Over the years we have tasted a lot of fish curries, recipes from across regions have been tried and tested in our kitchen but in the end we love going back to our own cuisine. In the past decade or so we have mostly stuck to family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the other and those that we have grown up enjoying. Today's recipe is one such gem from our repertoire of Mangalorean fish recipes that has a striking similarity with its Goan counterpart - the Ambotik or Ambot Tik which is nothing but 'Sour & Spice' or simply put 'Hot & Sour'. Ambot means 'sour' and 'tik' or 'theek' stands for spicy. So there, I decoded the obvious for you :-) Some Goan/Konkan recipes call for teppal (triphal/sichuan pepper) but it is pretty much non existent in our Mangalorean curries. You may add it if you want but it will change the flavour as teppal has a strong aroma and flavour.
The amshi thikshi curry is best suited for whitecheek shark (also known as thaato in Konkani or Thaatey in Tulu, mooshi in Marathi and moosi in Gujarati) as this fish has a pretty strong flavour on its own and this gravy base counteracts it the best. You can also try this same gravy base to prepare other types of fish like kite fish (vagolem), croacker/jew fish (dhadiyare) or even mackerels (bangda) and sardines (tharle).
If you are the kind who loves spicy curries then increase the number of chillies and simply enjoy it. This is a stunning dish when eaten with piping hot red or white rice with an accompaniment of a simple vegetable sauteed thel piao (oil and onion) style.
Do check the full fish and seafood index here
Thato Amshi Thikshi ~ Mangalorean Style Whitecheek Shark In a Hot & Sour Curry
Prep time: 15 mins (does not include time taken to clean the fish) | Cooking time: 10-12 mins | Serves 3-4
For the masala:
- 1/2 kg whitecheek shark (baby shark/thato/mushi/moosi), cleaned and cut into pieces * see notes
- 2 small flakes of garlic with skin, crushed
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- oil for frying
- salt to taste
- 4-5 long dry red chillies (Bedgi) (deseeded to tone down the spice)
- 4-5 peppercorns (adjust to taste)
- 3 fat flakes of garlic
- 1 marble size ball of tamarind
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 medium big sized onion
1. Clean the fish in salt & turmeric - if you are using baby shark it will have a strong aroma, so make sure to clean it well. Drain and keep aside till required.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a very fine paste using a little water. Transfer the masala into a bowl and rinse the grinding jar with a cup of water.
3. Heat oil in a pan and toss in the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering reduce the heat completely and add the curry leaves, crushed garlic and fry them till the garlic turns light golden.
4. Add the ground masala and fry until the oil leaves the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes on a medium high heat. Then add the reserved water, salt to taste and bring the gravy to a boil. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding a little more water if required but don't make it too thin.
5. When the gravy comes to a rolling boil add the cleaned fish pieces and give it one boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from heat (the fish will continue to cook in the steam). Serve hot with piping hot rice.
1. The same curry can be made for other types of fish and seafood such as kite fish (vagolem/ray fish), croacker/jew fish (dhadiyare/koddai), prawns and crabs