Now we usually eat the Thai versions of fish or the fish masala or fish curry. But I had not introduced one of my favourite Doi Ilish to him, mainly because of his aversion to anything with the smell of mustard. “Fishy smell + mustard” – might be just too much for him. …and hence I would stop at just mentioning the name of the dish …but never dared to make him try it . This was until one of our Bengali friends married and his sweet wife “A” came to Singapore. Now I had someone to discuss the wonderful Bengali dishes, the fact that she is a very good cook whose food my husband loved…..gave me courage to request her to make doi ilish for us. She sweetly agreed to prepare the same and the next time we went to their place , she served it to us . I waited with bated breath while hubby dear took his first morsel …and I was hugely relieved when he said he loved it ;). I promptly requested “A” to share the recipe so that I can try it. Then one day while we were chatting she told me she was making doi ilish …I got the brilliant idea of asking her to share her recipe on this blog .
Much to my delight she agreed and sent the photograph with the recipe ….. These days she is back in India …enjoying herself I hear J and I hope that she comes back with a lot of lovely recipes to share with me .
Here’s the recipe as described by her –
- Hilsa/Ilish ~ 1 Kg
- Yogurt ~ ¾ cup
- Mustard Paste (a wet paste of mustard & green chilies) ~ 4 tsp
- Ginger Paste ~ 1 tsp of fresh ginger paste
- Green Chillies ~ 4 or more
- Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/Nigella Seeds (for tempering) ~ ¾ tsp loosely packed
- Turmeric powder ~ 1/2 tsp
- Mustard Oil ~ preferred for a fish like Hilsa. , you can use any cooking oil though
- Salt – as per taste
Wash the fish well, pat dry and rub the pieces with about ½ tsp of turmeric powder a little salt and keep aside.Heat oil in a Deep Frying Pan/Wok. When the oil is piping hot reduce the heat and slowly slide the fish pieces into the oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, as the fish needs to be fried from the sides also. Fry all the pieces on high heat. Do not fry too much and you can avoid frying as well (though she fried the fish for us, as she said we might not like the smell too much) .
Heat a little oil and put kalonji/ nigella seeds and green chilies and wait for the spices to pop. Add the fresh ginger paste. Lower the heat and put yogurt- mustard sauce. [This can be prepared without yogurt as well] .
Add salt and let it simmer for a couple or minutes and add water (about 1 cup). Add the fish pieces and let the gravy simmer and reduce to desired consistency.
Cook till you get gravy of the right thickness, not watery, add a little mustard oil on top and serve with hot white rice.
One variation is to add longitudinally cut potatoes pieces before adding to mustard paste, fry and let them get semi cooked. Then add the mustard paste and then the fish.