I supposedly cook Malvani style, but over the years my cooking has been influenced by multitude of other cuisines. As my husband hails from south India, quite a few delicacies from that region have crept into my everyday cooking. My culinary curiosity has introduced me to other territorial grub as well. On any given day my dinner plate flaunts global propinquity but lately I have been craving for food from my childhood.
Incidentally my mom has been visiting us for summer, and she has taken over my kitchen. What a relief it has been! Now after work, as I enter the kitchen from garage, I get my turn to shout, ‘ What’s for dinner? But my mom doesn’t have to answer. The aromas wafting through the kitchen engulf me and beckon me to the dinner table. Her food tastes so much different and so much better that my kids are beguilingly cured of their vegetable allergies; they are even going for seconds and thirds. The twiggy people from the family (that includes everyone except me) have finally gained some weight along with me. Now, I got to find my mom’s mojo. I have been spying on her, trying to figure out her secret ingredients, and capturing recipes under the pretense of posting them on my blog.
On Sunday, my mom whipped up real malvani meal- Malvani kombdi (chicken curry), Kalvan (fish curry) with fried pomfrets. Usually both the curries are not prepared on the same day owing to their contrasting flavors and also because their preparation is quite different leading to more work. But our work week was packed with ballgames, chess night and slew of other activities, and it was imperative to stock the fridge with some favorite food. The chicken curry is usually accompanied by aamboli( Maharashtrian style dosa) or vada (fried bread) and Kalvan definitely calls for jawar bhakri; rice and fried fish being a must have. During my pantry cleaning frenzy, I had used up all the other flours and we had to stick with chapati .
Kalvan – Fish curry
10 Bedgi mirchies. Bedgi mirchi imparts blazing red color and a unique flavor. You can substitute Kashmiri red chilies/powder or any other chilies, but if you are looking for an authentic taste, you definitely need Bedgi. I always stock mine when I visit India.
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp raw rice
1/2 tsp tamarind
1 tbsp chopped onion + addition 2 tbsp for seasoning (optional)
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup grated coconut. I used shredded frozen. Dry coconut is not an acceptable substitute.
1 tbsp chopped tomatoes. Tomatoes are not used traditionally, but I add them to reduce the quantity of coconut purely for health benefit.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 kokum (optional, used for sourness)
5-6 pieces of fish, smaller fish works best. I used two Tilapia fillet.
- Soak chilies, coriander seeds, rice and tamarind in enough water for at least couple of hours .
- Grind ingredients from step 1 into a fine paste.
- Add coconut, onion, tomatoes and garlic to the grinder and grind again into a fine paste.
- If using onions for seasoning, heat some oil in a saucepan and saute 2 tbsp of onions.
- Pour the curry paste from step 3 along with 3 cups of water, salt and turmeric to the saucepan.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or longer. The flavors get a chance to mingle when cooked for a longer time.
- Add fish pieces and simmer till cooked. If using fillet, a minute is enough otherwise pieces will fall apart.
- Add kokum and fish curry is ready to be served.
3 cups chicken pieces
1/2 inch ginger + 4 garlic cloves + 1 tbsp cilantro + 1 tbsp mint leaves
1/2 cup onion
1 ½ cups watap (onion and coconut paste. Recipe below)
1 tbsp turmeric
3 cups water
3-4 tbsp Malvani masala (see my post on this)
1 cup chopped onion
salt to taste
- Make a paste from ginger, garlic, cilantro and mint leaves.
- Heat two tbsp oil in a big pan. I cook chicken in a stainless steel pressure directly as the flesh becomes really tender when cooked under pressure.
- Add onion and turmeric. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add chicken pieces and sauté.
- Add green paste from step 1, coconut paste (watap), Malvani masala powder, salt and water.
- Cover and cook.
Watap – gravy paste
1 cup sliced onion.
1 cup grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
5-6 garlic cloves
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
- Roast coriander seeds and poppy seeds in a kadai/thick bottomed pan. Keep aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil and fry garlic cloves on a medium heat till golden. Keep aside.
- Fry onions till golden brown, and add coconut and roast on a low heat till brown.
- Let it cool and grind all the ingredients into a coarse paste.
To cool us down we feasted on some mango ice-cream. Our family favorite recipe is posted here; it is the best version I have ever eaten.
Here comes Kalvan from the region of Malvan
I am a true devotee
of this raging red beauty
It is my vice
to gobble it with huge mound of rice
I enjoy it with a side of fried fish
and lick my plate pretty quick
I end the meal with sol-kadhi
and always end up grabbin some z’s