Tuesday 24 March 2020

Assamese Mustard-Spiced Fish Curry

Mustard-Spiced Fish Curry

Traditionally thin, tangy, and just a bit spicy, this Assamese fish curry is an adaptation of my cousin Pria's family recipe. Recalling one of the most delightful dinners we shared a decade ago, I felt the need to prepare it and relive the delectable flavours. This fish curry is simple to prepare and is served with boiled white rice. 
Sharing food with family is perhaps the greatest asset that mankind has to offer. Embrace it with love and affection. The simplest joys bring the greatest pleasure.

A fish curry with layers of flavour

A thicker gravy if you prefer!

 Serves 6

4 tsp mustard seeds or 2 tsp Indian mustard powder-dalaili Rai      
500 g/ 1.1 lb fish fillets, preferably white fish Tilapia pomfret, haddock, cod loins
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
4 green chillies split
3 tsp oil
1 finely chopped onion
half-inch cube ginger peeled and chopped fine
1 finely chopped medium sized tomato
1 cup water
optional 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) 

Prepare mustard paste by soaking mustard seeds in a small bowl with enough water to cover them completely for 2 hours. Drain the water and grind it into a paste in a blender, adding water as necessary. It should be a fine, foamy, very thin liquid paste.
Prepare the fish by cutting them to the desired size. Coat them with turmeric and salt. Set it aside to marinate it for about 20 minutes or more. In a skillet, shallow fry the fish to a golden brown. Remove the fish and keep it aside. 
Continue in the same skillet to saute` the onions until soft. Let it cool for a few minutes. Grind the ginger, tomatoes, and the sautéed onions. Tip it back into the skillet and add a cup of water and the green chillies. Cook until the mixture is cooked through and to your desired consistency. Place the fish in. Slowly pour in the mustard paste . Use a strainer if it's not smooth. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste for salt and add the coriander leaves if desired. Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon. Serve it hot with boiled white rice.

You can cook the fish in a preheated oven at 180C | 350F for 20 minutes. Turn it over to ensure a golden brown crust on both sides. Use parchment paper and do not overlap the pieces of fish.

If you are unable to get mustard seeds, use the mustard powder-dalaili rai. Mix it vigorously with warm water and set aside to allow the flavour to develop.
Don't get deterred by searching for the right mustard. Give it a shot with prepared Dijon mustard if you must. 

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo Credit : Niloufer Mavalvala

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