13 June 2015

Smoked Eel Curry -- Rongmei Naga style!

This dish may not be everyone's cup of tea, and some may even be repulsed by it. However, in my home state, Manipur, eel is a delicacy. We're talking close to a thousand rupees for a kilo of smoked eel. Yup!  As a child i hated eel with vengeance, because my mom served fresh eel as a therapeutic soup when i was recovering from some prolonged illness. It took me a long, long while to overcome the unpleasant memory associated with anything to do with eel. 

I don't exactly remember when i started enjoying having eel, but my! oh my! do i now love smoked eel -- completely in love with it! If you chance upon smoked eel, pray try! I'm still not too keen on fresh eel (it taste exactly like fish when it's fresh); however, it's amazing how the taste completely intensify, and just different and lovely once it's smoked. This distinct flavor is what i have come to so love.

Today's curry is an adaptation of my mom's recipe. When mom makes this curry she uses a whole lot of other local spices, but i'm quite satisfied with this simple and spicy style i have prepared for you today. I hope you get your hands on to this exotic goodness and get to try it! Here's the recipe.

Smoked Eel - 3-4 
Tomato - 2-3 Medium sized
Dried Red Chilies - 5-6 or more
Garlic Pods - 5-6
Onion - 1 Medium sized, diced
Veg Oil - 2 Tbsp
Water - 2 Cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Salt to taste


Cut the smoked eel into bite size, soak it in boiling water for sometime to soften it. Drain the water and wash it again with change of water. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat oil, fry the onions, tomatoes, and dried chilies till the tomatoes soften.

Now, add salt, chili powder, and turmeric powder, then stir to combine.

Add the smoked eel, allow the flavors to come together, about 2 -3 minutes.

Pour water and let it come to boil, then add the garlic ( smash it with the side of your knife).

Cover it and simmer till it's done.

You may, as always, serve this with hot rice and some nice dried fish chutney or eromba.

30 March 2015

Pan seared Basa Fish Fillet with creamy Potato mash!!!

I've wanted to venture west-bound with my fish dish for a long, long, long time. However, it never did hit the list, except for when my husband tried a mint engulfed baked fish, which really didn't gel with my pallet. Anyway, some weekend ago, my dear mother in law got us a beautiful fillet of Basa fish and asked for something different than our regular family fish fry with rasam.

Upon this request, i decided to make today's recipe ~ Pan seared Basa Fish Fillet (without skin), accompanied by creamy-buttery Potato mash. You can use a fillet of any white fish, and i'm perfectly confident that it will taste even better with the skin on. 

I love this recipe for many reasons, you get to enjoy the natural unaltered taste of the fish, flavor enhanced; it makes for a light meal packed with very good flavor punch - who knew lime and fish would make for such a great marriage? And, this dish is just ideal for a lazy weekend when you want good food without having to buzz around in the kitchen. 

Now, what is a good protein dish without some good Carb? This potato mash was just the perfect accompaniment for the fish fillet. It was creamy, light, and very filling. It is said that for a good potato mash one must use a good floury potato, and not the waxy variety -- I must have gotten the potato variety right, because this was the best potato mash i had made till date. I hope you will try out this fuss free delicious meal! 

This recipe is meant for 4 portions -- please find the detailed recipe below:

Ingredients for Fish Fillet:
Basa Fish Fillet - 4 fillet (1 Kilo)
Sage and chives, dried spice mix - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 Tsp
Ground Black Pepper - 1 Tsp
Butter - 4 Tbs
Juice of 1 lemon/lime
Fresh chopped cilantro/coriander for garnish

Dab the fish on both the sides with kitchen towel to dry it as much as you can.
Season the fillet on both the sides with a sprinkle of salt, ground black pepper, and sage and chives mix.
Heat up a big frying pan on full heat, drop a dollop tablespoon of butter, swirl all around to coat the pan.
Reduce heat to medium, and then pan sear the fish fillet for about two minutes on both the sides.
Repeat the process using a tablespoon of butter for each fillet of fish, till all's done.
Once done, rest the fish fillets on a serving plate.
Reduce the frying pan to simmer, and squeeze the juice of a whole lemon/lime over the crumbs remaining on the pan, mix, and then turn off heat. 

Note~ it may seem like it isn't much, but let me tell you that it is quite enough.

Ingredients for Potato Mash:
Floury Potato - 1 Kilo
Milk, room temperature - 1/2 Cup
Butter, room temperature - 4-5 Tbsp
A pinch of salt.

Pressure cook the potatoes just until a knife cuts right through, drain the water and keep aside.
Take a serving bowl, and mash the potatoes into it using a fork, a wooden spoon, or a potato masher.
Once done, add the butter, and give it a good mix.
Then you add the milk, a little at a time, until all is nicely incorporated into the potato mash.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt and mix.

Once everything is ready, drizzle this salty-zingy juice over the fish fillets, sprinkle a little of the chopped cilantro on top, serve a good portion of the creamy mash, and your meal is good to delve into. Enjoy!!