Kolhapur is a region in Maharashtra, India, known for many wonderful temples and palaces, botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary, and not the least of all the inimitable Kolhapuri Chappal - sandals that were my weakness as a youngster, I couldn't have enough of them.
Kolhapuri Thecha is this fiery chili concoction that can double as a sauce/paste as well as chutney/dip.
Here, in Halibut with Kolhapuri Thecha, I use it as a rub and cooking sauce which is not for the weak-stomached or the weak-kneed eater.
There's habañero and ghost pepper, which just rip the insides out for me so I stay away from them; but I enjoy jalapeño and Serrano just fine, in small doses. I went a little easy on the red chilies with this Thecha but adjust the heat to your taste. The other adult in the house relishes way more heat than I can handle, so, I enjoy making this once in a while, not often.
Simply rub the halibut chunks with this, and, add it to the sauteing veggies as well to layer the flavor in this simple fish curry. There is still some pristine Alaskan fish that the other adult caught over summer that I wanted to cook up in an interesting way.
This Red Chili thecha can be made with fresh red chilies, or even green chilies. Simply roast the chilies first to enhance the flavor. I went with using dry red chilies as they were handy.
For Kolhapuri Thecha:
8 dry red chilies
8 large garlic cloves
½ medium onion, diced (optional)
2 Tbsp dry roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
Halibut or other favorite fish cut into chunks
Vegetables - red bell peppers, red onions, red tomatoes - chopped
a few Tbsp vegetable oil as needed
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
- Soak the dry red chilies in the lemon juice and a little bit of warm water to reconstitute it for grinding
- Combine the Kolhapuri thecha ingredients and grind to a fine paste, including the soaking lemon water
- Rub the fish chunks with some of the thecha paste, reserving some for cooking
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, when they pop, add the cumin seeds, then add the remaining thecha paste, saute for a few minutes till oil separates
- Add the chopped veggies, stir well, and saute till veggies soften a bit
- Then add in the fish chunks rubbed with the chili thecha, splash some water as needed, cover and cook till fish is done -- internal temperature is about 145 °F and is flaky and opaque
- Serve warm with a side of rice