Ghol Fish Ambot Tik

Ghol Fish AKA the Blackspotted Croaker or ‘the fish with a heart of gold’ because of its heart that’s most medicinally valued. This, I now know after I Googled for what exactly I was supposed to cook. Poor guy was brought home in pieces. Not knowing how it actually looks or tastes or the texture after cooking, I opted for the safest bet…AMBOT TIK.

AMBOT TIK finds a very special place in Goan cuisine, a curry that’s a marriage of the two of my beloved flavours – AMBOT which means sour and TIK which means spicy in Konkani. To cook AMBOT TIK, you need a kind of fish with minimum bones, for. eg., Shark. Ghol being completely boneless was a suitable candidate. The curry is a perfect blend of hot and sour and imparts all those amazing flavours to the fish making it succulent and delish. It’s a perfect companion to steamed rice, appams or paav (Goan bread). Cook extra if you do, because the curry tastes all the more better the next day and you may want to mop up the last bits.
My mantra to when you’re lost… cook AMBOT TIK. It’s an undisputed winner.

Ingredients:

For the paste:
10 dry Kashmiri chilies or 2 heaped tsps of Kashmiri chili powder
10 cloves of Garlic. Make sure they aren’t too tiny
1 medium size onion, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8 cloves
4 black pepper corns
Cinnamon stick, about an inch. Crush it a bit, so it blends well in the grinder
2 tbsps tamarind paste or tamarind extract

For the curry:
500 gms of Ghol fish
2 medium size onions, finely chopped
2 tsps Vinegar or Lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:
1. Wash the fish, marinate with salt and leave it aside.
2. Grind all the ingredients for the paste with very little water to make a smooth, thick paste.
3. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add onions and saute till light brown.
4. Add the ground spice paste and saute on low till the raw smell goes away and oil starts separating from the sides.
5. Add water till you get the desired thickness.
6. Stir and bring it to boil.
7. Once the curry boils, slowly slide the marinated pieces.
8. Add salt and sugar as per taste and let it simmer on low till the fish is cooked and tender.
9. Do the taste test for sourness. If you need the curry to be more sour, spoon in teeny bit vinegar or lime juice and simmer for couple of minutes.
10. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve hot with steamed rice / bread or Goan paav.

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