• 2 cups grated coconut 1 onion sliced 1 onion finely chopped 1 tablespoon pednekar samar masala 1 teaspoon khus-khus (poppy seeds) ½ teaspoon badishpe/ saunf/ fennel seed 20-25 oysters 1 potato cut into cubes 1 pinch of sugar 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp Salt to taste


Oysters and clams are often considered as the same thing but there are many differences between these two. Though both belong to the Mollusc class and are bivalves, there are quite a lot of differences in the morphology, anatomy, and uses.
An oyster is often found attached at the same spot, whereas Clams are more motile and often move around on its foot which is actually a muscle specialized for its locomotion.

A person used to be able to simply order a plate of oysters. Today you are presented with a choice of dozens of oysters. Wellfleets are prized in New England, New Yorkers love their Blue Points, and Kumamotos rule on the West Coast. Yet there are just five species of oysters harvested in the U.S., all other differences come from where they live, the water the filter, and how they’re handled.Their taste, in the end, is local.

Similarly in India there are just about Six species of oysters namely:

the Indian backwater oyster Crassostrea madrasensis,

Chinese oyster, C.rivularis,           (called Kalva in Goa)

West coast oyster, C.gryphoides, (called Shinani in Goa)

Indian rock oyster, Saccostrea cucullata,

Bombay Oyster, Saxostrea cucullata, and

giant oyster Hyostissa hyotis are found in India.


The first four species mentioned above are of commercial value.
Of the six species of oysters, the Indian backwater oyster C. madrasensis is the dominant species, more widely distributed, is euryhaline and inhabits backwaters, creeks, bays and lagoons and occurs in the coastal areas of the States of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andamans.

C.gryphoides is also euryhaline and occurs along north Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coast.

C.rivularis is found along Gujarat and Maharashtra coast while Saccostrea cucullata is found all along the main land coast and Andamans and Lakshadweep islands.


This oyster or Kalva goan curry preparation is called Kalva Tonak, where Kalva refers to the oysters from the western coastline of India and Tonak refers to the curry which is  basically a preparation made from roasted and ground coconut paste.

There are many types of tonak curry and though the basic ingredient of roasted & ground coconut paste is the same, the flavour varies depending upon the one secret ingredient that you add that changes the flavour dramatically, such as a wide variety of beans (refer my recipe of Alsane tonak)  for vegetarians or a variety of fish and seafood for the non-vegetarians.

Kalva or oysters are expensive and this Kalvanche tonak is certainly a delicacy that is worth every bit of the cost. The oysters reduce in size on cooking so please add the quantity of oysters accordingly.



  1. Clean the Kalva / oysters properly. Remove the rubbery part or any shell residue from it.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a tava pan and fry the sliced onion till brown.
  3. Add the grated coconut & fry till light brown.
  4. Add khuskhus / poppy seeds & saunf/ fennel seeds.
  5. Move this coconut mixture to one side of the tava pan. On the other half of the pan add1 teaspoon oil and fry the raw rice till it changes to chalky white. Switch off the heat. The rice acts as a thickener to the gravy.
  6. Grind this to a fine paste with tamarind.
  7. In a pan fry the chopped onion till pinkish and add 3 cups water & cook the onions alongwith the potatoes.
  8. Add the goan pednekar samar masala powder while cooking to get rid of the raw onion smell.
  9. Now add the oysters, ground paste, salt and cook till done.
  10. Finally add a pinch of sugar. Adjust the gravy consistency by adding water as per your preference.

Oyster curry