Spicy lasso curry…

by Sunita on August 8, 2007

A guest once asked me about a particular dish, “Is this an Assamese recipe?” to which I really had no answer. Well, actually my cooking has become a sort of amalgamation of various influences. As like many others, serious day-to-day coking started for me after marriage. Before that, it was the just the odd chicken curry, cake or pudding that I whipped up…no boring rice and dal for me please, during those rare stints in the kitchen….of course, now it’s a different matter altogether. I can’t serve two small and one slightly bigger hungry kid just the odd chicken curry, cake or pudding day in and day out. Oh no…things have changed…to a very great extent…the boring rice and dal is not so boring any more!

Along with my cooking habits, I have also changed a few places after marriage…starting from Guwahati and then proceeding to Kolkata, Gurgaon, and now the UK. During all this, somewhere along the way, knowingly or unknowingly, my cooking has also undergone some sort of metamorphosis… I love to experiment and try out new ingredients and flavours…well so does Dinesh, which is even better, as that means that I don’t have to worry about him not eating it…we are always ready to try new things…the liking or hating comes after we’ve done that. So, I’ve always been able to let my creative juices flow and sweep my family along as well. Nowadays, Rengoni asks me the name of a certain dish, and to my reply, she usually wants to know if there is actually such a name or if I had just made it up !! So, as I was saying, the lightness of the Assamese, similar but slightly spicier Bengali, the spicy North Indian and the subtle English flavours have all made their way, consciously or unconsciously, into my way of cooking. Which means that, whenever someone asks me “Is this Assamese?”, and if not, what is it , many a time, I’m really at a loss. The Assamese influence is of course there, but very frequently is merged with a lot of others, due to my constant experiments with favours and ingredients. I am definitely not a “by the book”cook, which sometimes raises quite a few eyebrows, but I don’t mind. Ultimately food is something which satisfies not only the body , but the soul as well. I do crave for some purely authentics and do whip them up more than often, but we do not go crazy at not being able to have them every day and everywhere…after all, moving places does tend to globalise the tongue, if not anything else.

Coming back to the matter of food, we had this sumptuous lunch last weekend…plain rice accompanied by masur dal(red lentil soup), chickpeas and potato fry, spicy lasso fish curry and some fresh salad. The recipe that I’m going to dwell on is the fish…it is a spicy side dish which, I think, goes well only with plain rice. Any other fish can be used, but I prefer to cook it with these slender lasso fish…
…they go really well in this gravy. We don’t have these fish very often, but whenever we do pick them up from the local Indian store, we really relish them…in fact Dinesh is crazy about them. The only negative is all the gutting that goes along with it…does take some time to get them cleaned…but then, once in a while is okay, I guess. Apart from the cleaning , this recipe calls for very little complications. This is how I did it…

What’s needed-

10- 12 whole lasso fish, gutted, and cleaned
1/2 ltr milk
1/2 tsp each of chilli powder and garam masala powder
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 and 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
2 green chillis, sliced lengthwise
1 tblsp tomato puree
7-8 tblsp of oil, preferably mustard oil
salt to taste

for tempering-

1 bay leaf
1 whole red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 pods of cardamom

How to-

  1. Rub the fish with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan .
  3. Fry the fish till nicely browned and crisp and keep aside…{try popping some into your mouth at this stage…they are yummm…of course, don’t forget to cool them a little first :) }
  4. In the same oil, add all the ingredients for tempering.
  5. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the tomato puree and the green chillis and stir for a few seconds over low heat, stirring constantly, so as not to burn them.
  6. Add the turmeric, cumin and chilli powders and stir for another few seconds.
  7. Add the milk, stir and simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Add the fish and the garam masala powder, and simmer for another 7-8 minutes or till the gravy thickens and the fishes are nicely coated in the gravy.
  9. Serve hot as a side dish with plain rice.It is one of those dishes that can be rustled up in a hurry(again, if you don’t count the fish-cleaning) and which is spicily delicious and altogether, we had one hearty meal.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sri August 8, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Hi Sunita…..Its a nice blog you have here…though I don’t eat fish,it certainly looks yummy to me….:-))
Saw rest of ur blog too. Good work:-)


2 sunita August 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Sri, welcome…and thanks for the nice words…glad the fish looks tempting enough even for a non-eater ;)


3 Asha August 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Sunita,the whole table with dishes look great to me.I don’t eat much Seafood unless it’s southern US crab cakes and UK Fish and chips!:))
Lasso looks really great.Fish oil is so healthy, wish I could get over the fishy smell phobia I have.I will get some Cod and see how I like it.Thanks for this.Cumin dish for you is coming at Aroma tomorrow!:)


4 sunita August 8, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Asha,I agree, it does take a while to get used to the smell of fish…I’m used to it since childhood, as we did have quite a lot of fish…btw, looking forward for your entry(ies?)


5 musical August 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm

That platter does look very hearty!


6 sunita August 8, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Musical..yes, it was hearty indeed…glad you dropped by…


7 bhags August 8, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Hi Sunita, the fish curry looks nice, though I dont enjoy eating fish that much…the pics look great


8 Cynthia August 9, 2007 at 1:03 am

Fish curry, you can feed be that kind of food everyday.

It is amazing to see how your cooking has incorporated a lot of the places you been to isn’t it?

I too have noticed the incorporation after living in Barbados for 9 years.


9 Sig August 9, 2007 at 5:04 am

OH I simply love your fish dishes Sunita… This one looks so yummy…. Do we get lasso in India? I haven’t seen it around here!


10 Saju August 9, 2007 at 6:33 am

Lovely pics. I love fish and your recipe is very different form my fish recipe, will definately try it.


11 sunita August 9, 2007 at 6:53 am

bhags, thanks…we are great fish eaters…thanks for dropping by.


12 sunita August 9, 2007 at 7:03 am

Cynthia, it is indeed really amazing…moving places exposes one to so many different cuisines, that you can’t help their influence being incorporated into your cooking.


13 sunita August 9, 2007 at 7:05 am

Sig, thanks…we call this fish ‘borolia’ in Assamese…we get it here in the UK at the local Indian shop.


14 Anonymous November 21, 2008 at 10:00 pm

could you please give the English eqivalent of lasso fish. Is it mullet.


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