I'm a huge believer in trying new things - new experiences, ingredients, and recipes - just for the sake of trying something new. But when it comes to this Bengali recipe (from Dyutima, see below) Shorshe Mach Recipe - delicious, juicy fish steaks floating in a golden sharp, silky mustard curry with radishes and tomatoes - trying something new gave me a favorite seafood dish!! Thanks so much to Dyutima for the recipe!
The biggest revelation for me was mustard oil, an ingredient that my pantry will never be without!! The oil is soft and rich with just a bit of that mustardy bite. And if you're American, like me, please don't think of yellow - or dijon - or spicy brown - mustard. We're talking about a pure mustard flavor, more horseradishy than anything else. Read on for *your* new favorite dish!
Questions About Shorshe Mach
What does Shorshe mean?
Shorshe means "mustard seed". The mustard seeds and mustard oil are the foundational elements of this fish curry. Although different households and different cooks may substitute proteins or vegetables in the recipe, the mustard oil and mustard seeds remain constant. The mustard seeds are ground with water into a very smooth, white paste.
Does this Bengali Fish Curry get its golden color from the mustard seed?
Actually, no! Dyutima is adamant that, when the mustard is ground properly, the resulting mustard paste will be white, not yellow. The golden color of the curry comes mainly from the turmeric.
What is the best type of fish to use in Bengali Mustard Fish Curry?
The fish cut matters! Dyutima says, "Traditionally this is made with steak-cut Rohu fish but since we don't get it outside India, I make it with thick salmon fillet or a whole sea bass cut in steak pieces."
Should you include the skin, head, and bones when making Bengali Fish Curry with Mustard Paste?
Traditionally, yes, these are included. However, cooking rightly depends on both preferences and availability. Dyutima says in her household she loved the fish head, her sister did not. Bones were very normal and are not expected to be removed when cooking with fish in Bengali households. The skin was kept on as it contains very nutritious fat and a flavor that Dyutima loved.
When I made the dish, I didn't include any of these things - I'm not sure how to cut my own fish and I don't have a taste for either a fish head or skin.
How do you make homemade mustard paste?
Dyutima says it's essential to use a food processor and to slowly and carefully grind the mustard with water. She says, "Do NOT give up" - it *will* eventually grind down to a white paste. If you stop before the paste becomes smooth and white, it will have a bitter flavor.
Where can I find mustard oil?
I had just left an Indian grocery store the morning I interviewed Dyutima and regret that I didn't pick some up then! However, since I couldn't make it back quickly, I ordered this bottle from Amazon.
What are the most common mistakes in making Dyutima's Fish Mustard Curry?
There are two main mistakes:
The first is not slowly and carefully grinding the paste until it is smooth and white.
The second is choosing a fish that cannot be cut into thick fillets.
About Dyutima Jha, Contributor of this Shorshe Mach Recipe
Dyutima Jha needs no introduction to the food photography world. If you happen to exist outside that world, I'm so excited to introduce you to the energetic, positive, professional woman behind My Food Lens.
Dyutima was born and raised by a schoolteacher mother (who also happened to be a radically experimental and wonderful cook) and a neurologist father. Because her father was in the military, Dyutima and her sister moved every 3 years to a different part of India.
With her words and stories, Dyutima takes us on a tour through many of the varied landscapes and historical cities of India. More significantly, she takes us on a journey through the twists and turns of a bold, brave life, including a massively successful career as medical architect to choosing love for her childhood sweetheart over everything else, and the surprising choice to start a new career in food photography.
What this Shorshe Mach recipe means to Dyutima.
Sarso machli is my comfort food, my soul food, my ultimate food. My first memory of delicious food is from when I was 3 years old and it involves this fish curry. This recipe has everything to do with my mom. I still remember my first taste of this recipe was sitting on the living room carpet, my mom had a thaali with this fish curry on steamed rice.she was taking out the bones from the fish pieces, mixing the
fish with rice and feeding her 2 daughters with her hands. There are many variation of sarso machli and it's made in many different ways. This version is my favourite. I learnt to make it from my mom.
Learn More About Dyutima and Her Bold, Brave Life in India & Beyond
131 A Bold, Brave Tour of India - And Beyond! with Dyutima Jha
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How To Contact Dyutima Jha
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