We rarely ventured anywhere near the Fish market in Salalah, Oman – the small city I grew up in. Mainly because of the smell of seafood that wafted around the place. But my dad, being a true blue Mangalorean, would go in, buy the choicest of seafood – usually Surmai or Bangda – come home, clean them and then give them to my mum to prepare and cook.
I preferred Surmai over Bangda mainly because the latter is strong and full of bones. But as my palate developed, I realised that ‘strong’ was a flavour. Slowly my love for seafood grew, and I started going back to my roots, and for someone who has been trying to document my mother cuisine – the food of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins – I’ve come to realise that we have very few traditional fish dishes, with Bangda being the preferred fish.
One of them is the Bangda Amshe Tikshe – Mackerel cooked in a sour and spicy gravy. It’s a simple gravy, made using dried Byadgi chillies, garlic, and tamarind. A unique ingredient here is teppal – or tirphal – an ingredient that counters the effects of oily fish like Mackerel. The recipe is fairly simple, not requiring much to create a flavourful, spicy and tangy gravy.
Bangda Amshe Tikshe
- 2 bangda fish, marinated with turmeric and salt
- Dried Byadgi chillies – ½ cup
- Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Tamarind – 1 supari size
- Tirphal/Teppal – 1 tsp crushed
- Salt to taste
- Coconut oil – 4 tbsp
- Garlic – ½ a bulb
- Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Break the chillies into half and put them into the pan.
- Add 2 cloves of garlic to this and sauté till you can hear the chillies crisp up.
- Set this aside and grind to a smooth paste with the garlic, tamarind and a little water to make a smooth paste.
- Put this back into the pan and add some water. Cook till it reaches the consistency you want.
- Now add the mackerel to this, cover it and cook on low flame – tossing in between to ensure it is coated evenly.
- On the side – heat up some more coconut oil and add ½ a bulb of garlic after crushing it lightly. Fry until caramelised and golden brown. Once your fish is just cooked, pour this over the dish.
- Lightly crush the teppal and add to this.
- Serve with hot rice.
Watch this recipe here – Bangda Amshe Tikshe
Shanti Petiwala is a home cook & food chronicler. She has been blogging about food under her brand Riot of Flavors since 2012. Shanti is a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin – and has been evangelising the community’s food through her brand. She conducts pop-ups focusing on her favourite recipes from the community and was also the co-host of Thoy Stories, an Instagram Live series that was created during the COVID-19 Lockdown.
Shanti started exploring Bohri food when she got married, and learned how to make it when she moved to Dubai for a couple of years. Her keen interest in the cuisine and its relevance to key festivals and occasions within the community has materialised into several posts, articles and anecdotes on her blog and Instagram profile.
Armed with all her learnings, she started the Riot of Flavors Home Kitchen, an erstwhile weekend home delivery food service, which included her personal recipes and dishes from the Chitrapur Saraswat and Bohri communities. Today, she organises pop-ups at her home once a month to showcase the beauty of both cuisines.
Translations and detailed descriptions are provided to give a better understanding of the story to people from different cultural backgrounds across the globe.