Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Kalo jeera diye mach or Bengali-style salmon with black onion seeds
This is a really simple salmon recipe that my parents came up with aeons ago for cooking what was at the time a pretty unfamiliar British fish- so a true fusion dish! I'm sure it could be adapted for use with other oily fish, or indeed the more traditional Bengali rui mach. There isn't much jhol, or gravy, as such but what you do have is quite a delicately spiced dish which really compliments the rich flavour of salmon.
Recipe (enough for 2)
Around 300g of salmon, scaled and cut into large-ish chunks
A large thumb-sized piece of ginger, squashed to a paste
2 cloves of garlic, squashed to a paste
1 large dried bay leaf
1 whole green chilli, pricked a few times
Around 2 tsp black onion seeds (a.k.a. nigella, kalonji, or kalo jeera if you're Bengali)
Around 1.5 tsp turmeric
A small squirt of tomato purée
Around 1 tsp salt, or to taste
Around 1 tblsp plain oil
Couple of tbslp chopped fresh coriander leaves (optional)
Firstly marinate the fish in around 1 tsp of turmeric. Give it a good stir so it's all lightly coated, and leave it for around 30mins (or less if that's more convenient). In the meantime squish the the ginger and garlic, and mix into a paste. When you're ready to cook, heat the oil in a suitable pan (non-stick is pretty handy for this) and then put in the fish. Gently fry for a few minutes on each side to 'seal' it but not cook it fully. Take the fish out (leaving the oil in the pan) and put it the bay leaf, ginger and garlic, and chilli. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes and then add the black onion seeds, and continue to cook. After another couple of minutes, put the fish back in, sprinkle over the rest of the turmeric, and add the tomato purée with a couple of tablespoons of water. Gently mix everything together, season to taste and place over a low heat until the fish is cooked through. This will probably take 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your fish pieces.
Once cooked, take off the heat and stir in the coriander if you're using it. Serve with plain boiled rice, and maybe some vegetables, while contemplating the the brilliance of kalo jeera.