As a child, till I was a young adult, dad would take me to Sasson docks at Colaba every Sunday morning and mind you for me it was a very unearthly hour then 5:30 am: I would literally drag my feet and with a frown sit in the car and leave. Somehow I have never managed to sleep in a car, have never figured out the reason till today.
Well, with the windows down, the cool early morning breeze would be refreshing. All the way from Bandra to Colaba early in the morning, the drive would be peaceful. Back then the traffic was not that bad as its today. As we would be close to the dock the stench of the fish would just get into my head. We had a Fiat car and in the back seat of the car there would be two huge ice boxes kept.
The smell of the fish came in stronger as we went closer and I would gear myself for the mehem. Dad had a usual spot to park his car and then we would walk into the docks by 6:45 am and it would a crazy scene there. Loads and unimaginable loads of fish with the fishermen yelling on top of their voices while the auction was going on at every 10 feet was a crazy sight.
Dad would make me stand in one corner and then he would set out to buy the fish. After every ten to fifteen minutes he would be back with 10 huge pomfrets, 10 kgs of prawns, 6-7 surmai, mackerel and on the days he got lucky crabs, clams.
So I was taken for these adventure trips every Sunday just to guard all the fish he would buy and then help him to arrange them in the ice box and in the boot which was well covered with plastic incase the water leaked!
After all this we would head back home and mum would be all ready with the breakfast of idli, sambar and chutney laid on the table. Every Sunday breakfast was the same. Those days microwave was a luxury so since we didn’t want to trouble her reheating the food again and again we all made it a point to eat our Sunday breakfast together and hear dad bragging about how cheap he got the fish and by the all these talks would on the phone with his younger brother who would lived in Goa and the next few minutes would go in who bought how much and for how much!! They still have the same conversation even today.
After relishing the soft idlis and the robust sambar I would head for a shower and then off to play. While mum along with her house help Meera would clean all the fish and store it in a big deep freezer we had.
And the afternoon lunch would be a feast. Can you imagine the fish would last only for the week as my parents had a large social circle and their friends would come over very often and my mum was a superb host.
Today I went to the Malad wholesale market and saw the same craziness and chaos that I would experience as a child and missed my parents.Well I bought some clams, surmai and prawns and came home happy and proud of myself with the money I paid and called my dad and told him all what all I bought and for how much? On the other end of the phone I could sense my dad feeling happy
And so on this happy note, here is a recipe of the fish that I have fried for my son today.
5-6 slices surmai (you could use pomfret, ravas even prawns)
2 cups of fresh coriander chopped
6 cloves of garlic
1 ½ tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Grind all the above to a fine paste using very little water.
Coat both sides with a thin layer of this above masala and marinate the fish for 15-20 minutes
Coat the fish with rava or semolina
Heat a pan with oil for shallow frying and once the oil is hot place the coated fish and fry till evenly crisp on both sides for 3 minutes each on a medium to a high flame and serve it hot.
Yug loves to have fried fish with sol kadi and steamed rice