Some says that I am actually a pseudo Bengali, due to my lack of fish fondness. It’s true, I am not a very fish person, mainly because of the fishy smell. However, occasionally I can indulge in some of the specific preparations. And sorshe mach (fish prepared with mustard seeds) is one of them.
One more thing I disliked about fish is the bones, thus my preference for pomfret, no complicated bones 😀 . Therefore I present to you my version of Sorshe Pomfret.
1 Whole pomfret fish cleaned and halved (one fish is sufficient for one person)
1 Green Chili
1.5 tbs Black Mustard Seed
3 tbs Mustard Oil
1 tsp Vinegar
1 tbs whole Coriander Seeds
0.5 tbs whole Cumin Seeds
0.5 tbs whole Black Peppers
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
Not much pre-preparation is required for this dish, just need to marinate the fish with turmeric and salt for 15-20 mins. Rub the salt and turmeric on the fish and keep it aside.
Frying the Fish
Next we need to fry the fish. To do that, take generous amount of oil (mustard oil preferred like all other Bengali savory dishes ) in a pan and put it over a stove. Then wait till the oil is fuming
Fuming mustard oil is OK, however this may not safe for all other cooking oils. Depending on the ‘poly-saturated’ fatty acid content in a cooking oil, it may or may not be suitable for heating up to smoking point. In case you are using other vegetable oil, please do check how much “hot” you can really go up to.
No worries, you really don’t need to smoke all the oils before cooking the fish, but apparently the oil needs to be hot. Why? I have never tried it, but heard stories that if you add fish while the oil is not sufficiently hot the fish tends to crumble.
Enough about the oil, now I will come back to the fish. Add the fish gently in the pan, be careful here; otherwise you may burn yourself from the oil spatters.
Fry both the sides till they starts to take a golden color. When the fish is fully cooked, the inside portion, the area near the visible large fish bone, should become opaque.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I do not prefer the smell of the fish much, hence I intentionally (some time unintentionally 😉 ) over-cook my fish a little bit, it tends to reduce the smell. However, in the down side it makes the fish a little chewy. It is totally up to you, if you want to over cook the fish or not, just try not to under cook 😉
Prepare the Gravy
To prepare the mustard gravy, we first need to make a coarse paste of all the spices along with the mustard seeds. In a grinder add mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper. Add some water and a dash of vinegar. And grind till you get a coarse paste
Vinegar helps to reduce the bitterness produced from grinding mustard seeds.
In a pan heat little oil and add a pinch of whole cumin and a whole chili. Saute for 15-20 seconds.
Next add the spice and mustard paste in the pan. Add salt, 1 tsp turmeric powder and red chili powder. Bring it to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 3 to 4 mins over low flame.
Next add the fried fish and cook for 30 second to 1 mins, then turn off the heat.
Your Sorshe Pomfret is ready to serve with steaming hot white rice.
A Quick Recap
- Marinate the fish with salt and turmeric for 15 to 20 minutes
- To fry the fish, heat some oil in a pan and when the oil is hot gently add the fish. Fry both side till cooked
- In a grinder add all the whole spices with mustard, water and vinegar and blitz till you get a coarse paste
- In a pan heat little oil
- Add a pinch of whole cumin seeds and a whole green chili in the oil and saute for few seconds
- Add the mustard paste
- Add Salt, a pinch of turmeric, red chili powder and mix. Add more water if necessary
- Cook for few minutes covered over a low heat
- Add the fried fish and simmer a little more
- Sorshe Pomfert is ready to serve with white rice.