Preparation / Directions:
Heat oil in a big vessel, add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms and the chiles. After a min add the onion. fry this till the onions turn golden. Now add the mussels , fry for 5 minutes and add the tomato. Add salt and turmeric and cook for 7 minutes. Now add the rice and 2-1/2 cups of water. Cover and cook till done. Garnish with slivered jalapenos and chopped cilantro.
Para is prepared prior to the onset of the monsoon, when fresh fish may not always be available. It is commercially available, sold in plastic packets. Unfortunately, as with a lot of Indian packaging, it does not stand up to a 12 hour air journey - I speak with experience. Although this dish may sound a little horrendous, it is really good. 25 small mackerel, head, tail and fins removed ground turmeric 75 dried Kashmiri chiles 2 inch piece fresh ginger 3 heads of garlic 1 tbsp. cumin seeds 1/2 tsp. peppercorns 3 off 1 inch pieces turmeric (3 tsp. ground) 3 bottles vinegar.
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 weeks. Para is usually served as an accompaniment to other dishes. Remove the required amount from the jar and fry in a little oil.