Pujo and paturi

16

While the world is busy debating about the ice bucket challenge,whether to pour a bucket of ice cold water on head or to donate money towards the worthy cause,we Bengalis have some more debates to indulge in at the moment-which Durga Pujo will get the first prize for it’s protima or which one will lead the race for it’s pandal(marquee).Yes we are back to that time of the year,when if you are a Bengali , the smell of pujo will feel your mind and  soul  even if you are residing as far  as Brisbane or Bristol.

11

8

Once one of my collegue here in UK asked me about the scale and importance of Durga Puja in my home city Kolkata.The spirit of Christmas in UK,the madness of Tomatina of Spain,the vibrancy of Rio Carnival of Brazil,the joyfulness and urge of sharing and giving on Thanksgiving of USA and Canada could possibly sum up to mean what Durga Puja is to a Bengali.For most of us  our year starts and ends with the count of Durga Puja.

2

As I write this post the artisans and workers are busy constructing pandals in every nook and corner of my city,while the artisans in Kumortuli are busy putting finishing touches to the almost done clay figurines.I can well imagine the mad rush of pujo buyers in the streets of Gariahat , Newmarket , and Hatibagan while the small  retail shop owners  are trying to make brisk business by cutting down the bargaining spree of the pujo

6

shoppers.A quick break from shopping means indulging in some roadside eggrolls or quenching thirst with the fizzy Thumbsup or sipping in the masala tea from the road side tea stall,before quickly going back to shopping again.After all  waiting for  pujo means preparations for festive days, countdown to festivities,churning out childhood pujo nostalgia and letting happiness come through the windows.

7

 For a Bengali out of Bengal,Durga Puja is perhaps the most loved and most missed  of all the festivities.UK is interspersed with Bengali communities and Durga pujas in almost every county, but the crazy fervour of five day long festivity of my homeland is perhaps nowhere to be found.The essence of waiting for the arrival of Durga pujo is hugely missed now a days. As a child my  pujo countdown  would ideally begin, as soon as I would see the Ekdalia Pujo Pandal,nearer to my school being constructed.With each passing day of the pandal nearing it’s completion,my joy  and

1

happiness would increase manifold at the thought of  start of the  month long pujo vacation.The pujo special editions of  children’s magazines would start to inundate the market by that time.  As kids we had our share of worries too-which pandals to visit,what dress to wear on each day of  pujo,and offcourse drawing up a list of food we would like to eat on pujo days.Luchi and chhola’r dal was ear marked for Shaptami, while Bhog -er Khichuri and labra for Ashtami ,Nabami was special with menus like pulao, mangsho and maach er paturi and off course shondesh and other sweets on Bijoya Doshomi-the last day of pujo.

12

Paturi is the name given to a dish and cooking method very typical and traditional of Bengal. The word paturi comes from the Bengali word ”Pata” meaning leaf.In  this particular form of cooking the ingredients are wrapped in  leaves and cooked in steam or by roasting the parcel on the griddle. The leaves used in paturi plays an important role in the cooking ,as the leaves when steamed enhances the flavour of the dish. Paturi can be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian depending on the choice of key ingredients. The popular paturi dishes are Prawn paturi, Bhetki-maach er paturi among the non vegetarian dishes and chhana ‘r paturi,mocha’r paturi  among the vegetarian options. The leaves used in this preparation can range from banana leaf to ash gourd leaf .

13

Use of leaf for wrapping cooking ingredients while cooking is also common among other cultures ,other than Bengali traditional style of cooking. Thai, Parsi and Caribbean style of cooking are abound with recipes using banana leaf to wrap key ingredients being marinated in various spices. Paturi ,very simple yet versatile and rich in flavour  is said to have originated in Dhaka,but now it is considered to be one of the signature Bengali dishes,being cooked on special occasions and during festivities.

