This blog post is my humble attempt to share some of the lesser known aspects of Konkan with those curious folks who know little about Konkan. By no means, I can claim to be an erudite on Konkan and neither is this post an exhaustive account. I intend to share some of the anecdotes here that would make for an interesting read.
Konkan coast is the jagged subset of western coastline of India, comprising Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. According to an Indian Mythology, after slaughtering the Kshatriya clan for 21 times, Parshurama met Lord Rama. Rama, the Maryada Purushottam-an ideal person (ideal king, son, brother and husband) that he was, he helped regain Parshurama’s faith in Kshatriya clan. Parshurama threw his bloodstained axe into the sea but the sea recoiled in horror and drew back revealing a new coast now known as the Konkan and the Malabar (http://devdutt.com/articles/indian-mythology/the-axe-of-parshuram.html)
Anciently the Konkan was broadly known as Sapta-Konkan- meaning “piece of earth”, “corner of earth”, or “piece of corner”, derived from Sanskrit words: Koṇa (कोण, corner) + kaṇa (कण, piece) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konkan ).
The land of Konkan is the dwelling for many more ethnic communities like Malvani, Aagri, Koli, Maratha, Kunbi, Brahmins and Bhandari (a community to which I belong). People from my community-Bhandari- who originally belonged to Goa, migrated to places like Karwar, Malvan and Ratnagiri after Portuguese invasion. Similarly, there’s another community that had to bear the brunt during this invasion, known as Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. They are inevitable part of rich culture of Konkan! GSBs proudly call themselves as “the only Brahmins who eat fish” and called their gotra as “Matsya Gotra”. I recollect many of my GSB friends launching an all-out attack on my tiffin box, particularly on Wednesday, that being the only day in the week when Mom would pack my lunch box with some sea food delicacies.
Here’s a fascinating story I read about the origin of Saraswat Brahmins Though I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this story but the story seemed to interesting that I am compelled to share it. This story is part of an interesting book-“Gods, Heroes and their Story Tellers: Intangible cultural heritage of South India” . The story goes like this, Rishi Dadhichi undergoes severe Tapas in his hermitage on the banks of River Saraswati. As usual God of all devas, the mighty Indra bogged down by his own insecurities, perceives Dadhichi’s strict penance as a threat to his own position. He then resorts to his own dirty trick and sends his most beautiful nymph –Apsara Alambusa to break Dadhichi’s atonement.
The poor hermit falls prey to the beauty of Alambusa and has a seminal discharge in the river Saraswati. River Saraswati bears this semen and gives birth to a male child who is named later “Saraswata” by his father Dadhichi. Saraswata gets boon by Rishi Dadhichi that he would teach Vedas to 60,000 Munis-hermits and revive Vedic chanting which would bring rains and nurture the earth.
Later Saraswata grows up, and when he is in the process of teaching Vedas to 5000 Rishis including him, a calamity strikes when human race bears a witness to 12 yearlong draught period. Paucity of food compels each of those Rishis barring Saraswata to go scrounging for food and the opportunity to learn Vedas goes begging.
All this while, Saraswata does not stops chanting the Vedic mantras. To satiate his hunger, some invisible force guides him to consume fishes from the Saraswati River, so that he could continue to live and continue the Vedic chanting. Saraswata obliges and continues his learning of Vedas. His dedication and resolve pleases rain God Varun who showers his bounties on earth. Earth flourishes again and Saraswata teaches the Vedas to hermits. That’s how Saraswata Brahmin community is born. Hence they are Brahmins who eat fishes!
Sounds really interesting!!
Today the recipe that we are sharing with you is one of the homely fish curry of any GSB family, in Goa- Made with Bangda ( Mackerel ) and the unconventional masala blend that includes Udid dal ( skinless black gram dal ) , methi seeds ( fenugreek seeds ) and soaked raw rice. As Konkani belt extends into Maharashtra, this recipe is also widely prepared in Malvan which is a subset of Konkan in Maharashtra.
Do prepare this fish curry and relish with steamed rice and remember to share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Try out some amazingly delicious Konkani recipes
Are you a sea food lover?Yes? Then you must check our Sea Food recipes
- 450 gms Mackerel (cut into medium sized pieces)
- Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 8 Dried Red Chilies (4 Byadgi and 4 Spicy chili variety)
- ¾th Cup=90 gms Grated Fresh Coconut
- 180 gms Onions (sliced lengthwise)- Half quantity will be used in tadka and remaining half in masala
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- ½ tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
- 1 tsp Rice (wash and drain)
- 2 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
- 1 small marble sized Tamarind Ball
- ½ tsp Black Peppercorns
- We will start with fish marination. Add Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, salt and lemon juice. Coat the fish pieces in this marination. Let fish rest in this marination for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, we will make a masala paste. Heat 1 tbsp Oil in a pan. Add dried red Chilies. When an aroma emanates from the pan, take chilies off the heat.
- Similarly, we will roast other ingredients: Roast Whole Coriander Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Black Peppercorns Urad Dal and Rice.
- Add Coconut and roast until it turn brown in color. Fry half the quantity of Onions until Onions turn brown in color. As Onions turn brown, take it off the heat. Allow fried ingredients to cool down.
- Grind into a fine paste. Add Tamarind and grind into a fine paste using enough water.
- Heat 4 tbsp Oil in a pan. Fry remaining Onions, until Onions become soft. Add Masala Paste.
- Add Salt to taste. Bhunao until Oil oozes out from the masala. You may add some water while Bhunao.
- Now, add lukewarm water. You may adjust the consistency of gravy. We have added 2-1/2 Cup of water. Let the Curry simmer.
- Reduce the heat and add Bangda pieces and cook covered on low heat.
- Fish gets cooked in 5-7 mins. Overcooking may cause disintegration. Switch off the heat and serve.
- Serve with Brown rice and Bangda Fry.
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