Both make their way into our hearts with ease.
One drenches us with sweet, life giving rain ... washing away the dust and the heat and all things painful ... leaving behind a cleaner, fresher new time.
The other makes its way to our plates and satiates us after months of waiting for its arrival.
Both, in their own ways soothes a Bengali's soul.
I have been away from the blog and my routine daily life for a while now. There are times when family takes precedence and you have to give it its due.
There have been mornings, of late, when instead of thinking of my morning tea, I have had to think of breakfast that will suit every palate.
And then lunches and dinners.
And guests and relatives.
At times it is overwhelming.
At others, boisterous and happy.
Seeing everybody stick around at times of crisis can be a hugely heart warming experience.
After returning, I went through my drafts to see if there was anything that I could make a quick post on, before rushing off for another trip.
And found these photographs languishing from last year.
I usually always bake whenever I make the shorshe Ilish.
But this time, I had made it on the open stove top.
And found there was a definite change in the flavours.
For example, the Kalo jeere / Nigella seeds do not lend that strong flavour when used in the baking version as they do here .... when released into the hot mustard oil.
Even there is a difference in the flavour of the green chillies.
Also the gravy here misses that distinct smoky flavour that we get when cooking it in the oven.
The baked version is here.
Ilish / Hilsa - 4 pieces, marinated with salt + turmeric powder and lightly fried in mustard oil
White mustard seeds - 6 tbsp
Black mustard seeds - 4 tbsp
Kalo jeere / Nigella seeds - ½ tsp
Halsi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Curd - 8 tbsp
Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
Green chillies - 3 pieces
Salt - to taste
How to :
Soak the mustard seeds in water for 3 hours.
Add enough water to grind into a smooth paste. I never add salt or green chillies when grinding mustard seeds.
Do remember that the grinder should not turn hot while grinding the mustard. Else your mustard paste will turn bitter. Use short pulses when grinding.
I keep the soaked seeds in the fridge for around 15 minutes before grinding.
Strain it through a sieve.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadahi / wok.
Make a smooth paste of 6 tbsp mustard seeds paste and the curd.
Add the nigella seeds and green chillies.
Add the paste and stir well for a minute.
Add water, salt and turmeric powder.
Cover and cook till it starts to simmer.
Add the fish pieces and cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove cover, pour in the rest of the mustard oil all over it.
Switch off heat and cover and let it stand for a while.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
Check out my other Ilish recipes here.
Ilish recipes on Kichu Khonn