For many of the Indian states, seafood is an important part of the daily diet. The sea is a natural larder, teeming with all manner of tasty treats – from juicy prawns to chunky trevally. This being India, where an abundance of landscapes and climates provide a wide range of versatile ingredients throughout the country, you can be sure that this larder is put to good use.
In terms of preparing seafood, there are a myriad of mouth-watering Indian recipes on offer – just look at the menus of some of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants. Whether fried, baked, cooked in a gravy or steamed inside plantain leaves – every region has its own preferences and individual families have their own specific adaptations of those recipes. It is said that the hilsa fish can be prepared in 108 different ways!
So, to cut down your time trawling through these numerous potential seafood suppers, we have done all the work and picked our top five recommendations. Enjoy!
Tandoori fish tikka
This recipe is a staple in the seafood eateries of Mumbai. It is commonly made with pomfret – a flattened fish with flesh that absorbs the marinade well and showcases the smoky flavour of the hot, tandoor oven to perfection. Marinate the fish in thick yoghurt seasoned with minced garlic; ginger; a variety of spices including cumin, chilli, white pepper; and chopped cilantro. Then thread the chunks onto skewers and set them under a hot grill for 10 to 12 minutes.
Goan prawn caldinho
Caldinho is one of Goa’s specialities – delicate spices provide a fragrant and aromatic coconut curry, usually cooked with seafood or vegetables. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and spices are stir-fried with fat, king prawns and simmered with coconut milk and tamarind paste. Prawns only take a few minutes to cook, turning pink in the heat. Serve with chopped green chillies and fresh cilantro.
Chettinhad meen kuzhamb
This fish curry is a trademark dish of Chettinhad in Tamil Nadu. This region’s cuisine tends to be marked by a liberal usage of fennel, chillies and peppercorns. However, you can expect all the flavours of the Indian spice rack to make an appearance in this dish. A firm white fish, such as pomfret or cod, is chopped into chunks or steaks and cooked up with diced tomatoes, spices, tamarind paste and a dollop of coconut cream for added texture. Serve this vibrant, red dish with fluffy white rice
Patra ni machhi
This recipe is a firm favourite of Parsi cuisine and particularly popular during times of celebration. A flat fish like sea bass is smeared in a thick paste made up of spring onions, coriander, grated coconut, chillies, garlic, turmeric, cumin and lemon juice. The traditional method of cooking this fish is to tie it up in a banana leaf parcel and allow it to steam – this helps the flesh remain juicy. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon.
Marathi kolambi bhaat
For a filling meal, try this prawn and rice preparation, all the way from the western state of Maharashtra. A fragrant biryani of basmati rice blends with a masala mix of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cassia and coconut. The end result is a richly coloured, aromatic dish that provides satisfaction with every bite.