Boothai Curry (Sardines cooked in Mangalorean gravy)
350g sardines, whole (4 pieces)
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
For the spice paste (Mangalorean Masala Mix)
3 tsp coriander seeds, whole
3-5 Kashmiri red chillies, whole
1 tsp carom seeds
30g ginger-garlic paste (or garlic cloves and ginger pieces)
4-5 curry leaves
75g fresh coconut, grated
60ml refined oil
60ml coconut oil
45g tamarind pulp, or kokum
5-7 black peppercorns
2 green chillies, slit
Salt to taste
For the garnish
3-4 curry leaves, fried
1 green chilli, slit
Fresh coconut, grated
Clean and gut the sardines. Make slanting cuts till the bone on both sides and rub the red chilli powder, turmeric, a little lemon juice and salt on both sides. Keep the marinated fish aside.
Take a copper pan, or wok, and heat the refined oil. Add the coriander seeds, red and green chillies, carom seeds, ginger-garlic paste, grated coconut, curry leaves and peppercorns, and fry lightly. Cool and grind the mixture into a fine paste in a grinder with a little water and the tamarind pulp.
Keep the mixture aside.
Take another cooking pot, add a little coconut oil. Fry the marinated fish for a minute. Then add the paste and cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt in the end. Garnish with green chillies, curry leaves and grated coconut.
Serve the curry with steamed rice or neer dosa.
A meal for two at Spice Water Trail costs Rs 1,000 (plus taxes). For reservations, contact M-24, M-Block Market, Greater Kailash-1, New Delhi, or call 9811674764.