Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bambooke Bombil

This is a funny name if read in hindi it literally sounds like bombil from the bamboo. However to the Kolis Bambooke bombil means half dried Bombay duck. May be it got its name because Bombay ducks are infact dried on the bamboo. You might have seen them in Hindi films showing koli song and dance numbers. The bamboos are tied to form ladder like stilts called "Valandi" on which the Bombay ducks and other eel family fish are dried. If you go to any fishing village in and around Mumbai you will see them along the coastline. These Bambooke bombils are never sold in the market. It is strictly Koli trade family recipe if you have to taste it you got to get yourself an invitation from a Koli family or follow the recipe I have given here. This half dried bombay duck curry is very very tasty.

2-3 fresh Bombils
4 garlic pods
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups water

To make bambooke bombil:
Clean the bombils, remove the guts and head and dry in the oven at 150 degree Celsius/ 302 degree Fahrenheit till transluscent on the grill. I am not mentioning time as this varies with the size. Do not use basting of any kind. If you have the opportunity to make real bambooke bombil dry fresh ones in a cane basket for a day in direct sunlight. They would be ready to use for dinner. Ignore the smell though ;).

1 teaspoon Koli masala
OR 1/2 teaspoon garam masala + 1/2 chili powder + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2-3 garcinia indica
1 handful coriander leaves
2 inch piece of coconut
1 green chili
salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste with very little water and keep the masala aside. Now the special requirement for this dish is that it has to be made in a shallow vessel called lagadi/ degchi. The reason for this is that bombil is a very delicate fish/ eel and it melts away in the curry if stirred or overcooked. You might end up with a gravy with just bones if this is over done.

So now first heat a shallow pan. Add oil. It should send up a swirl of smoke. Crush the garlic lightly and add it. Fry for 5 secs and then add the ground masala paste. Fry for 2 mins then add the Bambooke bombil that you made beforehand into the pan. Lay them gently in the pan add water just to cover the bombil. Boil for just 10 mins. DO NOT STIR AT ALL. Serve with care not to break the cooked Bambooke bombil. Your entire neighbourhood would know you made Bambooke bombil curry so try this recipe at your own risk.


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