Friday, May 13, 2011

Bengal Fish Curry with Spiced Rice

Indian Curries Special

Tonight's Menu
Fish in yogurt sauce (doi maach)
Spiced Basmati Rice
Wine Pairing: Pinot Blanc

Fish is very popular in India especially in the coastal areas where an endless variety of fish and shrimps are available in the water nearby providing staple food for the population. In West Bengal, it's almost a religious practice where a meal without fish is incomplete. They have a distinct style of cooking and it varies from one to the other region within Bengal. Doi Maach or fish in yogurt sauce is most often made with 'Hilsa' or 'Ilish' (almost an iconic fish in Bengali cuisine). Here in North America, any firm white-fleshed fish can be used. Make this simple yet delectable curry and enjoy the flavors of Bengal.

Doi Maach
Ingredients: (serves 4)

2 lbs firm white-fleshed fish (I used tilapia) cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
2-inch ginger crushed
1 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
  1. Mix lime juice with a bit of salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry the fish pieces in hot oil and keep aside. 
  2. In the same pan pour some more oil, add mustard seeds, and all other dry whole spices. Let roast for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add onion and ginger garlic paste. Cook stirring often till onion turns light brown. 
  4. Add yogurt and salt, turmeric and chili powder. Cook for about 2 minutes on high till you see oil on the side of the pan. At this point gently add the fried fish and maybe 1/2 cup water to thin the sauce. Bring to boil and simmer covered for about 5 minutes. Do not stir vigorously or fish might break. 
  5. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with spiced rice. 

Spiced Rice
Ingredients: (generously serves 4)

2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp whole spices(cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, bay leaf)
1 tbsp butter
salt to taste
  1. In a pan heat butter till it melts. Add all the whole spices and let roast for 30 seconds. 
  2. Add rice and stir to coat each grain with the spiced butter. Add salt and water. 
  3. Bring to boil and simmer covered for about 12-15 minutes till all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked through. 
  4. Remove from heat and let stand covered and undisturbed for 5 minutes. 
  5. Remove the bay leaves and fluff with a fork. 
  6. Serve hot.

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