Indian cuisine has it all – a plethora of delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, a long list of delicacies for all of the carnivores out there, and out-of-the-ordinary coastal cuisine. Indian coastal cuisine is known for its unique seafood dishes. It is a trove of flavors, spices, and cooking techniques.
Coastal regions of India include Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Each part has its own culinary traditions and local ingredients that add to the richness and flavor of the dishes. Indian coastal cuisine offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes from fish, prawns, crabs, lobsters, clams, and squid.
Fish and rice are a staple of the coastal regions. Coconut is one of the main ingredients. It is used in various ways such as fresh coconut, coconut cream, coconut milk, or coconut oil. From flavorsome and tangy curries to crispy and crunchy fried fish, Indian coastal cuisine is a delicious treat for seafood enthusiasts. Below are our top recommendations for dishes of coastal Indian cuisine:
1. Malabari Fish Curry
It is a traditional dish that originated from the Malabar region of Kerala, India. Malabari fish curry is made from pomfret, white fish, or kingfish. In a heated coconut oil pan, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and dried red chilies are tempered followed by grated coconut and other spices. Onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste, and green curry leaves are thoroughly cooked together to make the gravy of the dish. Finally, coconut milk is added to make the gravy more creamy.
Medium-sized fish pieces are added to the gravy and cooked for about 10-15 minutes. Malabari fish curry is garnished with fresh cilantro. It is served with steamed white rice or appam (pancake made from fermented rice batter).
Malabar fish curry is the perfect balance of flavors, mingling the abundance of coconut milk with the tanginess of tomatoes and aromatic spices.
2. Chettinad Prawn Masala
This finger-licking prawn masala dish came from the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu, South India. Chettinad prawn masala is one of the prime and famous shrimp curry dishes as Indians love their curry. Prawns are first washed thoroughly and marinated with salt and turmeric powder. It’s set aside for about 30 minutes.
Fennel seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, black cardamom, cumin seeds, dried red chilies, cinnamon sticks, and cloves are dry roasted and grinded and made into a Chettinad special masala powder. The marinated prawns are added and cooked in the masala for 5 to 7 minutes.
Chettinad prawn masala pairs well with steamed white rice, dosa, idli, or roti. Chettinad prawn masala is fiery, sapid, and loaded with flavor.
3. Prawn Biryani
Prawn biryani is dum-style biryani. It is the ultimate treat for all biryani lovers. Prawns are marinated with ginger garlic paste, yogurt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cinnamon stick, clove, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
The marinated prawns are layered with semi-cooked boiled rice topped with ghee, fried onions, and saffron water and cooked over low heat. The result is tasty biryani. It is served with mint chutney raita and kachumber salad.
4. Goan Fish Fry
Goan fish fry is one of the best-fried seafood dishes in Indian coastal cuisine. Goan fish fry is made with fish fillets like kingfish, pomfret, or tilapia. The fillets are marinated with ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, paprika, tamarind paste, and lemon juice.
Fish fillets are coated with a mixture of semolina, rice flour, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt and shallow fried on both sides until golden brown and crispy. It can serve as an appetizer or an entree. The fried fish is served with fresh lime wedges and chutney. Goan fish fry is known for its crunchiness, bold flavors, tangy marinade, and crispy texture.
Indian coastal cuisine is a lip-smacking combination of exquisite flavors. If you are a true seafood fan, exploring Indian coastal cuisine will be an exciting culinary journey for your palate.