Tuna holds a prominent place in Indian cuisine, featured in diverse dishes from coastal regions to inland kitchens. Its versatile nature allows it to be transformed into delectable curries, biryanis, and kebabs, adding a distinct flavour to traditional recipes. Here are a few dishes you can try.
There are many parts of India which dole out a selection of delicious seafood. The coastal states of Kerala, Goa, West Bengal and Maharashtra are among the largest hubs for seafood with many indigenous fish finding their way into the hearts and onto the plates of locals.
Tuna is one of those that has a special fan following. With its rich flavour and meaty texture, tuna has become a staple ingredient in various regional cuisines. Whether its known as choora, Kupa, Kera or something else entirely, this fish has found its way into many dishes that are worth a try.
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Ularthiyathu in Malayalam means to roast and this dish of Tuna roast embodies that smoky, charred flavour to perfection. This dish is usually made with fresh tuna chunks although canned tuna is substituted for convenience. It’s then stir fried along with spices, onions, coconut and curry leaves in coconut oil until it creates a dry mixture that’s slightly browned and perfect to serve as a side dish.
Nadan Choora Meen Curry
This tuna curry is a popular dish in regions of Kerala especially to the Kottayam area. To prepare this delectable curry, tuna chunks are gently simmered in a fragrant blend of whole spices, grated coconut, and tomatoes. The result is a luscious curry that pairs perfectly with steamed rice or parotta.
For a quick snack or side dish, these crispy fried patties used a mix of boiled potatoes and tuna chunks along with fresh vegetables like onions and tomatoes along with spices and coriander. The final mixture is then separated into cutlets, rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried till golden brown for a perfect seafood snack.
A speciality of Mumbai’s fishing villages of Worli Koliwada, this locally caught fish is the dish's star and flavoured with local spice blends. Cinnamon, pepper, and cardamom, along with staples like turmeric and chilli powder all coalesce in this earthy dish. The biryani is smoked with ghee and hot coal to give it a flavour that’s unique to this community.
Choora Fish Fry
Tuna is naturally a thick, oily fish and lends itself well to frying. In Kerala (and parts of Maharashtra) fried tua steaks are a delicacy. Usually very simply flavoured with chilli powder, rock salt and turmeric with a touch of lemon or tamarind for a sour balance, the ish is thickly filleted and shallow fried until deep golden brown. A true winner in the tuna recipe world.
Tuna Fish Thoran
Thoran's roots trace back to ancient times in Kerala, where resourceful locals created this simple dish using available ingredients. Evolving into a staple in Kerala households, each family adds a unique touch. The modern Tuna Thoran, incorporating canned tuna, reflects the region's changing culinary landscape without compromising the traditional Kerala flavours of coconut and aromatic spices.
A favourite Bengali dish, especially as a party snack, this simple recipe combines canned tuna with potato, spices, yoghurt, egg and ginger garlic paste to make a smooth fish paste which is then crumbed and fried. These bite-sized snacks are perfect to serve along with some tangy kasundi mustard to offset the flavours.