Ok so I did something crazy during my last trip to Bangalore...Deprived of good quality river fishes in Chennai I took the opportunity to buy fishes in a large amount, stored and packed in a thermocol box with dried ice and came by road journey ! Since then I am on fish diet :-)
This particular mustard paste Pabda fish gravy is not at all for faint hearted ! Be prepared to keep a tissue as you may have runny nose while eating !! But its certainly worth experimenting this dish if so far you have not tasted it ! Once you get hold of Ilish maach( the season is round the corner) you may try Ilish Maacher Jhal. And for Chicken lovers I already posted Shorshe Murgi.
3-4 Pabda pieces, scales removed, washed
4 tbsp Mustard seeds
2 tbsp Vinegar
3-4 Green chillies, hotter the better
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder + a big pinch for marinade fishes
A pinch of Onion seeds
3-4 tbsp grated Coconut (optional) Note: I didn't add this time
3 tbsp Mustard oil, strictly mustard oil as no other oil will do justice to this dish
Salt to taste
First of all soak mustard seeds and vinegar in a small bowl in warm water for about an hour. Marinate fish pieces with some salt, turmeric and red chilly powder. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
Traditionally grinding mustard seeds is done on Sheel Nora, a basic Kitchen Aid at Bengali Kitchen but in most kitchens it has been replaced by coffee grinder tool, which works fine. Add very little water in the grinder along with green chillies and pinch of salt. This paste is called Shorshe Bata: Shorshe means Mustard and Bata means ground into a paste. Keep aside.
Heat mustard oil in a flat pan and fry fish pieces one at a time on low flame till light brown. Pabda fish is basically very tender fish so fry carefully. Now add water into the mustard paste ans add turmeric and chilly powder. Mix well. In the same pan add onion seeds and few green chillies into the hot oil and when the seeds splutters add mustard paste. Cover the pan for 2-3 minutes and then add fried fishes. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve with plain rice.
- Vinegar is used to reduce the bitterness.
- If you cook mustard paste in the hot pan for too long it will turn out bitter !
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