When my fishmonger calls me this morning to inform that he has (finally !!) managed to get fresh shol maach, needless to say, I am over the moon.
I have been pestering him to get me shol maach since the onset of winter and the wait, to be honest, has been frustrating.
It cannot be so difficult to get shol maach in winter, I have argued more than once.
Shol maach was a winter staple during my growing up years in Assam, available in abundant profusion, and visuals of ancient fishermen sitting patiently along the grey-green Kushiara river during gorgeous winter mornings, the river flirting unabashedly with streaks of the mischievous sun, with their catch of shol maach are still firmly etched in my memory.
I run through my list of what to do with this speckled beauty.
And I am not surprised that there’s a clear unrivaled winner.
Maa’s shol maach delicacy, the flavors still lingering on my taste buds, a symphony of shol maach and radish.
A run to the local vegetable shop and I return with a bundle of delectable red radish. Could not be more fresh. I am delighted.
Shol Mulo. Shol maach with radish. Flavored with cumin and coriander. Perfumed with ginger. And whole spices. Quintessentially Bengali.
Shol Mulo (Shol Maach with Radish)
- 3-4 pieces shol maach
- 2 radish cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp onion paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 3-4 green chilies slit
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1-2 green cardamom
- 1 one inch cinnamon stick
- 1-2 cloves
- 2.5 tbsp mustard oil
- 2 tsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- Steam the radish cubes for five odd minutes in salt water, drain and keep aside.
- Marinate the fish with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder, keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, shallow fry the fish till light brown. Keep aside on a kitchen absorbent towel.
- To the same pan, throw in the bay leaves, crushed cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Allow the spices start to release their aroma.
- Now add in the onion paste and cook till the onions are cooked and the raw smell of onions is no longer there.
- Take the turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder in a bowl, add a little water to make a smooth paste. Sir in this masala paste, add the ginger paste, throw in a couple of slit green chillies, mix well and saute for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in a little salt and cook over a medium flame till oil starts to separate from the masala.
- Add the radish, saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour a cup of warm water, give a hearty stir and continue to cook over a low flame till the radish is cooked.
- Add the fried fish and cook over a low flame for another 4-5 odd minutes.
- Adjust seasonings and finish with a generous dollop of ghee and a hearty sprinkle of garam masala. Serve hot.