Notes from Goa: Fish-curry thali

Many of us know that Goa offers a variety of seafood. Some may also know about its coconut based Fish Curry. But it’s only a few who’d have heard of Goa’s Fish-curry Thali.

The ideal preparation of this fish-curry has a tangy and spicy curry that is based on coconut but doesn’t have coconut shreds. Most restaurants in Goa offer Goan food in general and fish-curry in particular but it’s only a few that offer a thali with fish-curry in it. The thali is on their menu only for lunch and never as a takeaway. For dinner, these restaurants would certainly have fish-curry as an item but they would charge for it as for a la carte fish items. During lunch, the Fish-curry Thali would be offered as a combo platter and  include i) a small bowl of fish-curry, ii) a large portion of rice, iii) green beans or another vegetable with fresh coconut shreds in it, iv) some Tisario (clams filled with coconut based masala), v) some dried shrimps sautéed in fresh coconut, vi) some salad/pickle vii) sol-kadhi or Kokum water, and very importantly viii) a fillet of rava-fried fish. Restaurants would even allow free refills of rice and the curry of fish-curry for this platter and yet price their Fish-curry Thali fairly competitively. The lowest we’ve paid for a thali is Rs35 at a popular open-air restaurant called Kamlabai in Mapusa. Those with a large appetite for fish, and long-term plans to stay in Goa, could have this thali every day for lunch and still not feel financially drained…may be just a little over-weight…that’s all 😉

We’ve had Fish-curry Thali at many restaurants in North Goa but have only two favourite places for it. One happens to be close enough to us in Arpora. It’s called Starlight. This place is open for the whole year, looks more like a shack and almost dreary on the first look but it’s invariably filled with locals. This season, Starlight’s Fish-curry Thali (also called Rice-plate) is priced at Rs60 and the lowest we’ve paid for it in the past is Rs40. The ‘Best Fish-curry Thali’ per our experience, however, can be had only at Ritz Classic in Panjim. The first time we ate their thali 4 years ago, we paid Rs71 for it. This season it’s priced at Rs100 and still reigns supreme.

Further, this awesome collection of photos of fish-curry thalis from different parts of Goa says everything else that I couldn’t express in words!


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