Mackerel with Spinach (Macher Chorchori)

mackerel_with_spinach.jpg-pwrt3Based on the traditional Bengali dish known as ‘chorchori’ (medley) this is variation which I learnt to cook from my father, a master of culinary creativity. An easy to cook recipe bursting with flavour and goodness.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tin mackerel fillets in brine, drained
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • ½ tbsp garlic paste, or 1 fresh clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste or 1” piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-7 blocks of frozen spinach
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 green chilli, chopped (optional)
  • handful of fried fenugreek leaves (optional)

Method:

1. Heat the oil and add the bay leaf.

2. Add the onions and cook on medium heat until transparent.

3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1-2 mins.

4. Add the dry spices and sauté for 2 mins with 2 tbsp water.

5. Add the mackerel and stir well to cover with spices, using a wooden spoon to break up the fillets.

6. Add the spinach and green chilli (if using), stir a little and cover; leave to cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

7. Stir the spinach well to blend in with the fish mixture. Cover and cook again, if necessary, until the spinach is cooked through.

8. Remove the lid and turn up heat to evaporate any excess liquid.

9. Continue stirring and remove from heat when the dish is completely dry and begins to come away from the sides of the pan as you stir.

10. Stir in the dried fenugreek leaves, if using, and remove from heat.

As published in the Wimbledon Guardian, 12 December 2013

Advertisements

Tagine-Steamed White Fish

Steamed FishIn keeping with our Bengali traditional, but much to my parents’ disapproval of my aversion to eating fish, it was often a case of “Eat your fish!” at the dining table. More so than the proverbial peas.

Ironically, as a Mother of two teens, I now find myself cooking fish in a variety of ways. The versatility of cooking with fish, whether it’s a fishermen’s pie, a curry, a grill or even a biriyani (!) makes it quite effortless to get those all-essential Omega-3’s into our daily diet in the most natural way.

Last night I chose to steam these basa fillets, but not quite the conventional way. I seasoned the fillets and simply arranged them in a single layer in my glazed ceramic tagine. I then placed the tagine on the stove over a heat diffuser to ensure even cooking.

The build up of steam in the pot creates condensation and the resulting droplets ensure the fish is left beautifully moist with all the flavours sealed into the fish. Simply lushalicious :p. So here’s how it goes…

Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 4  

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets (such as cod, haddock or basa)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of a quarter lemon
  • 1 tsp crushed red chilies (or more if you dare!)
  • sprinkle of course black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • a lemon twist and sprig of fresh coriander to garnish each piece

How to cook

  1. Mix all the ingredients well and season the fish. Set aside for 10 mins.
  2. Gently heat a large wok, karahi or tagine placed in a heat diffuser (you can use a tava or frying pan for this purpose).
  3. Arrange the fish onto the vessel a single layer and place a tight fitting lid (or the tagine lid if using a tagine).
  4. Allow to cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove each piece carefully and garnish with a twist of lemon and a sprig of coriander.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with seasoned, steamed new potatoes and beans or spinach. Or for a touch of Indian, serve with a portion of boiled rice topped with a tadka-free lentil curry as shown here 🙂

Basa fillet with lentils and rice

Bengali Fish Curry

The simplicity of this basic Bengali fish curry is its greatest appeal. It is mouth-wateringly flavoursome and when served with boiled rice is indulgently reminiscent of my mother’s cooking…

20120910-024913.jpg

Cooking Time: approx. 45 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients

FOR THE FISH

  • 6-8 medium pieces white fish
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder

FOR THE CURRY

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 heaped tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 green chillies cut lengthwise and deseeded (if not using chilli powder)
  • 1 large tomato cubed
  • 4 medium new potatoes cut lengthwise
  • handful of fresh chopped coriander leaves

How to cook

  1. Place fish in a large boil and rub in the dry spices. Cover and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil gently and add the onions. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cumin seeds, then add bay leaf, salt and ginger. Stir and cover. Allow to cook until onions are softened.
  4. Add tomatoes, potatoes, turmeric, coriander, paprika, chilli powder (if using) and green chillies. Stir well for 30 seconds.
  5. Add 1/2 cup boiled water, stir and cover. Cook until onions and tomato are mashable and potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile place the fish under a medium grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning over once. Be careful not to overcook the fish to avoid drying out.
  7. Check the gravy mixture and mash the onions and tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Add a little more boiled water if necessary to create a runny gravy and bring to boil.
  8. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the fish with a fish slice, a piece at a time. Carefully pour in the juices on the grill pan. Immediately turn over the each piece of fish.
  9. Add more boiled water to create more gravy if desired. Turn up the flame and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  10. Garnish with chopped coriander and cover to allow to set.