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!
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.
- 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)
- 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.