The addition of fresh coriander leaves to a dish always brings a wave of nostalgia.It reminds me of winter.
Winters of my chilhood. When the morning ritual of buying fresh vegetables was happily taken up by the men of the family ... which was otherwise only another daily chore and most of the times passed on to the helping hands in the house ... at least during the rest of the months of the year.
Except of course the Ilish buying season.
As soon as the big, fat, cloth bag was set down on the verandah in front of the kitchen, it would promptly fall on its face and fresh carrots, radishes, cauliflowers, spinach, green peas etc. would tumble out.
Thamma would pick and check every vegetable and discuss the quality and price ... turning a cabbage around, breaking a carrot with a snap or shelling a pea and munching on the pods to check for sweetness.
And among all these will be a big bunch of the coriander leaf. Or the Dhone pata.
The addition of the dhone paata would mean winter has arrived ... officially.
We would find the leaves added to almost every dish then.
Sometimes floating on the dals; sometimes mashed into the Aloo bhate ( boiled potato mash) or the Begun pora (roasted brinjal mash ).
Salads would have liberal sprinkles of it.
A chutney was also made of it.
And sometimes was added to the jhols ... especially the Maacher jhol.
While I personally am not very fond of this particular leaf, I do add it to dishes and have marveled at the different outcomes.
When added to a dish that banks heavily on just ginger, the outcome is awesome.
Add it to a simple dal and enjoy a whole new flavour. I sometimes cook the leaves along with the dals instead of just sprinkling them as garnish ... the taste has always been different ... depending on the temperings ... and wonderfully flavourful.
I have been cooking fish a lot less lately than I did earlier. And right now I do not even remember when I had cooked fish last. But looking through the photographs, I found a few that I had clicked in a hurry the last time I had cooked the Rohu fish with vegetables.
Since winter is now here and the veggies are fresh and easily available, I thought I might as well make a post. The photos do not do justice .... the dish was much better.
This recipe has the onion+ginger+garlic paste ... very rare in my dishes.
If you want to make it lighter, skip the paste and just add the roasted jeera powder. Makes a wonderfully light, soupy and healthy jhol.
Rohu fish pieces - 4
Onion - 1 medium sized
Ginger - around 1 inch
Garlic - 6 to 8 cloves
Tomato - 1 medium sized
Winter vegetables - fresh Cauliflower, Sheem, Brinjal, etc. ... cut into medium sized pieces
Potato - 1, cut into cubes
Kalonji/Kalo jeere/Nigella seeds - half tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2 pieces
Roasted Jeera/Cumin powder
Fresh Coriander leaves - chopped
How to :
Heat around 4 tbsp of mustard oil in a kadahi or wok ( I used an iron kadahi )
When smoking hot, release in the fish pieces very carefully and cover.
Fry on low heat, turning them a couple of times.
Remove from the oil and keep aside.
Make a paste of the onion+ginger+garlic+tomato.
Heat around 1 tbsp of mustard oil in a fresh kadahi and fry the cauliflower florets, potato pieces on high heat for a while.When the sides start to turn brown add the sheem, give a good stir, lower heat, remove from the kadahi and keep aside.
No need to cook them thoroughly.
In the same kadahi heat a little more mustard oil, or use the same oil if any left, and add some kalonji and dry red chillies.
Add the onion+ginger+garlic+tomato paste and fry well, till the rawness is gone.
Add the haldi powder, the red chilli powder and the jeera powder.
Add the fried vegetables, water and salt.
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
Remove cover, add the fish pieces and replace cover. Let it simmer for a few more minutes.
Remove from heat, sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and cover again.
Let it stand, covered, for around 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Writing has become difficult for me ... again.
My hand refuses to keep up with my thoughts ... hence the clumsy writing and sentence framings.
I hope you, kind readers will bear with me ... as always ... for a few more posts .... which hopefully I will get to make anyway.
I can assure you of the recipes however ... and hope you will not be disappointed.