What I terribly miss the most about being away from India is the seafood. I wonder if it is some Goan or Bengali mutant gene in me. Of course, you get seafood here but I am not counting plainly boiled or baked bland stuff that is served in atrociously priced restaurants. If you have lived near the Indian coast and do not suffer from the guilt conscience of vegetarianism, chances are that you will love seafood. Of course, the stench can be overpowering but the deliciousness is well worth it.
This weekend, I had a mini-seafood feast at home with two new friends who also love seafood. The worst thing here about enjoying seafood is that you do not find enough people to enjoy it with. For long I have been surrounded with vegetarian and reluctant non-vegetarian friends who do not venture beyond the normal chicken. Cooking it for yourself and eating it alone is no fun; the stench that seafood leaves in the centrally air-conditioned and poorly ventilated American apartments is not appreciated by the others either. I only muster enough culinary skill to make an occasional fish curry or shrimp masala.
I miss my mom who is easily one of the best seafood cook; global love for moms held constant. I miss the Sundays when my aunt came from Bombay loaded with fresh fish. We would literally pig out on endless fried shrimps and surmaee, like some island feast gone wild. I guess my mom misses me too because my dad won’t eat anything other than pomfret and fried shrimps. My brother is mortally afraid of crabs even after they are cooked and needs everything boneless. She cooked seafood twice in her brief 7-day visit here this past summer. But I still miss the authentic zyka that you can find only in the open-air stinky Indian fish markets. The fare at Goa Portuguesa at Mahim, Saayba at Bandra, Sol Kadhi at Phoenix Mill Compound, or Sindhudurg at Dadar was the best in town and this weekend’s feast has only whetted my appetite.
Remember if you have to torture me and wriggle out some deep secrets, all you have to do is tempt me with some scrumptious Indian-fare seafood.