This recipe is now world famous due to internet and advertisement. You might find it in some overseas Indian restaurants. However tastes differ depending on the recipe and the ingredients. Vada is completely vegetarian part of this cuisine. It is slightly thicker than puri but has different ingredients. It can be eaten with any other curry or even tea.
Although you can buy all sorts of garama masala in the market and it makes life quite easy, homemade masala has its own quality and taste. If you are enthusiastic enough to make you own Malvani masala, here is the recipe for 2 kg masala. You can store it for one year at least and can use it either for both veg and non-veg preparations.
Fish and rice are the most favourite food items of Malvani people; however simple daal bhaat in kokani way is also very tasty and regularly made in every kokani household. Sometimes daal bhaat with fried fish is itself a delicacy. Daal is made in different way compared to common daal that you would find outside Kokan. We use coconut even in daal recipe
Unlike Tikhla, fish curry is slightly more watery, but of course not too much; just enough to mix with rice. Kokani people are so much in love with fish curry that on certain fish market days, people would have already made all the preparations for the curry, even before they actually buy fish.
There are about 15-20 different types of cuisines made using mackerel in Kokan, as this is quite favourite fish. Generally Tikhla refers to a hot and sour thicker version of curry made with fresh coconut milk. Mackerel tikhla is very popular and generally served with fresh chapatti or bhakri.
Steamed fish cuisines like this one are made without any oil. It is sort of curing / pickling process, hence fish can be stored for couple of days. In old times when there were no refrigerators people who had no daily fish market nearby, especially from the inner parts of Kokan, developed these recipes so they can enjoy their fish without having to go out to the market every other day.
Prawns is one of the favorite sea food in Kokan. It is tasty and although you may have to spend some time cleaning it properly, it is very quick to cook. Nowadays you get cleaned prawns for bit of extra costs too. In Kokan people prefer brackish water black colour prawns over sea water once.
I think solakadhi is the most famous Malvani cuisine. I have come across many non-Malvani friends asking me for its recipe. Interestingly it is something like side dish to finish your last morsels of rice with or sometime people just drink it after food like buttermilk.
Malvani people are so much in love with sea food that it is pretty hard for them to bear wet monsoon months when supply of fresh fish is limited. They find some relief in dried fish and prawns. During summer people buy these dried fish, especially small size prawns called jowala, that they use as an alternative to fresh fish during rainy season.
When it comes to Malvani recipes sea food is extremely important part of it. Prawns particularly, are one of the most popular sea food. While there may be wide variety of prawns available in the market, it is advisable to use white or black once rather than the red once which may cause bloated stomach.