. So, if you want to know about how my month of gluten free, sugar free and one week of raw diet is going on, check my Facebook page for updates (and do pass in a motivating word, because with my love for all things unhealthy I sure would need it!).
- 1 steak halibut
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- roasted spice masala
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ inch Ginger, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves Garlic, slivered
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds
- 8 Black Peppercorn
- seeds from 2-3 Green cardamom
- 1 medium sized Dried Red chilli
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2-3 tbsp chicken stock
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
- salt, to taste
- Dry roast the spices under roasted spice masala. Grind to a paste with 1-2 tsp water. Start with 1 tsp water and if not fully ground add another tsp of water. Mix this with the lemon juice and salt and rub it on the halibut steak.
- In 1 tsp olive oil, sear the fish for 1-2 minutes on each side. You don't want the fish to be completely cooked. Just seared a little. You could skip this step entirely, but I prefer cooking the fish a little to get that raw taste out before putting it in the curry. Remove the fish steak from the pan and place on a plate. Debone and cut into bite sized pieces.
- In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste. Brown the onions. Add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder and mix well. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 2-3 tbsp stock. Don't let the masala burn. The stock is added so that the masala doesn't stick to the pan and burn. Add in the marinated fish and cook till the oil separates.
- Pour in the coconut milk and chopped coriander and tamarind pulp. Adjust seasoning. Remove from fire and serve with rice.