“I miss the appetizing taste of the marinated fish placed in the delicious pool of yoghurt-based gravy.”
Ever since I and my friend left our hometowns for higher studies, he used to miss the exceptional Doi Maach his mother used to prepare. He would describe to me the Bengali culture, and the cuisines present there. Here’s a glimpse of one of our conversations about how his mom used to make this tempting dish at home.
ME: What are the ingredients to make Doi Maach?
HE: Most of them are conveniently found at home or at easily available. They are-
- 1 Kg Rohu or any freshwater fish (cut into steaks and washed)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 3/4 tsp red chilli powder
- Salt (As per taste)
- 2 tsp Mustard oil
For the curry:
- 2 tsp Mustard oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1/2-inch Cassia
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 4-5 Green cardamoms
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Hot red chilli powder, medium
- 2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- 1 Onion (ground to a paste)
- 1/2 kg Curd (whisked)
ME: This looks easy! Can you begin with the procedure now?
- Put the pieces of finely steaked fish into a bowl and add the following to it: Turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and a teaspoon of mustard oil to help the spices adhere to the fish. Gently blend the spices into the fish.
- Cover and keep aside to marinate for 15 minutes so that it becomes more tender to be cooked.
- Now, whisk the curd well in another container adding the turmeric and red chilli powder to it; keep it away for a while.
Frying the fish:
- Heat a medium-sized frying pan till hot and add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil. Heat well while the oil is smoking to fume off most of its aroma.
- Once hot, add the marinated fish pieces and fry them for a couple of minutes on each side till they are a golden brown around the edges and richly coloured.
- When the fish gains sandy texture and is 3/4 cooked through, remove the pieces to a plate and keep them aside.
- Heat the same pan with the mustard oil once again and when the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cumin seeds and whole spices; sauté on a medium flame until they are scented and change colouring.
- Now add the onion paste and sauté it till it is light blond, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook the aromatic spice base with a little water until it's rich but light golden and the oil has surfaced to the top.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the whisked curd and spice mixture to the pan, stir gently and simmer the curd gravy for 10 to 15 minutes or until the oil surfaces and the gravy gets its flavour and appearance.
- Add some salt and stir through to blend well. Now, simply add the pieces of fried fish, along with all their resting juices on the plate to the gravy and simmer it for another 10 minutes to gently poach the fish to perfection.
- Once the oil has risen to the top and the fish is cooked perfectly, turn off the heat and check for a balance of flavour.
- Squeeze over some lime juice to lift the flavours with a real citrus kick for a lovely contrast of flavours along with a generous garnishing of fresh coriander leaves.
- Serve the Doi Maach as per your preference.
ME: Feels like it will take a lot of time to get those steps right.
HE: No, the procedure is just as simple as the steps and the time required too worth the wait for such an alluring dish.
- The preparation time of the recipe is about 10-15 minutes.
- The cooking time is of approx 1-1.30 hours.
- The ingredients used here can make Doi Maach for at least 4 servings.
HE: Apart from that Doi Maach have brilliant health benefits too which makes it a win-win situation for us.
- Rohu Fish is rich in nutrients like zinc, potassium, and calcium which help to strengthen our mind and body.
- Good source of Vitamin C.
- Omega 3 makes our heart healthy.
- High protein content makes it a very healthy diet for growing children.
- It can be a very nutritious diet for an athlete looking to gain some carbs.
ME: This was a great insight by you on an equally grand dish. Thank you, my friend.
HE: I will take you someday for sure with me to enjoy the treat of Doi Maach.
This was my first-hand experience with this extensive recipe for a mouth-watering Doi Maach.
- Should the yoghurt be thin or thick?
Ans. Never use thick yoghurt or else you’ll end up with an overwhelming and overpowering taste in the gravy that’ll shadow the taste of fish.
- Should I use different pans for frying and preparing sauce?
Ans. No, you should try to avoid using different pans as it will lead to the wastage of ingredients. In fact, Using the fish fried oil & deglazing the pan will add depth & complexity to the Doi Maach. It will elevate the taste of the dish to its fullest.
- Can I use supplementary ingredients to add the flavour?
Ans. Yes, there are many other ways too to make Doi Maach. Turmeric powder & red chilli powder are also optional ingredients simply added for colour & flavour. You may skip both in case of any other similar ingredient.
- Can sugar be added to the dish?
Ans. Adding a little sugar will enhance the taste by manifold & balance the sourness of the yoghurt