A Love Letter to Seafood

Dear Creatures of The Deep Sea,
My love affair with you started as a chubby three year old when I had my first taste of batter fried Bombil from my mother’s plate. It was love at first bite. My obsession with you’ll only grew stronger with age, and taste. I remember looking forward to Sunday morning fish shopping sessions with mom – my eyes glistening when I’d see you’ll naked in the fisher woman’s basket, my nose sniffing the aroma you’ll would let out, my fingers itching to hold your slimy scaly bodies.

They say you never forget your first love. Mine was my grandmother’s Kolmi no Paatiyo – a spicy, tomato based prawn dish served as an accompaniment to basic dal rice. And served with a lot of love. I fell in love within my religion first, indulging in the fishy fare that Parsi cuisine offers. From fish coated in chutney and steamed in banana leaves akaPatra ni macchi, to Kolmi na kebabs or deep fried kebabs made with tiny prawns, toTareli Boi ni macchi or masala laden, fried mullet fish – Parsi cuisine is a haven for fish lovers. And that’s where my love affair for you started, dear creatures of the deep sea.

(Clockwise): Tareli Boi, Patra ni macchi, Kolmi no paatiyo

True love is beyond religion.  I truly began to relish you when I was exposed to the magical world of ‘fish thalis’. Coastal Maharashtrian and Goan fish thalis make me thankful to be born and brought up in Mumbai, a city where coastal fish can be found in abundance. Be it your Manglorean gassi form, or deep fried Malvan appearance, or Gomantak fare accompanied by Solkadi – every style has left me awed. I have come to visit you many a times in my favourite sea food restaurants – Highway Gomantak, Saayba, Jai Hind Lunch Home, Sadiccha – though the best fish thalis I have enjoyed have inadvertently been at someone’s home.

(Clockwise): Bombil Fry from Saayba, Surmai Fry Thali from Jai Hind, Home made Surmai Fry, Authenticook’s Pathare Prabhu fish meal

True love knows no boundaries. Trying out cuisines from across the globe only does justice to the versatility and uniqueness that is cooking with seafood. Plump prawns encased in a Har Gaw dimsum, or a luscious seafood Paella from Spain, or thin slices of tuna sashimi, or a Malay seafood Laksa – fish is beautiful in every form. Lucky for us, different world cuisines arriving at Mumbai’s doorstep only means an exposure to different dishes using local and imported seafood. 

(Clockwise): Prawn Dimsums, Sri Lankan Grilled Prawns, Imported Lobster and Prawns, British Fish and Chips

True love is sharing experiences together. Cooking with seafood is when I started understanding how diverse seafood truly is. Each fish behaves differently, and needs to be treated delicately. I can sautee, pan fry, deep fry, poach or bake you, and you turn out delicious every single time. And when I am looking for ingredients to cook you’ll with, I resort to AskMeGrocery – my one stop, online shop for the best of groceries, staples, and household needs.

Yours Truly, Branded Bawi

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