Kismur is a Goan prawn and coconut salad of sorts. It’s not your typical salad with dressing, but its more like a stir fry that is served at room temperature. And I use the term stir fry very loosely here as the ingredients are all sauteed before tossing together. In Goa, sun dried fish is very commonly found and used. In the summer, when fresh fish is abundant, they are prepped, salted and sun dried and this fish can then be stored for months at room temperature. You can find big mounds of dried fish and prawns at any Goan market. This dried fish is best purchased in the summer when everything is nice and dry. The fish is then stored for use during the monsoon, when fresh fish is not easily available. A lot of Goan homes serve this dried fish (also called salt fish because of the way it is cured) along with a Sorak (plain Goan curry) or a dal or a vegetable curry as a condiment. You can’t really eat as much of the salt fish as you would fresh fish but it makes for a very tasty accompaniment to a vegetarian meal. Dried prawns on the other hand, are used to make warm chilly fries / stir fries, salads and this Kismur. Now that I’ve found good dried prawns, I see a chilly fry coming up in the near future.
But today, I’m going to share with you a quick and simple version of Kismur. It is ridiculously simple to make and if you’re anything like me, you will absolutely love it. Please note, that since this is almost like a salad, the quantities listed below are approximates of what I used.
Goan Dried Prawn Kismur
1/3 cup dried prawns
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated coconut
1 red / green chilly, split in quarters lengthwise
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
Lemon wedges, to serve
Wash the prawns under cold running water and drain.
Dry roast them on a pan till crispy again, stirring frequently, so that it doesn’t burn.
Tip the prawns onto a plate and set aside.
Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat in a pan.
Add the chopped onion and saute for a minute or so till the onions have only slightly warmed through.
Add the roasted prawns and stir.
Now add the chilly, coconut, turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt. Mix well.
Place into a serving bowl and serve with some wedges of lime for those who might want to squeeze some lime over.
Serve at room temperature with some steaming hot rice and curry. (Fish curry recipe to follow. Watch this space.)
Goan Crab Curry
We use a roasted masala (spice mix) for this curry. So there is an extra step of roasting a few ingredients before grinding, but it doesn’t take too long and that added step does a whole lot of good stuff for your curry. It adds amazing depth of flavor and your curry just wouldn’t be the same without roasting the masala.
So if you’re craving some good Goan food, try this curry. It took us right back to Goa. And until we visit Goa again, we’ll just have to make do with little culinary gems like this one.
Goan Crab Curry
3 Blue Swimmer Crabs (or any other crabs of your choice)
8 curry leaves (curry patta)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 fresh green chillies, slit
5-6 pieces of Kokum*** (See note below)
1 tbsp oil (We use olive oil for all our cooking, you can use whatever mild cooking oil you have)
Salt, to taste
For the Masala (Spice Paste) –
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen will both work. If using frozen, let it thaw before roasting)
10 Kashmiri Chillies (See note below), discard stalks
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric powder
8-10 peppercorns (this will add heat so use about 6-8 for a milder curry and around 10 if you want it hotter)
1 tbsp oil
1 tomato, roughly chopped
Prep the crabs, sprinkle a little salt (about 1/2 tsp) on it, toss it in a bowl to salt the crabs well and set aside.
Roasting the Masala –
Heat a large pan / tava on medium heat.
Drizzle the oil in the pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute till it softens a bit.
Add the coconut and stirring frequently, roast it till it gets fragrant and the color starts changing. Lower the heat, if needed, to ensure the coconut and the spices don’t burn.
Next add the Kashmiri chillies, coriander and cumin seeds and stir with the rest of the ingredients for about another 30 seconds.
Now add the turmeric powder, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon to the rest of the spices in the pan and roast for about another 30 seconds to a minute, till it all gets fragrant and heated through.
Take off the heat and transfer to a large plate to cool.
Once it has cooled to room temperature, grind the roasted spice and coconut mix with the chopped tomato and a little water to a fine, smooth paste in the blender.
For the curry –
Take a large pot, preferably with a slightly wide base that you will be able to fit all the crabs into.
Heat a tbsp of oil and add the finely chopped onion to the pan.
Saute till it has softened and is golden brown.
Add the spice paste and stir through. Let if fry off for about 2 minutes.
Add the Kokum at this stage.
Next add the crabs stir to coat with the spices.
Now add a little water to achieve the desired consistency for your curry.
If you don’t have kokum and are using apple cider vinegar, add the vinegar, to taste, at this stage.
Let it come to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes (Please note, this time will vary depending on the size of the crabs.)
Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. At this stage if you find the curry too thick you can add a little more water to thin it down a little and continue to cook till it comes back to a boil.
If you find your curry too thin and want it thicker, continue cooking on a medium high heat till you get the desired thickness, stirring every now and then to ensure the curry doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.
Serve hot with some boiled rice or bread.
– Kokum is an Goan souring agent (dried pieces of the Indian plum) using in cooking. You will find it in any Indian grocery store. If you don’t have any on hand, just use some Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste.
– Kashmiri Chillies are dried red chillies. These are mild in flavor. You can substitute any other mild dried chillies or chilly powder.
Goan Fish Cutlets
Fish cutlets are one of my favorite seafood recipes to make and to eat. I love seafood and I also happen to love cutlets. They are so versatile. You can serve them as a snack / appetizer (they go so well with a chilled beer), as a meal with a side of chips and / or a salad or you can use them to make a fantastic burger. I have shared a recipe for fish cutlets previously using fresh fish. You can find that one here. This recipe is fairly similar with the exception of one main difference. This one uses canned tuna.
Now, I love my fish fresh. I believe that fresh is the best way to enjoy fish. But yesterday, I found myself longing to eat some fish cutlets but didn’t have any fresh fish. Now that was just not going to do. So I put my thinking hat on and eventually decided to try to make cutlets using canned tuna instead. I had heard that some people make their cutlets with canned fish, but I’d never tried it out for myself. I happened to have a few cans of tuna chunks in the pantry, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
The cans I used were tuna chunks in spring water. You need to make sure you drain the tuna well. I didn’t know what to expect and found that I had to use a little extra egg for binding but in the end I was delighted with the results. The cutlets were delicious. It took a fraction of the time to make compared to if you were to use fresh fish because the fish has to be cooked and deboned. So in all, I was extremely pleased with this attempt.
The type of canned tuna will determine how much egg is needed. I would recommend starting out using one egg and if you can shape the cutlets easily without them falling apart, then you are good to go. If not add more egg to the mix.
Goan Fish Cutlets
Yields: 12 cutlets
4 cans of tuna (I used 95g cans of chunk tuna in spring water) (Or 1 can x 495g Tuna)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or you can use paste)
A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
2 slices of bread
Bread crumbs, to coat the cutlets
Oil for frying
Drain the tuna thoroughly and flake it in a large mixing bowl.
Soak the bread slices in water for about 5 minutes and squeeze thoroughly. Crumble the bread as fine as you can and add it to the bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the panko bread crumbs and the oil to the bowl.
Place a layer of the breadcrumbs on a dry plate.
Using the fish mix, shape into cutlets and carefully coat on both sides with the bread crumbs.
Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat and carefully place the coated cutlets on the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat till golden brown on one side.
Then carefully flip over to cook to a golden brown on the other side too. Add another spoon of oil to the pan as needed.
Repeat till the batter is over and all the cutlets are fried.
If you enjoy a good cutlet, try out some of these recipes –