Mackerel, one of the most reasonably priced fish available in all markets in Oman, is popular in varied seafood cuisine all over the world because of its adaptability to any recipe.
You can simply grill/fry/roast it, after coating it with your favourite marinade, or use the steamed/roasted fillet for cutlets/fishcakes/salads. And, if you dig a bigger kick, there’s nothing like a spicy, tangy mackerel curry. In fact, its a good fish to conduct culinary experiments with and is always available fresh in the market.
Besides being a gourmet’s delight, mackerels are also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids which provide many health benefits, from reducing cardiovascular disease to improving mental health.
Available mostly in sizes between 6-12 inches, they are priced in Oman between RO1.5 – 2 for a kilogram. Hence, when you need to create culinary magic with seafood on a low budget, mackerel is the best choice.
1. Spicy Mackerel Curry
6 medium size mackerels – cleaned
2 onions – chopped finely
2tsp ginger garlic paste
tsp – tamarind paste/pulp
1cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 green chillies – slit
1 cup coconut milk
3tsp red chilli powder
1tsp cumin powder
2tsp coriander powder
1tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 sprigs curry leaves
Cut the cleaned mackerels to suitable pieces, season with salt and ½tsp turmeric powder and set aside.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a fry pan, fry the fish pieces for 2-3 minutes on both sides, and set aside. Now, heat 2tbsp oil in a curry pot (preferably a clay pot), add the curry leaves, onions and green chillies and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the ginger garlic paste and tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes, covered.
Add all the spice powders and fry for a minute. Then add the tamarind paste mixed in 1 cup water, cover the lid, and cook on low flame for 5 minutes. Add one more cup water and let the curry boil on high flame for 2-3 minutes. Now, lower the heat to medium, add the fish pieces, and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Lastly, add the coconut milk, mix lightly and simmer for 2 minutes.
Note: Coconut milk tones down the pungency of the gravy, so the quanity may be reduced/avoided to suit taste.
2. Peppered Mackerel Salad
1 large mackerel – cleaned
A bunch of pink baby radishes (8-10)
500g baby potatoes – washed and halved
4-5tbsp olive oil
½ cup Greek yogurt
Juice of half lemon
Dill sprigs for garnish
½tsp red chilli flakes or
1tsp freshly crushed black pepper
Salt to taste
Mark cuts on both sides of the mackerel and season with salt and red chilli flakes or crushed black pepper. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the fish and grill on a flame or in an oven until well toasted. Remove, cool, and separate the flesh in pieces from the bone. Set aside.
Now in a baking tray, place the baby potatoes and radish, sprinkle salt, drizzle olive oil, toss well, and bake for 8-10 minutes till roasted well. Set aside. Saute the baby spinach with a dash of oil for just about a minute and set aside.
To plate, whip the curds and create a bed on the serving plate, place the spinach potatoes and radish on the layer of curds, top with grilled mackerel flakes and garnish with dill and lemon juice.
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