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Mackerel Racheado Dish Goa

Mackerel Recheado is one of Goa's most famous dishes. Recheado means stuffed in Portuguese and in this recipe, the masala is stuffed into the mackerel. Mackerel is the best fish for this recipe although you can use pomfret as well. The fiery-red Recheado masala is very versatile and can be used to prepare many other Goan seafood dishes. It can be made and stored in an airtight container for months.

Mackerel is one of my favourite fish.  Unrefined perhaps, but very tasty, very healthy (packed with omega-3 and vitamins D and B-12), plentiful and cheap.  When raw, it has a dark, bloody flesh - this, and its long sleek shape - are due to the speed at which it swims.  The faster the fish, generally, the more blood is coursing round its meat making it darker.

There are two problems with mackerel, however.  Firstly, the high oil content means it goes rancid very quickly - I only ever buy mackerel with clear, bright eyes, virtually no smell and fresh red gills.  Secondly, that high oil content means that it can stink your kichen out when you cook it - fortunately, it barbeques well so I cook it outside whenever possible.

Rechad paste comes from Goa, the name coming for the Portuguese for stuffing.  The paste is traditionally used to stuff fish but it also makes an excellet paste for cooking squid and the like.  The more refined approach that the restaurant version takes is to fillet the fish, apply the paste and tie the two fillets together before cooking. 


Mackerel Recheado
(Serves 2 - will probably make enough spice paste for 4 but it will keep a while if covered in the fridge)

2 mackerel, heads, gills and guts removed.

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp corinader seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 dried chillies
1-2oz fresh red chillies (depending on strength)
3 cloves garlic
1 shallot or 1/2 small red onion
2 tsp tamarind water
1" ginger
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Grind the dry spices to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar or a clean coffee grinder.  Add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and whizz to a smooth red paste.

Make three deep slashes in each side of the fish.  Season inside and out. Liberally coat the inside and the outside of the fish with the paste, making sure it gets deep into the slashes in the flesh.  Set aside for an hour or more.

Barbeque over hot (not flaming) coals for around 5 minutes on each side. 

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