Monday, October 01, 2012

Eggplant in a Creamy Yogurt Sauce

Doi Begun


1 cup plain yogurt
4 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
1 tsp. Bengali roasted five-spice powder (panch phoron)

4 large oriental eggplants, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp. extra light olive oil

1 Tbsp. extra light olive oil
1/2 tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds 

2 sliced onions
5-6 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 russet potatoes, cut into 12 pieces each
1/4 cup golden raisins

1 tsp. ghee or melted butter
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 – 3 hot green chillies, left whole


  1. Mix yogurt with the next 5 ingredients and allow it to come to room temperature
  2. Coat eggplants and potatoes with turmeric and salt, then fry in 3 Tbsp. oil until golden brown. 
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add cumin seeds.
  4. When the seeds begin to sputter and sizzle, add sliced onions and saute until translucent.
  5. Add tomatoes, potatoes and raisins, lower heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender.
  6. Add fried eggplant, adjust salt to taste and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from heat source and add yogurt mixture, one tablespoon at a time, until the yogurt is thoroughly incorporated into the vegetables.
  8. Garnish with ghee, chopped cilantro & whole chilies and transfer to a serving dish.


The yogurt is added a Tbsp. at a time so that it does not separate. 
Be very gentle when adding the yogurt so that the eggplants do not disintegrate.

Salmon in Mustard Gravy

Salmon Macher Jhal


1 large Salmon fillet, cut in pieces

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. nigella seeds (kalo jeera)

2 Tbsp. posto (white poppy seeds)
4 Tbsp. black mustard seeds

1 large onion, sliced
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar
5-6 plum tomatoes
1½ cups hot water 

Garnish with:
1 Tbsp. chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
3 green chilies
1 tsp. ghee

  1. Soak mustard seeds and 1 Tbsp. salt in tepid water overnight. 
  2. Soak posto in hot water for 15 minutes. 
  3. Strain the mustard and blend with posto.
  4. Marinate the fish slices for 10 minutes in turmeric & salt. 
  5. Fry fish lightly on both sides and set aside.
  6. Add 3 Tbsp. oil to pan over high heat and add nigella seeds.
  7. When seeds begin to sputter, fry the onions and tomato paste until oil resurfaces.
  8. Add blended posto and mustard to the pan.
  9. Sauté for 3 minutes, add the hot water, plum tomatoes and fish pieces.
  10. Place lid on pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  11. Adjust salt to taste and add sugar. 
  12. Garnish with coriander leaves, green chilies and ghee.

Fish in Mustard Gravy

Tilapia Macher Jhal

I find that making this dish on the spur of the moment is not  possible because mustard seeds need to be soaked overnight in salt and water to get rid of its bitterness.  Using Coleman’s  Mustard saves a lot of time.  The other time-saver is to add the fish directly to the gravy instead of frying it beforehand.  This steams the fish, keeping it moist and tender.  

Inspiration for this recipe is attributed to Dipanwita Banerjee who is a wonderful cook!


1 lb. Salmon, Tilapia or Catfish fillets or steaks

Soak next two ingredients for 15 minutes and grind into paste:
3 Tbsp. white poppy seeds (posto)
¾ cup boiling water

Stir into paste and set aside for 10 minutes:
1 Tbsp. Coleman’s English Mustard superfine powder

3 Tbsp. oil
½ tsp. nigella seeds (kalo jeera/kalonji)
2 green chilies, sliced

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 Tbsp. Hunt’s tomato sauce (not ketchup) or 2 medium tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup hot water
 Salt to taste

Garnish with:
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

  1.    Soak poppy seeds in boiling water for 15 minutes & blend both until smooth.
  2.    Stir in Coleman’s Mustard and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3.    Cut fish fillets in half.  If using fish steaks, leave whole.
  4.    Heat oil in saucepan; add nigella seeds & chilies.
  5.    When seeds begin to sputter, fry onions until translucent.
  6.    Add tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes, lower heat & simmer until oil resurfaces.
  7.    Stir in poppy seed paste & simmer for 5 minutes.
  8.    Add ½ cup hot water, bring to a boil and add fish pieces.  
  9.    Cook over low heat for 5 more minutes.
  10.    Adjust salt to taste, garnish with cilantro and serve.