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Doi maach

Doi maach literally translates as ‘yoghurt fish’. An age-old favourite, it’s an almost permanent fixture at Bengali banquets. It’s easy to prepare and goes very well with plain rice. You could use halibut or, if you want to try a freshwater fish, perch or carp.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1kg (2 ½ lb) firm white fish fillets, skinned and cut into 4cm (1 ½ inch) pieces
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green chillies, slit open lengthwise
  • 200g (scant 1 cup) plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 200 g(scant 1 cup) plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

Method

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients for the marinade, add the fish pieces and mix gently until they are well coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Heat 3 tablespoons of the mustard oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay leaf and fry for 30 seconds, then add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.

Step 3: Add the onions and fry for 4-6 minutes, until translucent. Now add the fish and its marinade and mix gently but thoroughly. Add the salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the slit green chillies, stir in the yoghurt and cook over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until the fish is done.

Step 4: Garnish with the coriander and drizzle the remaining mustard oil over the top Serve with steamed rice.

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