Mandeli Zanzanit is a tangy spicy recipe made with Mandeli fish cooked in kokum gravy. This is a traditional Maharashtrian dish. Mandeli fish is a small variety from the regular fish. You can also use Tilapia small fillets (finger length) instead of Mandeli fish.
Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the Tilapiine cichlid tribe. It is a variety of fresh water habitats, including shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the Levant, and are of increasing importance in aquaculture.
Tilapia is a mild fish that has tender, flaky white fillets. The fillets come in a variety of sizes, from small 2-oz. fillets to large, meaty fillets that are 6 oz. to 8 oz. Because the edges of the fillets are thin and tapered, the outside of the tilapia can easily overcook when you prepare the fillets using a high-heat method such as broiling. One way to help the fillet cook evenly is to butterfly it, or slice it down the center just enough to spread apart the meatiest part of the fillet, resulting in a fillet that looks like butterfly wings.
Fish is a remarkable gourmet delicacy. Indian are known for making a wide variety of lip smacking fish dishes like curries, tikkas and tandoori fish. Fish tikkas and fish pakoras are very popular and are served as accompaniment or starters, while fish moilee, fish kofta curry, fish pulusu are served in main course.
Mandeli Zanzanit is a popular dish that is soft, tender and plump. The fish turns crisp when fried and makes it even more delectable coated with spices. The Mandeli is a mouth watering accompaniment that goes well with Khichudi or a daal and rice combination. If you haven’t tried it out yet, then you must. But keep in mind that fresh Mandeli should have a pinkish tinge and no part of the body should be disfigured.
Cooked in kokum base gravy, this dish gives a refreshing sour and slightly astringent taste. Kokum is dark purple to black, sticky and with curled edges. It has the same souring qualities as tamarind and enhances any coconut based curries or vegetable dishes like potatoes, okra or lentils. It is usually available as a dried rind, resembling a thick plum skin. When added to food it imparts a pink to purple color and sweet/sour tang.
Kokum is especially used with fish curries, three or four skins being enough to season an average dish. It is also included in chutneys and pickles. The skins are not usually chopped but are added whole to the dish. Seasoning should be checked as they are quite salty.
To prepare this Maharashtrian fish delicacy, firstly take a pan (do not put on the gas yet). Add the fish or fillets. You can also use the small cut pieces of Pompret if you do not have Mandeli fish. Add 1 ½ tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon red chili powder, ¼ tablespoon Haldi powder. Slit the chillies length wise of 1 inch. You can also add the chilies based on your taste.
Add dried Kokam pieces 5 in quantities. Add salt to taste. Add Water about 1/2 a cup. Make sure that add water in little quantity. Mix this mixture and keep it for 15 minutes. Turn on the Gas and just put the pan on medium flame. Keep the lid on. Cook it for 10 minutes until oil floats on the surface of the gravy. It should be dried but not completely.
Serve with hot rice or roti.