14

Ingredients

Bhetki or any other white fish(Cod/Haddock /Pollock etc) fillets : 6

Mustard Oil : 3 tablespoon

Turmeric powder: 1teaspoon

Coconut, grated : 4 tablespoon

Salt, to taste

Green Chilli paste : 1 tablespoon

Green Chilli: 6 (split length-wise)

Mustard paste(yellow) : 3-4 tablespoon

Banana leaves ,a few

Gondhoraj lebu zest : 1 teaspoon(optional)

15

Method

  • Combine the mustard oil,mustard paste,green chilli paste, grated coconut, turmeric powder,salt.Blend it well and generously coat each fish fillet.
  • Sprinkle some zest of Gondhoraj lebu on top of the fish.This is an additional and optional step, a deviation from the original recipe. It enhances the flavour of mustard just the way chocolate does to coffee.
  • Keep the fish fillets marinated for half an hour.
  • Cut the banana leaves in a 8/8” square shape. Rub mustard oil gently on it’s glossy side. Lightly roast the banana leaf on the heat to make it soft and foldable. Roasting will slightly change the colour of the leaves.
  • Now place one of the marinated fish fillets in a prepared banana leaf,top the fish fillet with a slit green chilli and wrap neatly to form a parcel or envelope.
  • Tie the leaf envelope with a thread or seal them with wooden toothpicks.
  • In the same way make 6 envelopes.
  • Take a large frying pan and grease it with oil.
  • Place  banana leaf parcels in it and cover with an airtight lead so that steam cannot escape.
  • Cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • After that turn each packet upside down, to allow the other side of the fish to be cooked.
  • Cook the other side of the fish for another 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and transfer the paturi to a serving dish
  • Serve the closed parcels with steamed rice .
  • Unwrap and let the subtle smell of paturi fill your senses with joy.

17

18

Advertisements

Goan Prawn Pulao / Arroz Com Camarao de Goa

  • 4

There are very few dishes which work out equally good on super hectic work nights as well as during the special supper on a more relaxed weekend.This Goan prawn pulao is one such star dish.The amazing aroma of fresh prawns and Indian whole spices will never fail you.It is one such easy to make one pot meal,that  is favorite of all prawn lovers.This dish is  versatile in the sense,you can incorporate your choice of vegetables along with the prawns to make it a perfect no fuss balanced diet.Light,nutritious and filling .What else do you want for a perfect meal ?If that’s  not enough,then let me tell you,it is time saving too.

Goa is known to be one of  the main hub of sea food in India.Situated in the western coast of India,along the shore of Arabian Sea,Goan cuisine includes,coconut milk,spices and rice apart from sea food as it’s main cooking ingredients.

3

Apart from it’s original Hindu -traditional cooking form, the cuisine of Goa is largely influenced by Portuguese Colonization  of 400 years. Coming to Portuguese influence on  Goan style of cooking,it is  said that the Portuguese exhibited to the Indians the use of herbs,spices,tomatoes and chili in cooking.Prawn Balchao and Pork Vindaloo  are two famous examples,of such influence which has taken over Goan cuisine since the inception of the Portuguese colonization till the modern time.Thus Goan cuisine is a wonderful blend of east and west.

Coming to Goan Prawn Pulao or Arroz  Com Camarao de Goa,this dish like many other Goan recipe,bear resemblance to Portuguese style of cooking.Scented with the aroma of cinnamon,small  cardamom,clove, and marked by the meaty taste of the succulent prawns this  recipe is a welcome alternative to the regular pulao.

