Tisryo (Clams) Masala

Goa’s rich coastline is the obvious reason why Goan cuisine is so rich in seafood preparations. Also, the abundance of coconut in the state naturally creates a vast variety of food that uses both these staples in generous quantities. Tisryo in the konkani language means clams and the clams masala is one of the most important and indispensable in Goan food habits and is a regular accompaniment in a Goan thali. There are many ways to prepare them but the traditional dish is in a style that is dry using grated coconut and is quite simple to make. It’s also called Tisryo Sukhem or Tisryo Sukhe. Every community has a special recipe but what we feature here is a unique classic from one of Goa’s earliest indigenous tribes, the Kunbi. When it comes to shellfish, the variety of dishes that the Kunbi traditionally have in their repertoire is vast. The same masala perfectly compliments all shellfish especially Kurlya (Crabs) and mussels, and dishes can be created as a main course or an appetizer.

Our Kunbi Xasti masala is an ancient family recipe handed down within the Kunbi tribe of Xasti (South Goa). The clever combination of the spices and the intricacy and meticulousness in which is blended is evident from the earthy aroma and unique taste of this Tisryo Masala. The following step by step illustrated method will show you how simple it is to arrive at this classic tribal Goan preparation, the way it continues to be made in Goan homes generation after generation. Like all our other masalas, this masala too does all the hard work, needing very little added ingredients, and makes Goan food accessible, desirable, and simple to make, allowing you to be not only an expert in Goan cooking without spending too much time in the kitchen but also a connoisseur of traditional Goan cuisine. Enjoy.

What you need –

  • Clams 500g; Onions: 2 medium
  • Grated Coconut: 1 Cup (250ml)
  • Coriander leaves: 1 bunch
  • Salt to taste
  • The Women of Fatorda Kunbi Xasti masala.

Ditosa Faleiro

This universal favourite and very Goan Tisryo masala recipe comes from Ditosa Faleiro, a member of the Christian Kunbi tribe from the Chandrawado locality of Fatorda. This recipe has been in the community for generations, and used almost daily at her home.

Step 1 – Clean the clams throughly. There could be stubborn sand and dust particles, Slit them in half so that the meat is attached to one half of the shell. Discard the other half.

Step 2 – Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a kadai. You can use coconut oil which is traditionally used or any refined or other oil. Add the onions thinly sliced.

Step 3 – Sauté them until they become soft and translucent and then turn lightly brown. You can add a pinch of salt to aid the frying.

Step 4 – Add 2 tablespoons of Kunbi Xasti masala and stir.

Step 5 – Continue stirring rapidly for a few seconds. Then, add a cup of water.

Step 6 – Sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the cup of grated coconut and continue stirring.

Step 7 – Cook for another 5 minutes, mixing the masala with the onions, and then add the clams.

Step 8 – Mix the clams with the masala and the coconut while stirring frequently. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to taste.

Step 9 – Blend well, stirring the mixture and then add some chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.

Step 10 – Give it a good mix so that the clams are coated with the coconut mixture. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Step 11 – After around 10 minutes, remove the lid to check the status of the clams and the gravy. They would be cooked by now.

Step 12 – The Tisryo masala is ready. The gravy should be thick and coating the clams.

Step 13 – Serve with hot brown rice or chapatis.

Note – The traditional Tisryo masala is a thick coconut gravy dry dish but a curry can also be made using the same masala. Instead of the grated coconut, you can use thick coconut milk and increase the masala by another teaspoon. Making Kurlya (Crab) Masala follows the same process and is traditionally a dry thick gravy preparation. Though this is the traditional Kunbi way of making clams and another shellfish curry, your imagination is the limit. Do experiment with our masala and let us know how your personal recipes have worked out at [email protected] or else you can upload your recipe here, and we will feature your preparations on our website.

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