Sankar Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

This meat-like fish has several nicknames according to the regions and states where it is very popular.

Sankar fish is known as “Tambusa” in Hindi, “Chempalli” in Kerala, “Rangu”, “Thundava” or “Korameenu” in Telugu, “Pahari” in Malayalam. In Andhra Pradesh, people call it “Vanjaram” and in south Kerala, “Neymeen”.

Sankar fish refers to a generic category of all Snapper fishes, all of which have two big, sharp canine teeth. Red snapper got its name from its metallic scales in red and pink colours.

This fish is abundant in the Caribbean coast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean. Red Snapper is very popular in some regions of South India, Sri Lanka and the Gulf of Mexico.

This fish is also spotted in the northern region of the Gulf of Mexico. This fish lives up to 50 years.

This low-calorie fish is dense with nutritional benefits. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and lean proteins.

Sankar Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Sankar Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Sankar fish, for its tight skin texture, makes for an ideal fish curry. However, it can be broiled, pan-fried, fried or grilled.

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Bongs’ undying and unmatched love for fishes is known to the whole world.

Though their food fascination goes beyond the divine pairing of steamed rice and fish dishes, the Bengalis and the Piscean family are an iconic combination when it comes to Bongs’ culinary history and culture.

The Bengalis are always in a mood of experiments, whether it is cooking or something else. A variety of fishes make their way to Bongs’ kitchens and then kadai (pans).

Sankar fish, though not popular in all over India, has a very special connection to Bongs’ repertoire.

This fish tastes a lot like chicken or mutton. Hence, sankar fish is cooked with lots of spices just like what we do with chicken or mutton.

Marinated fish chunks are fried and then languidly cooked in rich gravy prepared with onion paste or finely chopped onion, ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree or chopped tomatoes and flavoured with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, cumin powder, whole spices and garam masala powder.

If the divine taste of sankar macher kalia has any secret recipe, then surely it is.

Now the secret of flavourful Sankar macher kalia or curry is all bare, give it your own spin or follow the traditional recipe.

Whatever way it is done, you will hear your guests relentlessly talking about your ‘haat ki jadu’ for hours after relishing it.

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Sankar fish curry is popular in many states of India where people are overenthusiastic about seafood.

Both ingredients and preparation style differ according to the state where this fish is consumed.

The common thread that connects all the different recipes of sankar fish is the use of lots of spices to get a rich, royal texture flattering to your taste buds.

Sankar mach fry is also a very typical Bong-special appetizer. It is usually served with fish sauce, sliced onions and lime slices. You can relish it during snack time or in your lunch menu.

Sankara meen kuzhambu is a South Indian delicacy. Sankar fish chunks are slowly cooked in simmering gravy with grounded spices.

This curry tastes amazing with plain white rice though can be served with beetroot thoran for a special weekday lunch.

What is the Best Way to Cook Sankar Fish?

For curry, cut the fish in medium chunks and marinate it properly for an hour.

As the fish has thick skin, hence, it would take time to get properly cooked.

How Can You Tell It is a Sankar Fish?

The large, sharp canine teeth! It is the most tell-tale feature.

All the 113 species in the Snapper family have this feature and so they have got the name ‘Snapper’.

How Do You Know When Sankar Fish is Cooked?

The change in texture gives the biggest clue. To be sure, you can try the familiar ‘try with fork’ procedure.

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Hold the fork at a 45-degree angle and try to push it through the meatiest part of the fish.

Twinge it a little and bring it out. If it comes out clean, fishes are yet to be done.

How Does Sankar Fish Taste?

This fish is popular for its firm texture and mild flavour.

The fact that sankar fish tastes a lot like meat makes it one of the main ingredients for some lip-smacking fish dishes.

The fish features white-coloured and firm-textured flesh. It tastes soft and sweet with a unique, mild, nutty flavour.

Questions & Answers:

Is Sankar Fish Tasty?

Yes, Sankar fish is very tasty. It tastes almost like meat.

How to Make Sankar Fish Taste Good?

Marinate the fish chunks properly and keep them aside for one hour. This is the real secret of making a great curry recipe with Sankar fish.

How Long Does Sankar Fish Take to Cook?

Due to its thick skin, Sankar fish takes time to cook. Even the medium chunks will take no less than 30-40 minutes to get properly cooked.

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