1

Ingredients :

  • 200 gm prawn,whole,un-shelled,washed
  • 1 cup long grained rice
  •  white oil/ghee to cook
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 2-3 small green cardamom
  • 3 teaspoon garlic,finely chopped
  • 1 medium  sized onion,finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric(1/2 teaspoon for marinating prawns and 1/2 teaspoon  for the pulao)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala powder
  • 2-3 green chili,finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes,halved
  • 1/4th cup  green peas
  • cilantro or parsley leaves ,a handful,finely chopped
  • 1 cup  coconut milk,thinned with 1 cup water
  • salt  to taste
  • sugar to taste

5

Method:

  • Remove the heads and shells of the prawns,de-vein,wash,pat dry and keep aside.
  • Marinate the prawns with turmeric and salt.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil and fry the prawns till  golden pink.Take out prawns of  the frying pan and keep aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil/ghee to the oil   in which prawns have been fried.
  • Heat the oil,and temper it with bay leaf,cinnamon,green cardamom(slightly crushed),cloves,peppercorn
  • Let the whole spices splutter and cook at low to medium flame.
  • After 1 minute,add the finely chopped garlic,saute till golden brown.
  • Add the chopped onions.
  • Sprinkle 1/4th teaspoon sugar,fry the onions till soft and golden for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add turmeric, red chili powder,cumin powder,coriander powder,garam masala powder .Saute for a minute or two.
  • Add  1 cup coconut milk thinned with 1 cup water.Stir well.Let the gravy come to a boil.At this stage add the fried prawns and salt to  taste and let the gravy thicken and come to a boil.
  • Once the gravy thickens,remove the prawns and keep aside.Prawns tends to get chewy and rubbery ,when overcooked,so it should be added to the pulao preferably in the last stage.
  • Add the green peas and  rice to the gravy,cover and cook(the ratio of rice to the coconut gravy  should be 1:2)
  • Add salt and sugar as per taste
  • Once the rice is almost done,add the prawns,chopped green chili and  1/2 tablespoon ghee
  • Adjust the salt and sugar content if required.Turn off the flame.Give it a standing time of  2-3 minute.
  • Transfer it to the serving bowl.
  • In a wok take 1/2 teaspoon oil.Heat it.Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves ,put them in the oil along with a handful  finely chopped parsley or cilantro leaves .Saute them slightly in  the oil for 1-2 minutes,at medium flame.
  • Garnish the pulao with the glazed cherry tomatoes.They will  add the perfect sweet-tangy taste to the spicy pulao rice.
  • Serve the pulao with raita or yogurt dip of your choice or savor it on it’s own.

2 6

Shutki maach er bhorta /Mashed Spicy Dry fish : Is dry fish still a symbol of social identity?

dry fish_shutki 4

dry fish_shutki 5

Being Bengali  and being proud of that is not enough for us .When we crave for more  clear cut identities we call ourselves Ghoti or Bangal  and hence identify(along with many other things) our food and food-habits likewise.It is said-the bangals are all for hot and spicy food.They love Hilsha .Where as the Ghoti loves to add an extra spoon of sugar to his food and prefer the food more mellow.They love prawn.We will happily discriminate among food ,add tags to our food preferences ,cooking methods and be proud of  that.Of the many foods that discriminate a bangal from a ghoti and vice versa one that ranks in  the top list is probably Shutki Maach (Dry Fish).

And just when I was going to tag shutki as a bangal food/fish,I thought of myself-a born Ghoti married to a Bangal. Yes, I love being an exception to the rule(I am sure there are many more to join me).The sight and smell of cooked shutki maach makes me as happy as the sight of long awaited ordered food in a restaurant.Pardon my analogy ,but don’t  ignore  the sentiments behind.The world from my perspective is clearly divided into-those who loves shutki and those who do  not.There’s no middle path when it comes to shutki.If any let  me know.

dry fish _shutki 1

dry fish _shutki 15

Shutki or dry fish when uncooked has a got a typical characteristic pungent smell,pungent enough to evoke nausea.It has got a stinky smell ,very similar to that of  dry shrimp powder Belachan used in Malaysian and Indonesian cooking.Drying fresh fish is a  method of preservation  by removing water from  the fish.Other than drying ,methods which act as catalyst to fish preservation  are smoking  and salting.The popular variety of dry fish consumed globally are bombay duck, shrimp,mackerel,anchovy,tuna,sardine,etc.Dry fish processing and selling in  markets is common worldwide.

