Molho is commonly prepared with fresh seafood like prawns, mackerels or kingfish steaks. The fish is marinated with turmeric powder and salt for an hour. Then fried till crisp preventing it from getting soggy or splitting apart once mixed in with the sauce. The fried fish is often dried in the sun for a couple of days to firm up even more before combining with the sauce. Like pickle, the fish molho has a delightful flavour of spice and sour tantalizing your taste buds making it hard to resist.
There are two versions of molho; one without the addition of cinnamon and cloves in the spice paste and the other inclusive of both. I prefer the latter version which is more flavourful with the extra spices. Some simmer the sauce only with vinegar but I find that the addition of oil cooks the spice paste better, simultaneously preserving the molho too. Basically, the molho can be adapted to suit your own palate. A brilliant and tasty way of preserving fish making it accessible to enjoy when it is scarce during the monsoon season.
1/2 kg kingfish steaks (cut into 1/4" thickness)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1 and 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons oil
Grind to a fine paste (with 1 cup vinegar)
15 dried Kashmiri red chillies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks (1.5" each)
1/2" piece of ginger
6 large cloves of garlic
Wash, pat dry, season fish steaks with turmeric powder and salt for an hour.
On medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Shallow fry the steaks till brown and crisp. Place on absorbent paper towels and allow to cool.
Heat 1 and 1/2 cups oil in a pan and on low flame, fry the spice paste. Stir in 1/2 cup vinegar and continue to cook till well blended. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Carefully mix in the fish with the cooled sauce. Store in a sterilized ceramic jar or glass bottle ensuring to immerse the fish completely with at least half inch of the spice paste.
Serve after a week or longer, as an accompaniment to a main meal.
- Substitute prawns or mackerels for kingfish steaks.
- Distilled white vinegar was used.
- Mackerel Molho was prepared with 12 mackerels. Each one cut into three with only the body and tail end used (see picture below). The exact quantity of ingredients and method as indicated above was followed. Shallow fry the pieces until crisp and when there is no sizzling sound, an indication that they are ready to be taken out. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
- Molho is one of my favourite whether kingfish, mackerels or prawns....soooo yum!!!