Thursday, June 10, 2010

Leap Into Summer. Fish With Mustard Masala!

Things changed this week. All of a sudden after rain storms and hail all in the month of May, Summer seems to have arrived. Sort of.
The weather was beautiful on Monday morning, so we put up our summer dining tent on the deck. Each year when we do this, it's sort of like one of those team building exercises  from Survivor and we try to get through it without killing each other or voting someone off the island, if you know what I mean.
 Seeing that it was Meatless Monday and we had company for lunch, I decided that good Catholic Schoolgirl that I once was, fish would be ok for a meatless day.
I baked naan bread, and had Sanjanas' cold mango buttermilk soup and grated cauliflower salad, but I needed a centerpiece for the meal.
Fish seemed the perfect solution. Light, versatile and on sale at Sonoma Market that day.
Basa fish was my choice. It's a nice mild, firm-fleshed fish that seems to get along with whatever it's introduced to. In this case it was a mustard masala sauce. I originally ran across this recipe in the cookbook Ajanta from the Berkeley restaurant of the same name. This is my adaptation of it.
  A lot of fish recipes involve frying, and things can get a bit greasy. I like to try and do things without all the oil, so the fish in this dish instead of being traditionally fried and then added to the sauce, is poached gently during the last step of preparation, neatly bypassing  the frying factor. Happy arteries, happy life!
  Here's what you do.
   In a deep skillet or kadhai heat about 3 Tbs of vegetable oil.
 When the oil is nice and hot toss in:
2 tsp. of mustard seeds
2 tsp of nigella seeds

When the mustard seeds start to pop toss in:
8 shallots finely chopped.

Stir fry it for a few moments then add in:
3 onions. Cut them in quarters and thinly slice them.
Lower the heat and saute them for about 15 minutes or until they've softened and turned translucent.

Add in:
4 chopped tomatoes . Note: if you can't get great fresh tomatoes, use a good quality canned tomato.
Stir the tomatoes around for about 8 minutes or so.

Now for the spices. Add in:
2 Tsp of turmeric
2 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of mustard seeds (pulse them in a spice grinder first)
2 tsp of salt 

Keep sauteeing for about another 5 minutes and then add in
1/2 cup of ground almonds
Lower the heat and cook for another 10 minutes.

When the sauce has thickened add:
2 lbs of catfish, basa, or other mild firm fleshed fish that has been cut into 2 inch pieces.
Cook the fish gently until it flakes easily.

This is an easy recipe, a real family favorite at our house and perfect for those summer fish sales.
    I've also been baking artisan bread. The famous NY Times no-knead artisan bread recipe has been making the rounds on line and the minute I saw it, I just had to get into the act. I have a terrible bread jones and can't resist it in any form. They had me at no-knead. Alan too. I've been very good around this bread. I bake it, but I'm trying not to sample too much of my own product. Alan enjoys it for breakfast. Today I decided to go the whole wheat route and was very pleased with the results. So pleased I couldn't resist getting Alan to take some pictures.

Meanwhile, The 14th marks my 1st Blogiversary and a Giveaway!
About my Giveaway
 As I mentioned before, our 1st Blogiversary is approaching and the people at Early Morning Pottery have given me 2 of their wonderful ceramic Chicken Cookers, and 1 set of Game Hen Cookers to give away in celebration. The rules are simple:
 Rule 1
 On Your Blog:  Post about The Colors Of Indian Cooking and this contest on your blog
 On Twitter: Tweet about The Colors Of Indian Cooking. (Include @kathygori in your Tweet)
 On Facebook: Become a Fan of The Colors Of Indian Cooking Facebook Page here and talk about it on your Facebook status.
   Become a follower of The Colors Of Indian Cooking
  Follow @kathygori on Twitter
 Rule 2
  Leave a comment on this blog with a link to your activity.
  That's it.
 Winners will be chose at random on June 14th .
 Good luck!


  1. Wow!! This looks incredibly delicious!! nice work here!

  2. What a wonderful aromatic preparation of fish! I love all the spices you use and the almonds. Super delicious!

  3. Drooling with this marsala fish done healthier without lot of fried process.

    Have a great week and tweeted!


  4. as usual this is fabulous and he flavors must be sensational~

  5. That looks so good Kathy. I like how it's written too - toss this in, then that... And with step by step photos. Good stuff.

    I've been making some of Sanjana's recipes recently. Think it's time for some of yours!

  6. I am following you on GFC. Thank you for the entry into your giveaway.

  7. I am following kathygori on twitter.

  8. Oh, this one's really for my mum- she would flip if she saw this!! Love the masala - reminds me a little of a Bengali rish recipe, except the fish is different of course. I love that the fish is not pre-fried. We could use all the help we can get staying healthy and trim!

  9. Wonderful dish,the spice, amazing!

  10. beautiful spices with the fish. I feel like having this weekend as well.

  11. wonderful preparation of fish...cumin, mustard seeds and almonds..great combo of flavors..great pics..


  12. What a marvelous dish! Your photos are lovely.

  13. I love fish, and this dish looks fantastic. Also your bread is stunning!!

  14. oh, my mouth is watering...i love dishes that include spices to compliment fish. beautiful!

  15. This is a great recipe!!! Thank you for sharing it! :)



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