Fellow blogger Ushnish Ghosh   tells me the difference between dry fish and fermented fish : ”dry fish is dried in sun or in oven to get rid off the moisture so that the bacteria cant survive , and salt also strilize it ..wet sutkis ( are not dried) ..like Shidol,puti mach is stuffed into bamboo, sealed from out side for air to get in,and the enzymes in the fish ferment the fish ..( just like in yogurt, bacteria ferment the milk) ..also nona Ilish …Ilish is put in lot of salt , sealed and kept out for months to get a typical aroma …but the famous Odisha Ilish sutki , is stuffed with salt and dried in sun” .Dry fish is much less smelly than the fermented fish ,because of the preservation method.

In Bangladesh about 7.3 million people live in coastal fishing villages and earn their livelihood by fishing.Most of them dry  fish by following the method of sun drying.Interestingly,a large share of Bangladesh’s economy can be contributed from the dry fish markets in Dhaka,Chittagong,Tangail etc who export a major portion of their produce worldwide.

Bangladesh which has a great number of water bodies,produce dry fish in the coastal areas,near the rivers and harbors.The processing takes place mainly under the sun during the month of October to April.The winter months remain the preferred time for the fishing activities as the rivers,water channels and depressions remain relatively calm  and quite.The necessity to cultivate dry fish is triggered  more by the fact often the fresh water fishes remain unsold  because of lack of customers or lack of  sufficient transport facility to send the fresh fish to the town or metropolis.

Dry fish collection: Photo courtesy-www.demotix.com/Zakir Hossain  Chowdhury

Dry fish collection: Photo courtesy-www.demotix.com/Zakir Hossain Chowdhury

Dry fish processing :Photo courtesy - www.demotix.com/Zakir Hossain  Chowdhury

Dry fish processing :Photo courtesy – http://www.demotix.com/Zakir Hossain Chowdhury

Hong Kong dry fish market  Photo courtesy :Purabi/www.zomppa.com

Hong Kong dry fish market
Photo courtesy :Purabi/www.zomppa.com

Where as in China, Hong Kong boasts of a Dried Seafood Street.Half a century back  the area had salted fish stores,where workers would dry their fish on the rooftops,sell them in the ground floor and live somewhere in between the two floors.It is said ,for ages Chinese have believed that food should not be wasted,fish when in excess,were preserved thereby using salt , other minerals  and sun dried.This was a common practice when there was no refrigerator to preserve  fresh fish.The Chinese belief is dried oysters and mussels when consumed on the Chinese New Year brings luck  and fortune.

Over time the Chinese practice of conservation of fresh fish by sun-drying has been  adapted by many cultures .It is now staple of Maldivian ,Srilankan and Burmese cuisine.In India Kerala,Orissa,West Bengal,Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh,Assam,Tripura etc boasts of their collection of dry fish recipes.Dry fish grew in popularity also from the fact that some version of dry fish are cheap and are regarded as source of high protein for a poor man.

dry fish _shutki 11

Much social stigma has been attached to shutki(dry fish).It has generally been  culturally perceived as the food of the lower income  group,because  the economically cheap version of dry fish is the  main source of protein for many economically lower income group people,who cannot afford rather expensive fresh fish.Is it not time enough to de-stigmatize some food?We would consider sea food like mussels as highly coveted and exotic but still underplay the essence of fish preservation?Will it be ever elevated to the status of restaurant food in the socio- cultural  city  hubs  ?

 It is amazing to note how different culture and region eat dry fish  in their unique manner and how versatile dry fish are to adapt to the local cuisines. Some region prefer to have steamed dry fish with rice,while some others make a curry out of their choice of dry fish,whereas some enjoy cooking dry fish along with vegetables.

