Shorhay Maach or Fish in Mustard sauce is a Bengali favourite. We often talk about traditional cooking, traditional recipes and so on, but there is one thing that I have noticed, traditional or not each household has its own recipe, handed down from one generation to another. Sometimes each generation also adds its own touch to it thereby changing the recipe a bit, just as I have done to Shorshay Maach.
I loved it when mum cooked Bengal’s favourite fish the hilsa in mustard sauce. I did see how my mum cooked it, particularly the manner in which she handled the mustard sauce, but I did not pay much attention to the little details. There is therefore a slight difference between my recipe and my mum’s recipe. When mum was still with us I was planning to post mum’s recipe and therefore this photograph (see below) was taken at that time. There is a marked difference between my dish and my mum’s dish, you will notice that my mum has been able to grind the mustard to a very fine paste, mine is a bit coarse (I confess I have not been able to grind it as well as my mother did) and my mother has added tomato to the dish which I haven’t.
|Mum's Fish in Mustard Sauce|
- Pieces of Fish (Katla/Rahu/ Hilsa)
- Mustard paste
- A little turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder or green chillies or green chilli paste
- Salt to taste
- Mustard Oil
Marinate the pieces of fish with salt and turmeric powder and deep fry them. If you are using hilsa then you do not need to deep fry them.
Grind the required quantity of black mustard seeds to a paste. The quantity of the paste will depend on the quantity of the fish and your taste. As I was grinding a small quantity of mustard, I used the mortar and pestle but you can use the mixer grinder. Remember to soak the mustard seeds in warm water before grinding them.
Watch the video below to see how I have strained the mustard paste, if you find that your paste is not bitter then use the paste as it is.
If you have no issues with chillies then grind some green chillies.
Take some mustard oil; I used approximately 4 tablespoons of oil for 4 pieces of fish. Add the strained mustard paste along with the water, if you have not strained the paste then add the paste to the oil and also add water. See that the quantity of water is more than the mustard oil, or else as you heat the oil it will begin to pop up.
When the mixture comes to a boil add salt, turmeric powder, chopped green chillies as well as the chilli paste. I added some Kashmiri red chilli powder instead of green chilli paste.
I used the green chillies which do not have heat in them (To know more about chillies click here).
Stir and add the pieces of fish.
Let it cook, turn the fishes over.
When the mixture begins to thicken and the oil separates, you know the dish is ready. Taste to check whether the salt is right. Switch off the gas, give it some standing time before you serve.