Oct 23, 2009

Yoghurt fish..very traditionally gourmet

Another award!! This is clearly overwhelming for me. This time for my oldest blog friend, Nat of Girl's are made of.. . Thank you so so so very much Nat. This is such a super good week for me. Just plain super good. And this is my 50th post too! And all of this calls for another celebration. With nothing other than...you guessed right this time!

Fish :) There is a saying that Bengalis (that's me from West Bengal, India) cannot  thrive without fish and rice. For once I agree...about the fish part. Not the rice. I am an out and out bread person

One thing has always fascinated me. How come gourmet dishes are so much more easy to make than regular fares. e.g its easy to make clafoutis than a regular yoghurt cake. It is easier to make garlic spinach than say roasted veggies. I mean its counter intuitive. Right? Or maybe its me. I don't know. Well this has its upsides. Needless to say :). I make gourmet meals regularly. Simply because they are easier to make!!

This one is a gourmet, very authentic Bengali fish dish. As light as a couple of tsp of oil. And about 20 minutes in the kitchen. It is called 'doi maach' literally translating to yoghurt fish. Even for a fishy person like me (:), I can say for sure, that this is one of my all time favorite fish dishes. And its not a curry. Cos you use nothing more than cloves and yoghurt.  It ain't a curry unless you use a few spices together. Everyone with me on this? :)

Traditionally, it is made with fresh water fishes from which you can cut a big steak size chunks. But, of course that is never mandatory. You can use this with any fish of your choice. Will taste just as good. In all Bengali homes, this is a lunchtime delicacy, to be served with warm rice. Its almost never a dinner recipe. Because in India, lunch is the most important meal of the day. That culture is changing, of course, now. But hey..food wise that is such a calamity. There is something to a good hearty lunch followed by tea and siesta..if you have the time. For those good old days..of which I have had the luck of only reading in novels....

But...we can always evolve good food to meet our needs. Especially those that are  healthy and flavorful and easy to cook!  And this recipe does exactly that. The way I have changed a bit of the proportions will make it into a lovely dinner recipe, in time as short,.... as 20 minutes.

So here is to good old times...never really lost!


1 big rainbow trout-- Cleaned and cut into four peices
A word about choice of the fish: I used Trout. But you can really use any thing. Best will be haddock and Salmon. I will not recommend Tilapia and Tuna and Flounder ..but I bet it should be fine as well. I just have never made this dish with anything other than Trout, salmon and Haddock.

1 medium onion- chopped very very fine or made into a crunchy paste in the food processor or blender. Do not use water.

1.5 cups of yoghurt
1 tsp of grated ginger

3-4 cloves
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of lime juice
1 cup of water
4 tsp  of oil

A big pinch of turmeric (optional) 
Turmeric gives only color to food. No flavor. So if you do not like yellow color feel free to opt out of it. Will make no difference.
A big pinch of cayenne pepper (optional).
This is for Heat. If you don't like it, just skip it. Use paprika instead :)

Lets do the drill:

Marinate the fish in a bit of salt, a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

This next step is optional. If you like  a bit of crunch on fish, do this, otherwise just skip it.

Preheat oven to 500 F for 10 minutes. Drizzle just 2 tsp of oil ( one on each side) and place on a shallow baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes. You can adjust this time depending on the power of your oven. I use 15 minutes. Turn once. The fish will end up with a oven-fried feel.

If you want, you can opt out of the step and simply leave the fish marinated.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet. When hot pop the cloves, taking care to remove the head before popping them in the skillet. Will lessen the chance of it popping out of the skillet :). Wait for a 10 secs, and add the minced or crushed onion and fry on medium for 3-4 minutes or till it turns a bit brown. Just a bit. Add the ginger and sugar. Fry for another minute or so. Lower heat and add the yoghurt, a pinch of turmeric and cayenne pepper. An important tip here. Never put yoghurt on a hot surface. It ruins the flavor of yoghurt and even burns its badly. I learnt it from terrible experience. So before putting in yoghurt always turn down the heat, wait a bit and then, carefully place the yoghurt in the skillet. 

Saute for a minute or so. Add lime juice and water and bring to a boil. The lime juice will take the milky smell out of the dish , leaving it fragrant :) Clever idea!  Add the baked or raw fish and continue cooking on low for 10 minutes. Go a little longer if you have not baked the fish beforehand. You can tell that fish is done, when it is all white. Season with salt. Remember you have already used some salt in marinading the fish. So add accordingly.

You are done! Serve with warm jasmine rice. And maybe some lovely tropical cocktail to go with it?

Happy eating and healthy living!


doggybloggy said...

nice unique dish.

Palidor said...

Wow, all these awards and your 50th post? You are unstoppable! The fish looks so delicious. I love marinating foods in yogurt.

Erica said...

Congratulations on your AWARD and your 50th post! That is a big deal :).Anyway, that looks delicious.

Nat said...

You're most welcome JW ! and the pleasure was all mine ! You're blog really is amazing and I find i learn something new and intriguing with every post...This looks gorgeous, I have never made fish with a yogurt marinade before and I can't imagine why not as it works so amazingly with meat, so why not fish?!. I can see you are more in favor of smaller fish in general, which is how i try to go as well with all this apprehension about mercury /toxins in large fish. This looks gorgeous and yummy too...

Jhonny walker said...


@ Palidor and Nat :- guys thanks for the comments. However, this is NOT fisg marinaded in yoghurt!! You make the sauce with the yoghurt and THEN add the baked or non-baked fish to it.

Just so that you know. Baking with a marinade may work...but I had had trouble.

buffalodick said...

Good cookin', you dark haired beauty! What a catch you are..nicely done!

Nat said...

Ah yes....I get it now ! yes, you can't cook fish for as long as you would meat, so marinating it in the yoghurt would mean you would have to simmer it for too long to achieve the right consistency in the gravy and by the time the gravy is done the fish would disintigrate. I should have figured this one out...its elementary : ) ...Thanks for clarifying JW.

the ungourmet said...

I wish my husband liked fish a little more. I like the idea of the yoghurt along with the lime and ginger.

Chow and Chatter said...

congrats on your award oh this is cool yogurt and fish i like it can you do it with other types of fish? or and I write for an Alaskan Seafood Company could I feature it and link back to you?

rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com

lol Rebecca

Gadgetgirl said...

Tiffany invite me for breakfast!!!!!!!!!

& OMG I always loved yoghurt and Hmmmm the idea of fish and yoghurt must be a good combination. :)

sangeeta said...

your blog is amazing n your writing is very very interesting...
i have been here before if i remember correct...
this doi machh is a favorite ( have had it at a friend's place) n your recipe looks simple....i never made it myself but do you think some cilantro will be good to add??
i never realized this recipe is so simple..

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Mmm, sounds delish! Trout is very popular here in Canada.

Palidor said...

Oh, I see! I wonder how I missed that? I guess it shows that we often see what we want to see and not what's actually there. :-P

Jhonny walker said...

@ Nat and Palodor : no problem ...its the dish which counts!

@ Sangeeta: Yes you did visit me before. Cilantro might be good. I love Cilantro. But I would pass it on this one :)

@ Gadgetgirl: It is Yummy..try it!

Olive said...

Congrats on your awards JW! :)
lovely fish dish..I just made one too:)

The Japanese Redneck said...

Yeah on your second award.

I couldn't live without rice. I eat fish, but have to say, I can take it or leave it.