Nobody will ever believe but it's true. Right here in our local China Town, I spotted "Bombil" - Bombay Duck. As I stopped in my tracks, Gudiya couldn't believe her eyes too. "Do we eat ducks?" - she asked me. Bombay Duck is confusing - it's not really a duck, it's just a fish found near Mumbai coast. But I couldn't dare buy this fish in our China town. It was frozen - as frozen as cardboard. After coming to United States, I have compromised and bought many a frozen fish, thawed and even enjoyed to some extent - albeit while comparing the fresh, abundant seafood we get in Mumbai. However, my eyes are used to seeing fresh "bombil". I just couldn't buy those frozen ones.
But they reminded me of a delicious curry my friend's mom used to make. Luckily, I even had a recipe. I substituted smelts and made this "kalwan".
CKP Style Bombay Duck Curry
15-20 Smelts or about 8 bombil/Bombay duck
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
*Green Masala Paste
Grind to fine paste
1/4 cup cilantro
4-5 green chilies
4 cloves garlic
Grind to a fine paste
1/2 cup freshly scraped coconut
1/2 tbsp. oil
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed leaving each clove in tact
3-4 green chilies, slit
1. Clean and rinse smelts.
2. Marinate with salt, spices and green masala paste.
3. Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add garlic cloves. Sauté till they turn a shade darker.
4. Place marinated smelts carefully along with marinade. Add 1 cup water.
5. Add coconut paste.
6. Bring the curry to boil.
7. As it starts boiling, add slit green chilies.
8. Switch off the gas.
9. Serve with plain rice.
1. Bombil or Bombay Ducks are used in the original recipe.
2. If you like, add 1/2 tsp tamarind pulp.