The version that I enjoy eating and cooking most uses very few ingredients.It  is a  rather  spicy mishmash of dry fish, rich in taste and is marked  by profusion of onion, garlic and  dry red chilies,all used to cut down the pungent odor of the dry fish.This is generally known as  Shutki bhorta /bata /bhuna(mishmash) in Bangladeshi cuisine,and as Shutki Chutney(dry fish pickle) in Assamese cuisine.

dry fish _shutki 10

dry fish _shutki 12

Recipe

Dry version of – Bombay duck/loitya/bombil ( or your choice of dry fish) : 300 gm

Onion :100 gm,finely chopped

Garlic: 2-3 whole pod ,finely chopped

Dry red  chili powder:  4-5 heaped tbsp(adjust according to taste)

Turmeric: 1 tsp

Mustard oil for cooking

Salt to taste

dry fish _shutki 13

dry fish _shutki 7

dry fish _shutki 14

Method

  • Since the fish will be extremely dry ,cutting and chopping the fish will be bit difficult.Hence boil some water in a pot , take it off the stove,  dunk the fish into the warm water and cover with a lid.
  • Let the fish seat in the warm water for 20 minutes to half an hour.While soaking,you can change the warm water few times,this will  reduce  the pungent smell of the fish and help in getting rid of the sand particles gathered while drying the fish on the sea shore.
  • After the fish has softened enough to cut and chop ,take it off the water and discard the water.
  • Pat dry the fish.
  • Remove the head , tail  and central bone of the fish and cut it in 1” piece.The remaining small bones ,will disintegrate into tiny pieces while cooking.
  • Put the fish pieces in the mixer grinder or pestle and mortar and mash it nicely, retaining the coarse texture.Do not add any water during this process.
  • Heat  the mustard oil (2 tbsp  to start with)  in the wok.
  • Once the oil is  hot enough,add the chopped garlic and let them splutter,and turn light brown.Avoid burning them.
  • Add the chopped onions ,once the garlic turns light golden brown.Reduce  heat  and keep frying the onions till translucent.
  • Add the dry spices (turmeric and red chili powder) at this stage and stir for a minute or two.
  • Add the mashed dry fish,coat the spice mix well with the fish.
  • Reduce the flame  and stir continuously  to avoid burning.
  • Add little more oil  at this stage,if the mix tends to dry up.Dry fish soaks a lot of oil  because of it’s texture and preservation method.
  • Keep mixing thoroughly  the fish and the spices .
  • Add little salt,be careful while adding salt( 1 tsp or depending on the taste). Dry fish are preserved with salt  ,so they are already high in salt content.
  • While cooking,do not add water,as the fish will release some water, and get cooked it’s own moisture.
  • Keep stirring,till the fish mixture takes the   form of a coarse paste,and releases oil  or when most of the water dries out.
  • Once done ,serve it with hot steaming rice and let the compliments flow in .

 

14312581869_f3a59716b3_k

 

dry fish _shutki 9

dry fish_shutki 6

Bori diye maach er jhol/fish curry with lentil dumplings and paradoxes of blogger life

1

13

Looking back it was just another cold wintry morning in December when I decided to start blogging..but why blogging?I have been following a few blogs since last few years and always thought it’s a great platform to share once’s thought,ideas and creativity.Indeed it is !

But managing a blog and keeping it updated,with a continuous flow of content  is not that easy.Or  does it appear so because I am still in the bottom of the learning curve?

Lessons learnt in the  last few months :It is never enough to just think  and conceive an idea and to jot it down,or just click some random pictures of the food you made.However,sumptuous and palatable the food is ,it has to look equally good and convey the message through pictures.It has to tell a story.What story?

May be the food is a part  of your heirloom kitchen or maybe it is a creation pressed out of you rattling in the everyday kitchen.Whatever it may be ,it has to be conveyed through photographs..but  how?

Through props(properties) may be.But what are props?

