Boomlas, or Bombay Duck as they are known outside of the Parsis are very close to my heart. Along with my Grandpa’s Kheema Kebabs, Boomla’s are yet another thing that Grandpa and me used to bond over. Growing up, we always used to have bombay ducks after the first rains of the monsoon.
I know that many in Mumbai stop having fish during the monsoon but this rule never seemed to apply to us bawa’s. In fact, I always remember having more fish during the rains. It could be that back then there were no rules on fishermen not been allowed to go into deep waters as fish was still plentiful twenty or so years ago or it could be that since demand fell, fish was cheaper and so my family decided to just pig out on fish. Either way, I always associate monsoons with fish and even more so with bombay ducks.
A group of my foodie friends in Dadar recently started a potluck group after long woe’s of everything food related only ever happening in Bandra. It’s there that I tasted a Maharashtrian version of Bombil Tikki’s from cake maker extraordinaire Bimba Nayak. I had just had fried bombay duck’s for lunch but they were so delicious that I couldn’t resist. After coming home, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of the idea sooner and decided to try out a Parsi version of the same – Boomla na Kebab. They were super easy to make and came out yum. If you like seafood based starters then this one is a must try.
To begin, clean the bombay ducks completely. You will also need to remove the central bone so slice into them vertically and debone all of them – it’s okay if they mush up while you do so. Once the bones are out, chop them roughly and set aside.
In a bowl mix in the spices, coriander, chillies. Soak some bread on the side in water, squeeze it dry and also add that into the batter along with the bombay ducks.
Mix everything well and start forming mini kebabs.
Coat them in semolina and deep fry for 4 – 5 mins until golden brown
Serve hot along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and brun pav if you have some.
To make about 12 kebabs you will need:
7-8 medium sized fresh bombay ducks
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dhana-jeera powder
1 tsp salt
handful of chopped coriander
2 chillies finely chopped
2 slices or 1 dinner roll of bread (soaked and squeezed dry)
Semolina for coating
Oil to deep fry