Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sorshe Bata Maach - Fish in Mustard Gravy

Shorshe Bata Maach
This is a favourite main dish prepared in my household. Black mustard seeds sauce has a sharp and pungent taste that is similar to Wasabi or spicy Chinese mustard sauce. Some people combine mustard sauce with poppy seed paste to tone down the pungency, but that is frowned upon in my family. 

To prepare the sauce, black mustard seeds must be soaked in tepid water for at least two hours or preferably overnight. The seeds, along with water in which it was soaking, is placed in a blender jar with salt and a green chili, blended at maximum setting until smooth, and then added to the fish.

Any white fish, cleaned and left whole, cut in steaks or filleted can be used according to taste and is best served with hot, long-grained rice.

Sevai Payesh - Toasted Vermicelli Pudding

Sevai Payesh
Payesh is a milk-based dessert that is cooked long and slow on the stovetop. It takes ages for 8 cups of milk to thicken and is tedious because it has to be closely monitored during this entire process. Milk solids easily stick to the bottom of the pan and even the slightest hint of burning will mean pitching the entire batch and starting over again.

I'm all for making my life as easy as possible, so I mix a can of evaporated milk with 6 cups of milk to hasten the process. Instead of using plain white sugar, I use brown sugar or jaggery to give a beautiful caramel color to the milk. A lot of time is saved by using already toasted vermicelli that is readily available in most Indian markets. If toasted vermicelli is not available, break up the vermicelli is small pieces and toast it in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter or ghee until golden in color.

This dessert is a deeply satisfying end to a festive meal.