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Recipes

Shaz & Kiks' Shorshe Maach (Bengali Creamy Mustard Fish)

Recipe by: Shaz & Kiks

Serves: 2–4

Shaz & Kiks' Shorshe Maach (Bengali Creamy Mustard Fish)

This is an adaptation of Shorshe Maach, a traditional Bengali dish of delicate white fish cooked in a creamy coconut-based gravy, flavored with yellow mustard seeds, turmeric and kalonji seeds (also known as black cumin or nigella). Classically, the yellow mustard seeds are ground into a piquant paste, but here, we’re taking a helping hand from bold, punchy dried mustard powder. (Look for the S&B brand or Coleman’s.)

The turmeric and kalonji seeds create magic together in Bengali cuisine. The bright, citrusy notes of the turmeric harmonizing with the subtly bitter, herbaceous flavor of the nigella seeds. And, incidentally, both spices are great for one’s hair!

If you can get your hands on mustard seed oil—another favorite ingredient in Bengali cooking—it adds even more mouthwatering, mustard-y, horseradish-like heat and depth. This dish also works wonders with shrimp!

Shaz & Kiks is a beauty brand founded by two sisters who have an immeasureable bond that is built on encouragement, care and laughter. Their plant-based haircare line is inspired by their childhood summers spent in India, watching their grandmother mix and match natural ingredients in her kitchen and garden to create a spectrum of beauty concoctions rooted in old Indian Ayurvedic practices.

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Ingredients

For the Shorshe Maach
  • 1–1 1/4 pounds delicate, mild white fish, such as dover sole, halibut or tilapia, cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons Pragati Turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder, such as S&B or Coleman’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seed oil, or neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 teaspoon kalonji seeds
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 4–5 Indian green chillies, one finely chopped and the others left whole
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
For the tadka
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed oil or ghee
  • 2 Indian green chilies, split down the middle lengthwise
  • 3/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kalonji seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies (optional)

Methods

  1. Pat the fish fillet halves dry, place on a plate and season with 1 teaspoon of Pragati Turmeric and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 2–3 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining teaspoon of turmeric, dried mustard powder and powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons mustard seed oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds. Place the fish in the pan in a single layer and fry until the fillets are just cooked through, about 1–3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of mustard seed oil. Add the kalonji seeds and sauté until the seeds start to sizzle and pop, about 30 seconds. Add the shallot and chopped green chilli and continue to cook until the vegetables are softened and just start to caramelize, about 4–5 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved mustard and turmeric paste and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine.
  6. Add the reserved parcooked fish fillets back into the pan along with any juices that have accumulated and gently spoon some of the sauce over each piece of fish. Add the whole green chillies, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, about 1–2 minutes more. (You’re looking for a thick, luscious consistency that coats and clings to the back of a spoon.) Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. To prepare the tadka, heat the mustard seed oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the green chillies, mustard seeds and kalonji seeds and cook until the seeds start to sizzle and pop, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered Guntur Sannam chillies.
  8. To serve, transfer the fish to a shallow serving bowl and drizzle the tadka over the dish. Enjoy with plenty of basmati rice.