Goan Fish Curry (Kanyache human)

Fish curry rice is a staple in every Goan household. ‘Aaz kasle nusten?’ which means ‘What fish did you get today?’ is a common question among people. A ‘goenkaar’ usually goes to the fish market every morning to bring home the best and the freshest possible catch of the day. And he does take a lot of pride in saying ‘Tajje aasa’ which literally means ‘its so fresh!’. 

My grandmother would make this curry in a traditional earthen pot called ‘kulne’ over open flame. The flavor of the curry made in this fashion was just out of the world. But gone are those days. All that remains now is only memories. Sigh!

In our families, fish curry is primarily made up of two types. The one made with onion is called kanyache human and the other type made with tefal or sichuan pepper is called ambat-tik. Both are equally delicious. Ambat tik is generally made using mackerel and sardines. kanyache human is more versatile and can be made with many different varieties of fish.

Fish curry over hot rice is comfort food to me. A simple delectable dish with lots of flavor. You got to be a fish lover to enjoy this!

Goan Fish Curry/ Kanyache Human
Goan Fish Curry
Goan Fish Curry (Kanyache Human)
  1. Fish, preferably white, scaled,cleaned & cut into pieces - About 10 pieces
  2. Onion - 1 small, diced
  3. Onion - 1/4th of a small onion, chopped roughly
  4. Water
  5. Oil - 2 tablespoons
To Grind
  1. Shredded coconut, fresh or previously frozen - 2 cups
  2. Red Chillies - 5 or to taste
  3. Turmeric powder - 1 tspn
  4. Peppercorn - 8 to 10
  5. Tamarind - a small marble sized ball
  6. Coriander seeds - 1/2 tspn (Optional)
  7. Ginger - 1/4 inch (Optional)
  8. Garlic - 1 clove (Optional)
  9. Salt - to taste
  1. 1) Apply some salt to the fish and let stand for about 10 minutes. Wash the fish well and set aside.
  2. 2) Grind the ingredients mentioned under 'To Grind' into a fine paste. Add the roughly chopped onion and pulse for a second or two. Set this mixture aside.
  3. 3) Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Fry the diced onion until it is light golden.
  4. 4) Add the ground mixture. Add enough water so as to get the desired consistency. It should neither be too runny nor extremely thick. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Let this mixture come to a boil.
  5. 5) Add the fish. Ensure that the fish is immersed well in the curry and let cook undisturbed for 10 minutes or until the fish turns white.
  6. 6) Serve hot with rice.
  1. Serves: 8
  1. 1) If the fish was previously frozen, add some turmeric along with the salt in step 1 above.
  2. 2) I use the 'Daily Delight' brand of shredded coconut in the US. but any other brand should be equally good.
  3. 3) Do not overcook the fish. It will get too soft. Normally 10 minutes over medium heat is sufficient to cook the fish. After the fish is cooked, switch off flame, cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes to let the flavors marry.
  4. 4) The fish in the curry tastes better with time since it absorbs all the flavor. Try and make this before the rest of the meal.
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