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Goan sour and spicy pomfret curry (Paplet ambotik)

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

An ambotik curry, derived from the words, "ambo" meaning sour and "tik" meaning spicy is a curry from the Goa. This special curry is almost always made with seafood, the most popular being salted shark. In this case I have used sustainably caught pomfret, and Indian subspecies found in the Indian Ocean, though members of the species are found in all major oceans. As a substitute for pomfret you can use pompano or butter fish. This curry is super simple to make and pops with bright colors and flavors. The chefs uses a local berry called kokum, for sourness and lots of chilies for spice. The curry should be sour and moderately spicy, if not very spicy. I served this with white rice, the best accompaniment for the thin curry. This is a beautiful cookbook with traditional recipes that have been given a modern twist. The recipes always turn out delicious.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the curry paste:

6-8 dried Kashmiri chilies, or to taste

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup grated coconut, frozen is fine

10 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon ginger paste

Water, as needed

2 tablespoons oil

2-3 cups water

8 kokum rinds

2 large pomfrets, cut across the bone, curry cut

Salt to taste

Cilantro, minced for garnish.

To make the curry paste: toast the red chilies and cumin seeds individually till fragrant and lightly toasted. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee mill.

Add the ground powders to the rest of the ingredients for the curry paste and purée to a fine paste, as smooth as possible. Add just enough water to allow the ingredients to slide down the sides of the blender, you do not want the paste too runny. You may need to run the blender for a short while to get the coconut to become smooth. Set aside.

Heat the oil to a sauce[an, that is large enough to contain the fish and curry. Sauté the curry paste and kokum rinds on medium to low heat till it dried up and turns a bright orange color, about 5 minutes. Add the water and salt and bring to a simmer. Ad the fish and in gently and simmer for 8-10 minutes, till the fish is cooked through. Taste the curry and adjust salt and spices as needed.

Serve in a deep curry bowl topped with minced cilantro and plain white rice.

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