Bombil or Bombay Duck as it's commonly known is a fish found in the coastal waters off India and is quite a popular menu item both in it's fresh and dried form. This spicy and tangy recipe is an old favourite of mine that is made using the dried version of this fish. For an interesting back story on how this fish got the name Bombay Duck, please refer to this Wiki article: Bombay Duck - Wikipedia
200 grams dried bombil
2 large onion (chopped fine)
3 tomatoes (sliced)
4 small potatoes (diced)
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste (ginger/garlic recipe)
3 - 4 green chilies (chopped fine)
4 - 5 kokum (bindi solam)
1 - 2 tablespoon vinegar
Fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Prep your ingredients and spices to save time while cooking.
2. Cut the head and tail off the bombil, remove the fins and then cut the bombil into pieces about an inch or so in length. Rinse the pieces under running water and then soak them for around 15 to 30 minutes in a mix of water and a little vinegar. This will help to reduce the overwhelming smell and saltiness of the dried fish. Once the bombil has been soaked, rinse them one more time. You can then choose to carefully cut them open and remove the central bone to save yourself the hassle of removing it while eating, or leave it as is. You might also want to check for any leftover fins that you may have missed in the initial cleaning.
3. Grind the coriander and cumin along with the turmeric into a fine powder.
4. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil (coconut oil, if you have it) in a pan and add the chopped onions to it.
5. Add in the chopped green chilies and stir fry on high heat for a minute or two.
6. Add in the ginger/garlic paste next and continue to fry for a few minutes.
7. Add the ground spices once the onions start to change colour.
8. Add the sliced tomatoes to the mix and fry until the tomatoes release their juices.
9. Add the drained bombil pieces to the mix.
10. The diced potatoes go in next.
11. Add the kokum pieces along with 1/2 cup of water. Mix it all together and cook for around 20 minutes until the potatoes are completely cooked. Add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to the chilli fry just before turning off the heat. Note: There should be no need for any added salt in this dish as the bombil should provide enough salt by themselves. You can add some if you feel the need to do so.
12. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro. This meal can be had as a side dish with rice and curry or by itself with some fresh bread/pao from the oven.
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