Talking of a dinner…

by Sunita on April 21, 2007

The above was our dinner yeterday…plain rice with spinach dal, mixed vegetable fry consisting of carrots, beans and potatoes and borolia fish( sorry, I don’t know what it’s called in other languages) cooked in a poppy seed gravy.In this post, I’m going to dwell on the last, namely the fish dish.

On a recent visit to the local Indian shop, Dinesh, the most ardent lover of fish among the four of us couldn’t resist picking up these little beauties.
There was already some other fish purchased earlier and these ones had to wait their turn for a couple of days…and when they were finally served, my other half was a very happy man by the end of our dinner. In fact, he was so engrossed in eating that he hardly spoke a word till the last morsel. Well, it seemed that the waiting was worth it…

What’s needed for the fish dish-

2 handfuls of poppy seeds, soaked for an hour and grinded into a paste
10 borolia fishes ( however, any other fish of preference can be used)
a paste out of 1 and 1/2 inch of ginger and 2-3 pods of garlic
3 green chillis, split half way through
2 whole red chillis
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 pods of cardamom
1 inch piece of cinnamon
3 cloves
1 and 1/2 glasses of milk
1 tsp turmeric powder and some more to fry the fish
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste

How to-

Rub a little turmeric powder and salt to the fish and fry them in 6-7 tblsp of oil, till they are nice and crisp, and set them aside. Actually, even at this stage, the fishes are great to munch on.
Mix the poppy seed paste with the milk and keep aside.

In the same oil that the fish was fried in ( if the pan is nearly devoid of oil, add another couple of tblsps), add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, whole red chillis, green chillis, cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. When the release their aroma and the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add the ginger- garlic paste and fry for a minute.

Add the turmeric and cumin powders and fry till the oil begins to leave the sides of the pan.

Add the poppy seed-milk mixture along with the fish , season with salt and simmer for a couple of minutes. The gravy will begin to thicken at this stage. Add the garam masala powder, stir for a few seconds and remove from heat when the oil rises to the top and the gravy does not dry out too much. If it does, it can always be lightened with a little water.
Serve hot with plain rice.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cynthia April 21, 2007 at 10:55 pm

Ummmmmm, this is nice Sunita. Actually today I had spinach dal, plain rice, brinjal, kumro and shrimp. (See, I am learning the names :) )

I love that sauce you made for the fish. Will definitely try it.


2 Pravs April 21, 2007 at 11:14 pm

I love fish. This recipe is so different from how i cook fish. Will this a try.


3 sra April 22, 2007 at 9:13 am

Very unusual recipe, Sunita. Am not sure I’ve come across fish cooked in milk before. Also found your taro root unusual in that it contains saffron.


4 sunita April 22, 2007 at 10:31 am

Cynthia, thanks…sounds like you too had a very nice meal…and yes, you’re nearly there…

And you’re most welcome to give it a try…


5 sunita April 22, 2007 at 10:32 am

Hi Pravs, welcome to my world…and do try it ..I’m sure you’ll like it…


6 sunita April 22, 2007 at 10:37 am

Sra,we are used to this recipe…in fact, I also make fish with only milk and it turns out really well…the thing about the taro recipe being unusual is that it is my twist in cooking this vegetable.I can’t resist trying out different combinations, rather than sticking to the same old ones… a bit of an adventurer in this regard…with the odd mishaps, of course…


7 Sig April 22, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Sunitaaaaaaaaaa what a unique fish recipe…….. It is making me so hungry even during breakfast time!

Are those sardines by any chance?
I learned that frying before putting in a gravy technique from Siv, and we also munch on the fried fish before it makes it into the gravy :)


8 sunita April 22, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Sig, they are definitely not sardines…as for the fried fish, we always do that before putting into any gravy…


9 Sandeepa April 23, 2007 at 12:49 pm

That is a yummy fish curry Sunita
I make Fish Posto but never used milk, shall try this next.
Can I use Rohu like fish for this ?


10 Sandeepa April 23, 2007 at 12:51 pm

I second Sunita here. Even we always fry fish before putting it in gravy. From the Mallu and Koonkani blogs I learned that you can put it in gravy without frying too !!!


11 Sharmi April 23, 2007 at 1:44 pm

hey Suni arent these just like the Mathi meen we get in India?? I thought you found them here!! nice looking plate.


12 sunita April 23, 2007 at 6:15 pm

Sandeepa, thanks…usually I make it without the milk, but adding it gave it a somewhat richer taste…and yes, you can use Rohu like fish…

As for frying fish, I love to cook the gravy in the oil left after frying the fish…gives it an altogether nice taste.


13 sunita April 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Sharmi,thanks…but mathi meen??? sorry…I love fish, cook them with enthusiasm and devour them with equal gusto, but name them, apart from a few obvious ones,and I am lost…


14 Reena April 24, 2007 at 1:12 am

sunita, those fish look so tempting. i have never heard of this fish. spinach dal and rice..yum!!


15 sunita April 24, 2007 at 8:39 am

Reena, thats what we call this fish in Assamese…have no idea about it’s other names…


16 Mishmash ! April 26, 2007 at 1:01 am

Sunita, your fish curry pic is making me crave for some..this prep is completely new to me…never thought of poopy seed paste in fish….I want to try this one once and bookmarked ur recipe too..we get the same fish in our local store here…so next time I see this variety,some of ‘em are going into my bag :)



17 sunita April 26, 2007 at 10:10 am

Mishmash, it’s quite a common preparation in the part of India that I come from…do give it a try…


18 Creativecook April 29, 2007 at 11:34 pm


I make something similar with mustard and poppy seeds with the spices. Sounds pretty good. These fish look like the whole whiting that we get in the stores here.



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