T he Malabar coast along the Arabian Sea has been home to hundreds of seafood wonders that each state serves up with pride. From Konkani delicacies to Keralan delights, the cuisine shelters epicurean secrets that can lure any self-respecting food connoisseur. The Mangalore Squid Fry is one such addition to this long list. Karnataka, as a state, is extremely high on fish intake, considering its coastal lifestyle. Calamari, is thus consumed quite frequently and a local favourite in the city of Mangalore is the deep fried fritters that are served hot and crunchy out of the wok.
These fried delectables, when served in a tangy gravy, are also a mass favourite. The traditional style of preparing this recipe entails a lot of whole spices and coconut. The curry mainly consists of chopped garlic, green chillies, garam masala, fenugreek, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and turmeric.
One of the main steps while making any dish with squid is to ensure that the squids are washed properly. Improper cleaning of the slithery bodies may often lead to indigestion and acute stomach cramps. One should be careful to remove the ink sack completely without breaking it since once it ruptures, it leaves an extremely bitter taste. The Mangalore Squid Curry pairs well with a steaming hot bowl of rice or paratha (flaky, crispy flatbreads made from unleavened dough). Overboiling the squid is also not recommended. Calamari meat is very sensitive to high flames and might become too chewy if overdone. Squid Ghee Roast is another variant of this dish that is quite popular in the region.
Squid Sukka, Squid Ghee Roast, Squid Curry — the preponderance of squid-based dishes in Mangalorean cuisine is hardly surprising, considering just how much of this coastal foodscape is dominated by seafood. If you're eating locally, you can rest assured that the catch is always fresh. Moreover, no matter the style of preparation, you're apt to find coconut and curry leaves used in abudance while the natural flavours of ginger, garlic and chilli add a fresh pungency to dishes. Colonial-era and early trade route influences are among the external factors that have shaped this unique amalgamation of flavours. And since there are several communities that form the melting pot that is Mangalore, each with their distinctive food practices and customs, what has evolved is a rich and diverse yet rooted cuisine.