These are the non  food items required for the photo shoot.Anything starting from plates,cutlery,fabrics,kitchen utensils,books,background,fabrics  and what not  can count as prop.You can never have enough of these .You have to work your mind through  scavenging your props and decide which ones will look good and in harmony with each other  in respect to a particular dish .

They call this food styling and I thought I loved this  until I realized you might have the tastiest dish in front of  you,use one of the best cameras available,use great lighting;but all that won’t make any sense if you go wrong while choosing your props.If you consider these  challenges ,as a  tiny fraction  of my otherwise happy blogger-life,then probably I have to enlighten you further on my blogger life technical  challenges.Fixing a widget,link or managing tools are far from  cakewalk for me.I am learning my way through it ,and enjoying the rewards my effort  is bringing with it.It’s a package deal as they say.

 There are  perks of food blogging too..more stories to tell on that..but some other day!

4

10

12

Alright,so now that the rant part is over, lets move  on to  the real food -talking,shall we? If you ever peep into a Bengali kitchen leave apart the pan-Indian scenario,you will find apart from  the traditional and well known recipes of fish ,every household and almost every family has got a special fish recipe to share  and a story evolving round it to tell.So,for me the store bought ready to make curry paste  sucks big time.A curry made out of it will never(or hardly) tell  a  story.I really can’t relate to it.Can you ever  imagine  doing a Bhog er Khichuri or for that matter of fact your favorite Murighonto with a curry paste?For me food is an emotion as well.

We don’t  buy Bengali fish varieties  (specially sweet water  ones with bone)very often since we get the frozen ones  here,but whenever we do,I make sure  to do at least one  simple curry , that we used to eat  at home.You can call  this  my immigrant syndrome.I will happily agree…after all we  always try to  find our root in our attempt at replication of the past.

 While I deal with the everyday challenges of blogging, I am glad not everything about blogging is that complex.Cooking the everyday fish curry is perhaps one of them.Simple,unpretentious and promising.It tastes as good as it looks.This  is a mundane fish curry  which is light and not extraordinarily spicy.It gets it’s unique punch from  the Bengali version of  dry lentil dumplings.They add texture and bite to the otherwise mellow but flavorful light   fish  broth.You can add your choice of vegetables (eggplant,green beans,carrot,courgette,pointed gourd/potol,ridge gourd/jhinge,cauliflower etc)to it  if you fancy.

5

7

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Rohu/telapia steaks/or any other sweet water fish of your choice : 8-10 pieces
  • Whole cumin seeds(dry roasted): 3 tsp(1 tsp for tempering and 2 tsp  for cumin paste)
  • Whole  coriander seeds(dry roasted): 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric:  1-1/2 tsp
  • Whole dried red chili :   2-3(adjust according to your choice)
  • Green chili : 2( slit)
  • Potato : 3-4 (small to medium size)
  • Ginger paste : 1-2 inch
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil to cook
  • Lentil dumplings/Bori : a  handful
  • Coriander leaves /cilantro(optional)

9

 

11

6

Method :

  • Remove the scales(if any) of the fish and clean it properly.Dry marinate the fish pieces with salt and turmeric and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
  • Make  a spice paste of ginger,red chilies,coriander and cumin seeds  by adding very little water to the mix.
  • Fry the lentil dumplings/bori carefully till golden brown,avoiding to break them,as they are generally tender  and brittle.Remove the lentil dumplings from the frying pan.
  • Cut the potatoes in wedge like shape and fry them,by sprinkling little turmeric and salt till almost half done.Take the potato wedges out of the pan and keep them aside.
  • In the same wok add some more mustard oil and shallow fry the fish pieces.
  • Again in the same  wok heat the remaining mustard oil , add 1 tsp whole cumin seeds and let them splutter  for a while and add the spice paste  and add 1/2 tsp turmeric .
  • Cook the spice paste at low to medium flame until  oil leaves the side of the pan.
  • Add boiling water  and adjust salt once the  gravy settles down little bit.Bring to  a gentle boil.
  • Add the fried potato wedges at this stage ,allowing it  to cook in the gravy.
  • When the potatoes are almost done,add the fried fish pieces,cover the pan and let it simmer gently.
  • Uncover ,add the cilantro (if  using)and  put off the  flame.Give it a standing time of 2-3 minutes and then transfer to the serving bowl.
  • Add the fried bori/lentil  dumplings  to  the curry at this stage.The lentil dumplings will eventually  soak in some of  the gravy.
  • Garnish with 2 halved green chilies and serve  the fish curry with steamed white rice and  lime wedges.

