Malvan is a coastal town in Maharashtra, India. Our recent trip there was one of the most memorable trips I have ever had! I had long wanted to see Malvan’s breathtaking beaches, the historic Sindhudurga fort and experience the local flavors of its patented Malvani cuisine.
The seafood is as fresh as it gets and we ate at many fish thali restaurants. I am happy to say that none of them disappointed us.
My take on the fish curry is a baked version that turned out to be finger licking good! I used my Aai’s (mother’s) authentic Malvani recipe from her book Zanzaneet Non- Veg. My Aai’s memories of Malvan is what really drew me to the town. My mother’s family comes from Malvan. I was on a quest to locate the ancestral home, which the family had left 85 years ago when they moved to Mumbai! What an immensely moving experience it was to find our ancestral home, all thanks to Malvan’s amazingly gracious people. Their generosity of spirit was outstanding, making us feel like family. I am forever indebted to them.
For the Baked Fish- Malvan Style, I used fresh whiting but mackerel or salmon would be perfect for this recipe as well. I used Bedgi chili peppers which lend its vibrant color but are not as hot.
Baked Fish- Malvan Style
To marinate the fish-
- 1 medium sized whiting cleaned, gutted, head removed and cut into 4 ( 2″ ) pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Bedgi red chili powder, or Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
- sea salt to taste
For the curry-
- 2 red kokum ( sun dried peels of mangosteen used for their tartness)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut . I use the frozen grated coconut, defrosted
- 1 teaspoon Bedgi chili powder or Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
- 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled
- sea salt to taste
- 8 tirfal shells, bruised with a pestle, seeds discarded
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil for drizzling
To make the Baked Fish- Malvan Style
- Marinate the fish and set it aside.
- Rinse and soak the kokum in 1/2 cup of warm water for a few minutes.
- For the curry, grind together the coconut, chili powder, ginger and sea salt with 1/2 cup of water. This mixture is ground very fine. Add the kokum with the soaking water to this mixture and stir well together. Add the tirfal shells.
- In a baking dish, arrange the marinated fish. Pour the curry mixture all over it.
- Bake in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, drizzle with coconut oil and serve.