N: One fine Sunday afternoon I was listening to a very old and wise Irish lady on the radio. She is a restaurateur, well known for her fish recipes and the tutor to many of today’s famous chefs. Her passion for her ingredients came through when she said – I have stopped eating fish and publishing fish recipes because if we continue to consume fish at this rate there will be no natural fish left for our children. This is very true for salmon, which in Latin means to leap, family of fish. Wild salmon is on the decline and most of what we eat today is farmed. Farmed salmon has its own challenges as 2 to 4 kg of wild fish is required to produce 1 kg of salmon. Whenever I cook a piece of salmon I remind myself that I am handling a rare and expensive ingredient.
This is a very simple Bengali “sabji diye macher jhol” or vegetable fish curry and I am sure we all have a different version of this recipe. It is good because the fish is baked thus retaining the full flavour and the vegetables make the dish hearty. It takes about 40 minutes to make this dish.
– I use good quality salmon fillets for this dish.
– Place the fish fillets on a glass baking tray of 5 cm height. For two pieces of fish I use a 35×23 cm Pyrex tray.
– Season the fish with ½ tsp of turmeric and salt and let it rest.
– Julienne ½ of a medium aubergine and 1 carrot. Soak the vegetables in water and set aside.
– Cut a small tomato, a small piece of ginger and 2 green chillies.
– Add about 1 tsp of vegetable oil to sauce pan and season the oil with ½ tsp of onion seeds and ½ tsp of cumin seed.
– Drain the water from the vegetables and add it to the sauce pan. Season it with salt and turmeric and soften it for about 5 minutes.
– Add the tomato, ginger and the green chillies to the pan. Mix in 2 tsp of coriander and 2 tsp of cumin powder – cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
– Add some water, bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to get the “jhol” ready. The carrot should be soft and ready to release the starch into the jhol.
The final bake
– Preheat the oven to 180°C while the jhol is simmering.
– Add the jhol to the baking tray to cover the fish.
– Bake for about 15 minutes.
– Season if necessary and enjoy it with rice.
Good To know – You can substitute the aubergine with courgettes.
You can prepare the jhol earlier and keep it in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature and bake the fish as before.