3

 

A simple fish curry with mustard greens : maach-er jhol shorshey shaak diye

maacher jhol  shorshey shaak  diye1

Machh -er jhol (fish curry),patha’r mangsho(goat’s meat curry)mishti doi (sweet yogurt),shondesh/sandesh(bengali dessert delicacy),luchi (puffed flour bread) are few thing among many others that hits the top of  the list when we are thinking of a bong’s culinary diary.And how can I be an exception! My tryst with mach-er jhol started since the time I can’t even recollect .Mach er jhol can  be very hot,fiery, rich gravy of fish with  profusion of spices like garam masala or can be a mild yet flavoursome curry with or without vegetables.That is how I have known my mach-er jhol since childhood.There is no one recipe for a machh -er jhol.Each Bong household has it’s own way through maach,jhol and it’s accompaniments.But this cant deny the fact that there are traditional recipes  like maacher kalia,doi maach or shorshey maach which have their position of prime in the heart of Bengalis no matter what.Interesting thing to note is, that a bong can use the same spice or tempering to make different sorts of fish preparations depending on the recipe.With the rich mustard paste they make paturi,while the same mustard paste can be used  with additional greens or any  vegetable of your choice to culminate into a mach er jhol,which is more like a runny fish curry.

Mustard greens (Shoshey Shaak)

Mustard greens (Shoshey Shaak)

I was back home after a year or so,was missing my Maa er haath er ranna (mom’s cooking) immensely- I did make a mention of that to her once over phone and mom was ready with home cooked buffet of food on almost all the days of my stay.Saying ‘no’ to her was not an option, so I happily gave in to mom’s culinary expression of love.This one dish that stayed with me – simple,unpretentious and easy to make ,this is a fish curry to be served with steaming hot rice.

green2

How Maa made  Shorshey shaak diye maach er jhol

Ingredients  

4-6 pieces of Rohu( Salmon/Tilapia can also be very good alternative)

A bunch of Mustard greens(Shorshe Shaak)

1 teasoon-Nigella seeds/Kalo jeera/black onion seeds

1 teaspoon-Turmeric powder

1 teaspoon – Red chilli powder

5-6 tablespoon-Yellow mustard seed paste

Salt to taste

Few green chillies

Mustard oil

fish and greens

Recipe

Wash and clean the scales of the fish pieces.

Wash and pat dry the mustard green leaves,separating them from the stem.

Prepare a yellow mustard paste with water(just enough to make a thick to runny mix), 2-3 green chillies and 1 teaspoon of salt thrown in.

Dry marinate the fish pieces with turmeric and salt,shallow fry them  in mustard oil till they change their colour to golden brown.

Temper the mustard oil left in the wok (after frying the fish) with kalo jeera(nigella seeds/black onion seeds) and a few  longitudinally slitted green chillies,sauté them slightly.Then add the yellow mustard paste mix and the mustard green leaves.Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a cup or two of  boiling water , give a good stir and let it simmer till the greens get well cooked.Check the seasoning.Add the fried fish pieces.Cook for another 2-3 minutes in low to medium heat.Put off the flame,cover the wok with a lid to give it a standing time of 2 more minutes. You can drizzle a table spoon of raw mustard oil on top of this fish curry, if you like the smell of mustard oil.

fish with mustard greens

Serve hot with steamed rice.