Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fish in White Poppy Seed & Mustard Sauce

Posto Bata Maach
Ground white poppy seed paste is combined with strained dark mustard seed paste and green chilies to make a delectable sauce in which fish pieces are simmered. Any white fish or small whole fish such as climbing perch (Bengali koi maach) and smelt are ideal for this dish. Fish and sauce spooned over freshly steamed Basmati rice makes a very satisfying meal. 

Cilantro or coriander leaves come in huge bunches at the market and inevitably, a large amount gets tossed because they spoil fast. I ground the remaining cilantro with tamarind paste and mustard oil, and that's what dots the tops of the fish pieces in the picture above.

1 lb. Tilapia or any white fish, cleaned & cut 
6 + 1 Tbsp. mustard or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. white poppy seeds , soaked in ½ cup boiling water until water cools
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds, soaked overnight with salt
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1 green chilies
cilantro paste - a blend of cilantro, tamarind paste and mustard oil
Salt to taste

1.   Marinate fish pieces in turmeric & salt for 30 minutes.
2.   Rinse mustard seeds in several changes of water.
3.   Grind mustard seeds in blender with ½ cup water, salt & 1 green chili.
4.   Strain mustard paste and keep liquid & solids in separate bowls.
5.   Grind poppy seeds in blender with soaking water & ½ tsp. salt.
6.   Mix strained mustard seed paste with poppy seed past & set aside.
7.   Reserve mustard paste solids for mixed vegetables or spinach sides.
8.   Lightly fry fish pieces over medium-high heat.
9.   Pour blended pastes over fried fish and bring to a boil.
10. Lower heat to minimum and simmer for 5 minutes, basting fish with gravy.
11. Adjust salt to taste, garnish with 1 Tbsp. mustard oil & cilantro paste.

Transfer to serving dish and serve over steamed Basmati rice.

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