Keith Floyd was a genius! He managed to travel the world, unearth genuinely the most typical and traditional dishes of the region, and then write up the recipes in a book in such a way as, if followed to the letter, they were bound to fail.
Nonetheless, his TV series "Floyd's India", broadcast on Channel 5 in the late nineties, was the inspiration for me to start cooking Indian cuisine. I have never looked back. In fact so inspired was I that when I travelled to Kerala I took a copy of the book that accompanied the series. I arranged to meet one of the guest chefs who appeared in the series and asked him to put his signature on the page on which his picture appeared.
I am still cooking dishes inspired by that TV series to this day. This is one of them, based on the recipe in the book "Floyd's India", but recipes also appear in Madhur Jaffrey's "Flavours of India" and "The Essential Goa Cookbook" by Maria Teresa Menezes (see references).
Typically, in Goa, pomfret would be the fish of choice, with deep ‘pockets’ cut either side of the spine and the spice paste pushed into the pockets. Small black bream could be treated this way. As an oily fish, mackerel takes to spice extremely well. When they are smaller I like them cooked in this sort of way, either whole or filleted, plain or with a flavoursome marinade or rub, grilled, shallow-fried or barbequed. When they are larger I definitely think, steaked, they are ideal curry material.
The recipe here shallow-fries the fish, but they could equally be cooked under a hot grill or on the barbeque. Quantities given are per serving - multiply up as required.
Ingredients (serves 1)
2 small mackerel, cleaned and trimmed
Rechad Spice Paste, or alternative (see note)
Cut several slits along the length of each fish on both sides.
Squeeze some lime juice over the fish, rubbing into the slits and the cavity, then add salt and rub into the slits and cavity too. Leave for about 10 mins.
Next rub the Rechad Spice Paste into the slits and add some to the cavity as well, about 1-2 tbsp per fish, according to how spicy you like it. Leave for a further 10 minutes.
Shallow fry the fish in hot oil until done.
Serve with a tomato and onion salad and wedges of lime.
In the absence of the Rechad Spice Paste, a suitable alternative would be Goan Masala Paste would be a suitable alternative. A Rechad spice paste used to be able to be bought (see link), but it looks like the product might be discontinued. If all else fails, a good quality (ideally vindaloo) curry paste mixed with a little vinegar should achieve a good result.
Goan Recheado Piri Piri Paste: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goan-Recheado-Piri-Paste-200gms/dp/B009KK0OA2
"Floyd's India", Keith Floyd (2001), pp. 119: https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008267612/floyds-india
“Flavours of India”, Madhur Jaffrey (1995), pp.108 (out of print): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flavours-India-Madhur-Jaffrey/dp/0563370777
"The Essential Goa Cookbook", Maria Teresa Menezes (2000), pp. 46: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Essential-Cookbook-Maria-Teresa-Menezes/dp/0141000872