Steamed, cooked or baked fish in mustard sauce is a typical favourite of the Bengali cuisine. Traditional fishes used for this preparation are Bhetki (also known as Asian seabass), Pomfret(this is also a flat fish like Plaice), Hilsa( sorsher ilish is a delicacy, which every fish-eating Bengali waxes lyrical about).
My Mustard Plaice follows the traditional recipe with a few twists and short-cuts for convenience. The biggest differences being the use of Plaice instead of the traditional fishes, and the use of mustard powder, or a strong lemon juice based mustard sauce. It would be very un-green(and expensive) of me to buy imported fish from the streets of London, but you do get all of the above fishes in Brick Lane.
- 250 gms Plaice (other alternatives are Cod, Haddock and River Cobbler)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or mustard oil if you have some)
- Mustard powder or paste or a lemon juice-based sauce
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Coriander leaves (as much as you like)
- Lemon juice if you are using mustard paste or powder
- 1 small onion
- 1 finely sliced and de-seeded green chilli-pepper
- Salt to taste
Preparation: Time taken 20 minutes
Finely slice the onions and de-seed the green chilli. Set the oven to pre-heat i you plan to bake the fish. Lightly oil your baking dish and set aside a bit of oil to drizzle on top of the fish. Next, cover the fish in mustard sauce, salt, turmeric and lemon juice. If you are using a salted sauce then don’t add extra salt. I use an Indian mustard sauce, Kasundi, which does not need extra salt and very little lemon juice. You might find it in Indian groceries in the UK. Then, put the onions in your oiled baking dish and leave them in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 150/gas mark 3. However, if you are feeling too lazy put the onions, the fish, and about half of the chopped coriander, all at once and bake for a good 10 minutes. When the fish changes colour from translucent to opaque and the juices on the side start sizzling, take it out and add some more of the coriander and the green chilli. If you want it to dry a little put it back in the oven but turn of the heat, otherwise you will have a beautifully fragrant fish with a thick mustard gravy. This particular preparation can also be cooked in the microwave for 5 minutes at full power.
Steamed plain basmati rice and dal made out of red lentils.Written by Amrita Dasgupta - Visit my blog for more food and travel stories
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