There is nothing like an illness to make you re-consider your food choices. I am not talking of any huge life-changing decisions here. Even the common cold or flu can make you crave variety. Is it just me or is it normal to crave new foods rather than the comfort of food that you grew up on, once you are back on your feet?
Two things happened. I had fish in the freezer, lots of it. And I was craving something different. Something lighter, not the fiery red chili drenched, tamarind and tomato soaked fish curry I am used to since childhood. I came across the recipe for Bengali Doi Maach or fish in yogurt. I decided to trust the Bongs. They are after all, the ‘foodie’ sort.
I do not claim this dish to be authentic. Please don’t blame me if your Bengali mom-in-law is not pleased with this one. Food is rather personal. You take an idea and improve on it, till you end up with something you love to eat. See, it is all about ‘you’! And this dish is all me. I loved it. It comforted me. Job well done. Moving on.
Bengalis are a very particular sort. They are fiercely adamant about using mustard oil. Me, not so much. Use mustard oil if you cook regularly with it. Else, use what you have on hand.
This recipe is surprisingly easy on the spices, yet ends up being amazingly flavorful. No tomatoes are harmed in the making of this curry, the yogurt does the job of adding much needed tang perfectly.
You will need:
To marinate the fish
- Fish – 1 lb (any firm fish like tilapia)
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
For the curry
- Oil – 3-4 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Whole spices – 1″ cinnamon stick, 2-3 cloves, 2-3 cardamom pods, 1 bay leaf (I didn’t have the bay leaf, so let that not stop you from trying this)
- Onion – 1 smallish or half of a large one, ground to a paste
- Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
- Yogurt – 1 cup, divided
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red chili powder – 3/4 – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 – 2 1/2 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
- Water – 1 cup
- Salt – to taste
- Green chili – 1, cut in rounds
- Curry leaves, cilantro leaves – optional
- Marinate the fish with the marinade ingredients for half an hour. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and fry the fish lightly, about 2-3 minutes on both sides. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the cumin seeds and whole spices. When they sputter, add the onion paste and fry till light golden. Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute well till the raw smell is gone.
- Mix the masala powders for the curry in a tablespoon of the yogurt and add to the above paste. Saute well and cook till the oil separates.
- Now add water and bring to a boil. Add the lightly fried fish to this and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Lightly whip the remaining yogurt and add to the fish slowly, stirring carefully so that the yogurt does not separate. Remove pan from heat while doing this.
- Add salt and green chilis. Close the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes till the curry is reduced to the desired consistency. Garnish with curry leaves and/or cilantro.
- Serve hot with rice or chapathis. I personally recommend my coconut rice recipe to go with it.
If you are using mustard oil, make sure to heat it till it is smoking, so that you can get rid of some of the oil’s pungency.
So tell me, is this something you are familiar with? Do try this if you are craving something different and light, yet flavorful.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn