Don’t believe everything Amit tells you: I’m a pretty good cook when I put my mind to it – which, admittedly, isn’t very often.
The only thing is, not having been brought up on it, I don’t make very good fish.
In fact, apart from a pretty good fish fry (it must be pretty good, judging by the rate at which it disappears; but I claim no credit for that, good fish fry anyone can make: take fish, fry it, it disappears; it’s infallible), I prefer not to do fish at all. My attempts at “traditional” (Bengali) fish dishes are usually abysmal failures. It would not be stretching the truth to say that me and fish do not get on very well; we never see eye to eye, if I can help it. (For more on me and fish and other meats… )
Still, once in a way, especially if there’s no one else around to lay the burden of their expectations on me, I out-do myself even with fish.
Here’s what I did today. I took:
- one packet of frozen and almost boneless fish fillet
a few curry leaves
the Bengali five-spice mixture, though I’m not even sure how authentic that was. I think it should have white til in it; why else would I even have white til in my spice rack, considering I don’t know what it’s used for? The other four are mustard seed, jeera, saunf, and kalonji, I think. (Um… That would be cumin, asafoetida (?) and black cumin (?) in English, maybe.) Anyway, that’s approximately what I threw in, in small quantities
a dash of haldi (turmeric) powder
a healthy amount of Bolst curry powder (it claims to be hot, but I don’t find it so)
some coconut milk (or was it cream? I think it was Dabur) out of a carton
cooking oil, of course (we use olive for health reasons, but I suppose mustard or coconut would be better, seeing as this appears to be a fusion of kerala/tamil nadu/bengal cuisine)
I dumped everything in the pan in more or less random order, squeezed a bit of lemon juice on top, and in 5 minutes flat, it was done. And pretty delicious it was too, or so I thought. The kids ate it grudgingly, but they eat anything grudgingly at dinner time, after all, it’s time taken away from play time. At least they didn’t reject it outright. (Though they did seem to prefer ancient, black, refrigerated bananas over the fish, they went through about 4 of those each! But that’s kids for you, no taste, no predictability, no gratitude.)
I should have taken a photo of the dish, but Amit’s absconding with the camera, leaving me high and dry. So you’ll just have to take my word on this one.