The summer is fierce. The glare is blinding and the heat enervating.
Who ever thought the coy innocent Sun of just a few months back, hidden perpetually behind a veil of mist, would grow up to being such a merciless tyrant, punishing the thirsty earth with his arrows of raging fire.
Terra Firma pines for rain to cool her scalded self.
Some afternoons, ominous clouds do take over the heavens, threatening to blot the sun.
A battle ensues.
Dust storms blur the horizons.
For a brief moment, the breeze, so long stifled by the sun, returns to calm the heat-tormented earth.
Sometimes even a few droplets of rain are sent by the heavens to pacify the scorched earth.
But the sun is not one to be cowed, and before long he emerges, blazing in vainglorious pride, having chased the clouds away to oblivion.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, green mangoes and yoghurt have returned as undisputed heroes, the ice cream churner is working on an overdrive and buttermilk and lemonade flow freely.
When my husband returns from the local market with a treasured booty of Gondhoraj Lebu, I immediately know what I need to do to do justice to these gorgeous beauties.
Lunch today is a lebu patay katla.
Inspired by the dish Maa would stir up for lunch during punishing Karimganj summers.
A blast of refreshing citrus to cool the heat-ravaged palate.
Lebu Patay Katla.
Katla peti. Gondhoraj Lebu, three ways. A kiss of lemon juice. A sprinkle of lemon zest. And some Gondhoraj Lebu leaves crushed between your palms and thrown in.
Exactly what you need as the mercury continues her northward march unabated.
Lebu Patay Katla (Katla with Gondhoraj Lebu Leaves)
- 4 pieces fresh katla peti
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp green chili paste
- 4-5 green chlies slit
- 1 tsp juice of gondhoraj lebu
- 4-5 gondhoraj lebu leaves or kaffir lime leaves
- 1/4 tsp zest of gondhoraj lebu
- 1/4 cup mustard oil
- salt to taste
- Marinate the fish steaks with garlic paste, green chili paste, salt and lemon juice. Keep aside, 30 odd minutes or so.
- Place the marinated fish in a cooking pan, pour the marinade over the fish. Add the chopped onions, green chilies and mustard oil to the pan. Give it all a hearty mix.
- Place the pan over a medium flame, cook for 7-8 minutes. Turn the fish over once in between.
- Add ¼ cup warm water, adjust seasonings, give it a gentle stir. Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon leaves, turn the flame to low and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Switch off the flame, add the lemon slices, allow to rest for 10minutes.
- Serve hot with rice.