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Sunita Harisinghani's Mangalorean-Style Squid Masala

Last updated on: April 02, 2024 17:08 IST
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Squid tastes divine when it's deep-fried. The crunchy dish is a delight to have as a starter, especially if you are a seafood fan.

But have you ever had it as a curry?

Sunita Harisinghani offers a preparation of calamari in a coconut-based thick gravy. Her Mangalorean-style Squid Masala is meant for people who are willing to go that extra mile to put together the seafood curry, along with neer dosas or steamed rice, red rice preferable.

The dish takes effort to cook, but when you take that first bite into it, you will not regret your time in the kitchen.

Sunita is equally proficient in whipping up fare from her native Mangalore or Sindhi specials her husband is partial to.

Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/

Squid Masala

Serves: 3-4


  • ½ kg squid or calamari, washed and cleaned
  • 200 gm fresh grated coconut
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 Kashmiri red chillies
  • 1 tsp dhania or coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 4 lavang or cloves
  • ½-inch piece dalcheeni or cinnamon
  • 2 green elaichi or cardamom
  • Marble-sized ball of imli or tamarind, soaked and strained
  • Water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • Pinch ajwain or carom seeds
  • ½ cup chopped fresh green dhania or coriander or cilantro leaves + extra for garnish
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 12-15 curry patta or curry leaves
  • Salt to taste, around 1½ tsp


  • In a kadhai or frying pan, over medium heat, dry roast the grated coconut along with half of the sliced onion, half of the curry leaves, chopped coriander leaves till the coconut browns.
    Take off heat and keep aside.
    In the same pan, dry roast the red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom.
    Take off heat and cool.
    Grind the roasted spices along with the coconut-onion mixture and the tamarind water till a coarse paste, adding a little water if required.
    Transfer the paste into a bowl and keep aside.
  • In another bowl, add the salt, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste and mix.
    Marinate the squid in this paste for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a kadhai over medium heat.
    Add the marinated squid and saute for 5-7 minutes.
    Take off heat and keep aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in another kadhai over high heat and add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
    Add the remaining curry leaves and the remaining sliced onions.
    Add the ground paste and mix well.
    Let it cook for 5 minutes.
    Add the chopped green chilly -- you could add two, depending on preference.
    Add in the squid and enough water to attain curry consistency and mix well.
    Let it cook for 8 to 10 minutes and add more salt if required.
    Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
    Take off heat and serve hot with neer dosas or red rice.

Sunita Harisinghani

Sunita Harisinghani lives in Navi Mumbai.

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