Fish Caldinha

This recipe is sent to me by Sheetal. Before any of the people who know this dish bash me for picture of entirely different dish than the authentic “Caldinha” , I request to read my introduction.

Some background of Caldinha in Sheetal’s words – “There is a Goan fish curry which is mostly made by Christians as it is something that came from Portuguese influence. It is called Fish Caldinha pronounced Kaldeen. I had never tasted it in GOA but I learnt it from my Mother-in-law specifically as the Atlantic fishes like Sea Bream or Salmon taste very nice in this gravy. What I like about it is its simplicity. This curry goes very well with these Atlantic fishes as the Atlantic fish are sweet in nature”.

I read the recipe and for some reason, I wanted to try it when I bought the salmon the following week. Even though Sheetal had mentioned it was a gravy dish(which I had overlooked), I interpreted it as a dry side dish. Since I wanted to cook it immediately, instead of clarifying my doubt with her, I just went ahead and tried it. We both absolutely loved the dish. Then the next day I asked Sheetal for clarification. She sent me the pictures of the dish which I have posted below.

I thought I would try it again and then post it here. But because of the “tomato disease” here in US and also some other health issues, I have stopped buying tomatoes. So I decided to post this anyway with whatever pictures I had so that I can refer to the post when I need in future.

1/2 cup onion finely chopped
1/2 tea spn garlic finely chopped
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1″ stick of cinnamon
1 small green chilli finely chopped.
1/2 tomato finely chopped.
2 small pieces of salmon or a small sea bream or a small Atlantic mackerel or  prawns
1/2 cup freshly made coconut milk(optional)

Apply sea salt to the fish pieces and keep it aside for 15-20mins.
Heat oil and fry onion till they are translucent. Add garlic, green chillies, cinnamon(whole or powder) and fry for a min. Add cumin powder, turmeric, tomato. Fry for a minute and then add the fish. Add a little water, just enough to cook the fish. Add coconut milk(if using) and cook till fish is done. (I just cooked it till all the water was absorbed and fish was done).

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 20min

PS: Adjust the ingredient quantity depending on whether you are making gravy or dry dish.

14 thoughts on “Fish Caldinha”

  1. Sowmya Venkatesh

    Hi Shilpa,
    i’m a vegetarian….but as you mentioned about tomatoes…. only Roma tomato is effected….cherry tomato and vine tomato (the one we get in bunches in whole foods) are absolutely safe….

  2. That is so not the recipe for Fish Caldinha.

    Shilpa: Lisette, can you please mention here how it is made at your place?

  3. Hi Shilpa,
    Typically, Goans make Caldinha with Prawns and Dudhi (white pumpkin). Variations are with Pomfret/Lady Fingers (okra).

    You’ll need 1 vati of Prawns (thats how they are sold in India),
    1 medium sized Dudhi peeled, deseeded and diced big,
    Coconut grated,
    3 flakes Garlic,
    1/2 tsp Jeera,
    1 tblsp Dhania,
    1/4 tsp Haldi powder,
    1/2 tblsp raw rice washed well.
    1 Onion cut fine,
    1 Tomato cut fine,
    1 Green Chilli slit,
    1/2 tsp Sugar,
    1tblsp Oil,
    Salt to taste.

    Grind the coconut, garlic, dhania, jeera, haldi and raw rice in the mixie with 1/4 cup warm water. Strain and squeeze out the Thick Milk. Keep aside.
    Grind the paste again with 1/2 cup warm water and evtract the Thin Milk in another bowl. Keep aside.
    Heat oil in a vessel, add the finely chopped onions. When it turns translucent, add the tomato and slit green chilli.
    When the tomato is cooked, add the prawns. Stir.
    Add the diced dudhi to the mix.
    Now add the thin cocnut milk and cook covered till the dudhi is ready.
    Finally add the thick coconut milk. Add the sugar and salt to taste.

    If you are making this with fish, you need to add about 6 cloves, 10 pepper, 1 inch piece of cinnamon and 2 red chillies to the rest of the ingredients while grinding.

    There you have it. Authentic Goan Caldinha.

    Shilpa: Thanks Lisette. I now have 3 versions for the same recipe :). I will try Sonia’s and your version soon.

  4. My mom says she sometimes adds a few cashewnuts to the griding mix if she has them, to make it tastier! 😀 hmmm I just found her secret ingredient!

  5. Hey Shilpa,
    Nice recipe.
    I was checking this link from sonia..

    and under seafood i saw your kurle ambat recipe and photo. recipe they did some modification…here is the link:

    Shilpa: Oh thanks Gowri. I am just frustrated looking at it. There are so many recipes/pictures on that site which are lifted from here. Che :(.

  6. You’re welcome Shilpa, I’m so glad I could contribute. I’ve made so many things from your site… best of all I llearned to make chappatis

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