Monday, August 17, 2009

The Traditional Fish Curry

While my 'other half' is more excited about trying her hands at multi-cultural continental cuisine, I stick to honing my skills on the home-grown ones. Not that I don't like 'her kind' of cuisine (I do! what will all that cheese, shrimp, ham and the like), but I enjoy cooking 'my kind' more, since it feels quite empowering being able to handle 'n' types of spices and 'm' kinds of oils patiently and coming up with something finger-lickin' good!

So, the weekend gone by I felt like having the good-ol' fish curry that my mom cooked back home when I was a kid. Now, I am not an avid blogger (as you might have guessed; this is my first post!..even though Sashimi keeps mentioning me here and there in her antics), so I forgot to take pictures while I was cooking. I'll try to be more considerate next time ;).

I'll keep it short (I personally find ramblings very boring unless there are images/pictures/visuals to support the content). The fish of interest is Rohu (no idea what's the common name though scientific taxonomy attributes it to "Labeo Rohita"..thanks there, Wiki!). People in northern and eastern part of my country are quite fond of it.

So, I took a fistful of mustard seeds and garlic bulbs (or pods? or buds?..what's it called, dammit?!) and centrifuged them in my grinder with a little water. I added some red chilli powder, pepper, turmeric and salt in the resulting paste. That takes care of phase one. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had cleaned up the sliced rohu and kept it in refrigerator earlier, so technically this mustard business is in phase two.

A little mustard paste is smeared on the fish slices and shallow-fried (umm..well, you can deep fry it and have it just like tastes yum!! but that deserves a separate blog entry, so we will proceed). Meanwhile I had heated up some oil (ok, this needs mention: "oil" everywhere in this post means "mustard oil", any other will ruin the stuff!) in another pan with a li'l bit o' fenugreek. The mustard paste is deep-fried in it till it turns golden-brown, at which point I diced a tomato in it. Well then, the deal is almost over; you put the fried fish in the mixture, add a little water, salt it up a bit, leave for 5 mins and you are ready to rock! We usually relish it with freshly-cooked steamed rice. Feel free to experiment and add you own touch!

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Week Night Veggie Innovations

We are doing what we can to reduce our calorie intake. (I can't say for sure if it's working, but isn't it the thought that counts, or some such thing) With this noble thought in mind, on most week nights we have fairly simply done vegetables - home cooked, and plain chapatis. Now, the part about "simple" and "plain" gets pretty depressing at times. One night, not very long ago, Sushi rebelled. He wouldn't see another lauki until Armageddon cometh. The hapless lauki in the mean time was pining away in the refrigerator, slowly changing hue from a fresh youthful green to a pale, forlorn yellow. It was very nearly on the brink of going a murky brown, and time had come to take decisive action and reconcile the warring parties.

That's when some forgotten memory started to stir and it turned up "Kofta Curry". Kofta, as I remember, used to be a part of my childhood meals. Grandfather's faithful servant, the forgotten species that actually reside in separate quarters in your house and pretty much do everything that there is to be done around the place, had this item in his repertoire. Incidentally, the "faithfulness" of Shankar dada is a subject that's up for debates and it invariably is, at a lot of family gatherings. He's even suspected of having evil intentions pertaining to the life of my grandfather, which if nothing else, does show a stoutness of the heart.

Well, baba, that's my grandfather, strolled out of this world at his own pace and time and no one does doubt till this date, the culinary abilities of Shankar dada. Which is not to say that I got in touch with him for the recipe of Kofta curry! He was known for other nefarious activities too like being a rickshaw puller to make an extra buck and peddling contraband articles, so I'd rather not run that risk! Nope the kofta curry recipe came from good ole google of course.

The recipe? Oh yes, that. All you need to do is to get the bai to grate the murky brown lauki(if yours is still in the green of its youth, you may not really want to wait for the murky brownish-ness). To the grated lauki you add seasonings as per taste . I used asafoetida, cumin and coriander powder, salt, red chili and gram flour to make it all bindy and sticky.

You then shape the bindy and sticky mixture into spherical kofta shapes..which when fried right gives this -

Onion and tomatoes and forget exactly what, but general spices make up a curry. In that you swim your koftas . Thus -

Phew! And thus your home economy is saved from the near loss of good lauki. (Lauki, for those who call it something else is "Bottle Gourd")