Fish forms an important part of our diet. Growing up on the banks the mighty Brahmaputra, fresh riverine fish found their way into our dining table very, very often. Although we do have our rich versions of preparing them, the most common way of enjoying them would be a light, soup like curry (patla jool/anja). Pieces of fish are panfried and dunked into a light curry, based on leafy and other vegetables. Apart from the occasional sorioh maas ( fish in a mustard paste) or aphu maas (fish in a poppy seed paste), hardly any curry is made only with spices.
When we moved to the UK, we did go in search of the riverine fishes from back home. But, then, after having tried them once, and found that they tasted more like rubber than the fish we loved so much, we gave up. After all, being frozen and flown over half the world was bound to have its effects. So, we decided to go local and have have been ever since. Salmon remains the strong favourite, but others like mackerel, sea bass, herring , rainbow trout , cod, haddock etc, have also made their way into our kitchen and on our plates.
On a day to day basis,a plate of plain rice accompanied with a maasor patla jool ( light fish curry) would be the ideal comfort food. The following recipe for aloo-bilahi-maas(potato- tomato- fish ) is one of such…
If you want to invest a little more time on it, add a paste of onion, ginger and garlic, instead of the finely choppped ones that I added…
5-6 pieces of rainbow trout
4-5 medium sized potatoes, quartered, boiled and roughly crumbled
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 + 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
3/4 tsp cumin powder
3 C of water
4 tblsp of oil
a small bunch of coriander, chopped
for the tempering-
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 red chilli, split into half
- Rub the fish pieces with the 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Heat the oil in a pan and fry them. Reserve the oil.
- In the same oil, add the ingredients for tempering and when the seeds start to splutter, add the tomatoes,onions and garlic, along with the rest of the turmeric powder and a pinch of salt. Cook covered over low heat till the tomatoes are mushy…do not let it dry out too much.
- Add the potatoes,cumin powder and cook, stirring continuously till everything thickens.
- Pour the water, increase the heat to high and bring the curry to a boil.
- Add the fish, garam masala powder and season with salt. Simmer till the oil begins to rise to the top. Mash a few bits of potatoes.
- Add the coriander and simmer for a few seconds.
- Serve hot with plain rice, a squirt of lemon and enjoy.
And as I mentioned earlier, serve with plain rice, and if you wish, some salad and a stir fry.