|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 70, Tuesday June 2, 2009|
Wash the fish head thoroughly and rub with salt and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Heat oil in a wok and gently fry the fish head, then remove from wok and keep aside. In the remaining oil, fry the remaining onion until light brown, then one by one add all the spices and stir well. Then add the daal along with some water and allow the daal to simmer and cook. Once the daal has cooked and the water has partially dried up, add the polao chal and the fried fish head.
Then add about 2½ cups of water and cover and let simmer. Once the curry has reached a slightly thicker consistency, remove from heat.
In a separate pan, heat 1 teaspoon of ghee, and sauté 2 teaspoons of onions and 2 to 3 dried red chillies until light brown. Sprinkle this concoction along with the prepared spice mix powder over the curry and mix well. Just before serving, sprinkle the fried cheera.
Rui and green mango curry
Smart uses for vinegar
NOW that you know ketchup can be used for shining copper and repairing hair, or that vodka can be used to repel insects and freshen laundry, you may have been wondering what other tasks you can get done for cheap with household items.
We thought we'd take a closer look at vinegar, an inexpensive, versatile good. In fact the word vinegar comes from a French translation for "sour wine."
WE rediscovered! OK, ok. I have to get out of this habit of starting my writings without any background. So, allow me to expand.
Some of our school friends have rediscovered each other lately. This was fuelled by the fact that the beloved and respected Rector of our school passed away recently. Most of the batch mates came for the condolence meeting. At least most of those who live in Calcutta. We exchanged phone numbers, email-ids and other coordinates and promised to meet up every so often.
One of those often happened to be a dinner at my place. Three of my school friends were coming. Two promised to bring their significant others. One said he would come alone. Now was the most exciting part. Menu planning. My raison d'être.
Few phone calls were made and dietary restrictions were gathered. It seemed that barring few allergy calls relating to prawns, eggs and chicken, all else was game. My tendency is to veer toward the unknown and create a surprise every meal. I decided to do my standard mushroom rice and a whole fish Mexican style. I also decided to roast some potatoes and onions together to give a stir fry feel to it.
But what would be the piece d' resistance? Chicken was out of bounds. But certainly mutton was not. I thought long and hard. I wanted to create something different, yet comfortingly familiar. Can't tell you why, but I was pretty sure that I wanted to do a stew. How, was the burning question. I vacillated between Italian and Mexican inspirations. And in the end, settled for an Italian classic of Tuscan origin.
But it had to be made a little more familiar. Out went the red wine reduction. In came tomato puree. The recipe also called for black olives. I refrained. I increased the amount of garlic. But there were two things I did not mess with. One was red peppers. No, not the hot kind. The bell pepper kind. Sweet, bright, full flavoured. They brought a whole new, yet familiar dimension to the dish. The other was fresh rosemary. I rubbed them as marinade into the meat. Fragrant, sharp and distinctive, it blends very well with red meat to mellow the otherwise gamy nature of the meat. And mutton can be very gamy.
The result was very satisfactory. A stew that looked red and rich, redolent of garlic and the perfume of rosemary. Ying and yang. Would have please Confucius himself. After all, the great man did proclaim that a dish must strike a balance between colour, flavour, taste and texture.
Here it was all. Succulent meat simmered in silky sauce. Interspersed with bites of fried garlic. Smelling almost flowery with rosemary. I can only hope my friends will give me more opportunities to create such eccentricities. And I can only hope that they liked it as much as I enjoyed making it.
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