If you ask any Goan what they would like to have in their meal, he will say “Xitt-Codi” means fish curry rice.
The yellow orange coloured curry cooked with variety of fishes in large quantities in Goan houses, so that if anything left for the day can be consumed on next day, like any Indian know anything cooked yesterday taste better on next day.
In Goa, People greet friends, with the question – “What was the curry today?” What it actually means is, “What kind of fish did you have in today’s curry?”
Xitt- Codi is staple food of Goa, saunter into any Goan house you can see day’s catch fish being cooked in coconut curry.
Fish curry is primarily made of spice paste of grated fresh coconut, garlic, ginger, dry coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies, as souring agents, Goan generally use Bin Sol/ Kokkam or Tamarind pulp.
Variety of fishes which are being used by Goans for making curry are Surmai (king fish), Pomfret and Rawas (Indian salmon), to smaller catch such as Anchovies, Sardines, Mackerel etc.
One ingredient which takes Goan fish curry to another level is Tephal or Tirphal, a variety of the Chinese Sichuan pepper. The tiny dried berries lend a distinctive flavour that’s hard to miss. A bunch of green berries looks too delectable for a spice. In fact, the temptation is to bite into them. Yield to it, and you will not be able to taste anything all day—the sizzling sensation in the mouth will keep you salivating profusely for hours.
In Goan kitchen the pungent Tephal or Sichuan pepper Zanthoxylum rhetsa) is as indispensable as salt. Without it the signature fish curries of the region would not taste right.
Another important ingredient is Byadgi Chilli which is a famous in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is named after the town of Byadgchi which is located in the Haveri district of Karnataka Byadgi Chilli oil, oleoresin is extracted from these chilies & is used in the preparation of nail polish and lipsticks. Byadagi Chilli is also known for its deep red colour and is less spicy and is used in many food preparations of South India & Goa.
No two Goan homes will ever make fish curry in the exact same way one will find slight variations in proportions of ingredients, so that no matter where you eat it, you will enjoy the essence of Xitt Codi, but with subtle difference.
Traditionally, Goan eat fish curry with Goan boiled red rice. It tastes just as good with any plain white rice as well. Accompaniments could be anything from lightly sautéed vegetables with generous amounts of grated fresh coconut, fried fish or prawns or shell fish, spicy Goan sausages, taking the experience to a another level.
Famous immortal Konkani Bakib Borkar says :
“Please Sir, God of Death
Don’t make it my turn today, not today
There’s fish curry for dinner”
Let’s unfold the wraps of ingredients & Prepare Traditional Goan Fish Curry
Chef Main Ingredient:
4-5 Tephal or Triphal/ or Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum rhetsa) ( Enhance fish curry taste )
8 Red dried Byadagi or Kashmiri Chilies deseeded
6 Slices of fish (King Fish/mackerel)
2 Green Chilies de-seeded
1 Medium sized Onion, sliced
2 Cups Scraped Coconut (tightly packed)
1 Table spoon Coriander Seeds or powder
1 Table spoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tea spoon Mustard powder
6 Garlic Cloves
1 Inch piece Ginger
1 Tea Spoon Turmeric powder
Tamarind pulp (lemon size ball)
3 Cups Warm Water
3 Table Spoon Cooking Oil
Salt to taste
- Clean fish cut pieces under fresh flowing water and toss fish with salt & turmeric in medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins to marinate.
- Soak 8 Byadagi or Kashmiri chili in warm water.
- Also soak separately lemon size Tamarind ball in warm water to make pulp.
- Meanwhile prepare the Masala for fish curry
- Grind together Scraped Coconut, 1 Medium onion, Coriander seeds or powder, cumin seeds, Garlic cloves, Ginger piece, turmeric powder, peppercorn, mustard powder add water and make fine thick paste.
- Transfer the paste to bowl and rinse the grinder with water and keep aside rinsed water for adding to curry later.
- Heat 3 tablespoon oil in deep Pot and add thick paste and sauté the gravy.
- Add reserved rinsed water kept aside & add additional water to paste depending upon how much thin gravy you want.
- Add Green Chilli, Tefla, & tamarind paste to the curry.
- Mix all the ingredients and bring the gravy to boil.
- At this stage you can add fish pieces to curry and do not stir otherwise fish pieces will break.
Gordon’s Ramsay say right; although the fish is generally added right at the end of the cooking process, it’s best to use something quite robust so it doesn’t fall apart in the pan.
- Let the curry to boil again and stir lightly.
- Generally fish require 10 min to cook now you can taste gravy & adjust salt to taste.
Your Authentic Goan Fish Curry is ready to be served with steaming hot rice.
Important TIP :
- 1 Cup = 300 ml size cup
- There is a difference in Tablespoon and Teaspoon, read the instructions carefully otherwise you will spoil the taste.