Fish Ambot Tik

Our house help brought in Goa’s favourite monsoon fish, the ‘tigur.’ The tigur is the Konkani name for the walking catfish (Clarias dussumieri), an eel-like freshwater catfish. I am told that this is the favoured delicacy during the monsoons. The first monsoon storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, is supposed to prompt these fish to leave their pond-homes and venture into flooded fields to breed. At this time, locals from many Goan villages set out with torches and cutlasses.

Tigur or sangta (catfish) is one of the cheapest options when it comes to getting high nutritional value from a low-calorie meal. It provides crucial nutrients such as vitamin B12, proteins, and omega-3 while also being highly versatile.

Today I made ambot tik with the tigur. Traditionally, Ambot Tik was considered a poor man’s curry. The ‘ambot’ generally comes from the sour solã or kokum  as it is called – while the ‘tik’ comes from chillies and other spices.


Cat fish/Tigur/Shark/Kite fish 600 grams
Onion 1 finely chopped
Kokum 6 pieces
Sugar a pinch

Grind the following

Kashmiri chillies 6 deseeded
Ginger ½ inch
Garlic 6 cloves
Onion 1 medium
Tomato 1 ripe large
Cloves 3
Cinnamon 1 inch
Pepper corns 15
Cumin ½ teaspoon
Turmeric ½ teaspoon
Tamarind large marble size

Wash and clean the fish, salt and set aside. Fry onions in a dish in oil and a pinch of sugar for caramelization. Add the ground masala and fry for two minutes on low heat. Add water to form a thick gravy and bring it to a low boil. Let this cook for a while till the oil begins to float on the gravy. Now add the fish and cook for three to five minutes. Add the kokum, turn off the gas, cover the dish and leave it. The fish will continue to cook in the hot gravy. Do not overcook fish.

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