Para is prepared prior to the onset of the monsoon in Goa, when fresh fish may not always be available. Fish is now available in plenty especially if you are staying in countries like Kuwait and where fish is available throughout the year. Anyway thanks to the monsoons in India this wonderful dish was invented and it’s a real delight. The fish has to be stored for 4 to 5 weeks and can keep for years in a refrigerator. It’s a very strong dish so may be difficult for some to consume one full fish. But then others can have more than one.
25 small dry mackerel
1 tsp ground turmeric
75 dried kashmiri chillies
2 inch piece fresh ginger
3 heads of garlic
1 tbls cummin seeds
1/2 tsp peppercorns
3 off 1 inch pieces turmeric (3 tsp ground)
3 bottles vinegar (like I said, Its a very strong dish)
Clean and de-scale the fish. Wash in a little vinegar - DO NOT wash in water. Rub the fish with a little turmeric and dry in the sun for a day. Grind all the spices etc. with some of the vinegar. Place the fish in sterilized glass jars. Pour over the masala and vinegar until fish is covered. Seal the jars well. Can be consumed after 4 to 5 weeks. The longer it is kept the better it gets. Remove the required amount from the jar and fry in a little oil.
Para is usually served as an accompaniment to other dishes. It goes very well with drinks too. Para can be boned and dded with onions as a side dish also.