Saturday, May 2, 2015

Poached fish with mushrooms and bamboo shoots

L's best fish recipe that is healthy and great to taste!

Ever since L and I returned from Manipur armed with bags full of local produce, I have been on a Manipur-inspired cooking spree. The one thing that most Bengalis would never quite consider, is the fact that fish can be curried, not just using oil, but water! I am quite certain that my mother or grandmother or aunts or anyone else in my near and far family would ever poach or boil fish. Bengalis fry their fish, almost always, except in the occasional Doi Machh or Muithha recipe, but even those involve frying/sautéing other ingredients at some stage, even if not the fish specifically. Having said that I must admit that of all the things my cross-cultural marriage has taught me, it has given me an opportunity to try out a  fantastic alternative - fish cooked sans oil. This wonderfully aromatic recipe uses one of my favourite items, bamboo shoot along with papal. Papal is a type of dried mushroom, with a smoky, earthy flavour from Manipur. Rohu seemed like a good choice; it took on the flavours to perfection and became so soft that it simply melted away. 

Poached Fish

What you need:

300 gms Rohu, or any other big fish 

Dried mushrooms, a handful of papal-go*
2 tbsp fresh or fermented bamboo shoots
Local herbs, a handful of mongche**
1 dried raja mirchi, or red chilly powder
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 inch ginger, crushed or sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
300 ml water

*this is a mushroom available in Manipur, but I think all kinds of mushrooms would be nice here

**back in the city here, I would use fresh mustard leaves and coriander instead of mongche 

How to:

Clean the pieces of fish with water. 

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add all ingredients, and let the fish simmer away for about 15 minutes. I covered the pot with a lid and stirred it gently every now and then; if it looked like too much of the liquid had evaporated, I just added some more water. 

When ready, the fish will be white and ready to flake. Turn off the heat. 

We had this fish curry with boiled rice and a pickle on one of those lovely Friday evenings sitting in front of the television watching nothing in particular. The really great thing about this dish was that it took me almost no time to prepare, and yet it tasted fabulous!

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