Mangalorean Catholic cuisine is often synonymous with Dukra Maas (Pork) and Sanna (Fluffy idlis with yeasted batter). Pork is cooked in a variety of ways ranging from Bafat, Indad (Vindaloo), Sorpotel or Kaleez Ankiti (pork offal cooked in spices). Mangalorean Catholic cuisine also includes many dishes using mutton (goat meat), beef and a whole range of seafood (fresh catch or dried fish). We particularly love our coconut based fish curries.
A traditional Mangalorean Catholic household begins their day with prayers and a hearty breakfast mostly made of rice – usually rice batter that is steamed (Sanna, Idli, Mutlim) or fried (bhakri, appam, pan polay, polay). Pou (beaten rice) is also part of the breakfast menu in the form of Godaso Pou (beaten rice with fresh coconut & jaggery) and Theek Pou (beaten rice seasoned with spices). Lunch consists mostly of seafood.Fish curry & boiled rice (white/brown/red rice) accompanied by a vegetarian side dish cooked Thel Piao (oil & onion) style or fugad style (vegetables cooked in spices, garnished with grated coconut and seasoned with mustard, garlic & curry leaves). Shredded/chunky mango (or lime) pickle or a papad completes the meal. Sometimes the fish curry is replaced by a simple Daliso Saar which is spiced lentils of a watery consistency. Fish marinated in Meet Mirsang (salt & chilli paste) is fried on a slow flame usually in coconut oil till crisp (if desired) and served.
Boneless fish - 500gm (Ghol or Shark)
Cumin powder - 2 tsp (jeera powder)
Pepper powder - 1-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Lime Juice - 2 tsp
Salt to taste 1 tsp (or to taste)
Water - 1/2 cup
Bread slice - 1 large
Egg whites - 2, beaten - for coating
Oil for shallow frying
To be finely minced
Onions - 2 medium sized
Green chilies - 2-3 small (or to taste)
Ginger - 1-1/2 inch
Coriander leaves - 5 tbsps, finely minced
Mint leaves - 2 tbsps, finely minced
Wash the fish pieces with salt & turmeric (to remove the fishy smell) and allow to drain on a colander. Marinate it with 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp pepper powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, salt & 1 tsp lime juice. Keep aside for 15-20mins.
Finely mince each of the ingredients mentioned under 'To be finely minced'. Heat oil in a non stick pan and fry the ginger, green chillies for a couple of seconds and then add the minced onions and fry till they turn pinkish. Add the minced coriander and mint leaves and fry till you get a nice aroma (takes about 12-15 seconds). Toss in the remaining cumin & pepper powders and lime juice, stir and turn off the flame. Allow this mixture to cool.
Boil/cook the marinated fish pieces with 1/2 cup of water till the pieces are tender and almost all the water has been absorbed/evaporated - a little moisture should be retained. Let the fish not get too dry or else it will lose its juiciness and flavour. Remove onto a plate, allow to cool and mince it finely and evenly (for best results pulse it in a food processor/mixer grinder with a mincing blade).
Transfer the minced fish in a large bowl, add the fried onion mixture and mix well. Adjust salt to taste. Try to shape the mixture into balls - if they don't hold shape, then wet the bread slice lightly (with about 1tbsp water), mash it & add it to this mixture. Form a lemon sized ball and flatten it in the centre of your palm. Continue to make balls until the mixture is used up.
Heat oil in a non stick frying pan, gently dip/coat each cutlet in the egg whites and fry the cutlets on a medium flame till golden brown on both sides.
Serve hot as a meal time accompaniment or as a starter along with ketchup or dip of your choice and a garnish of tomato wedges, onion rings and lime slices.
First timers please note: Do ensure that you check for bones after step#3 even if you have purchased boneless fish. Tiny pieces of broken fish if present can get stuck in the throat while you eat them - totally avoidable!!
If you are using frozen fish make sure it is properly thawed at room temperature or it will leave fishy smelling water into the mixture making it soggy and unsuitable for shaping up into cutlets.
If you are adding more than 1 slice of bread, adjust the spice and salt accordingly.