I feel ecstatic when I can make something very traditional (read high calorie and labor intensive) using simple, yet effective techniques. And it is even better if that 'something' is my favorite food. I have done it many a times with several recipes, but today's one just tops it all. Now, one thing I have to tell you is, Indian food, irrespective of where you are in India, is not baked. It is mostly cooked. I will go to the extreme to say that it always cooked. In fact, I feel most oriental food is cooked.
Although I love cooking, I do not find it really interesting to make dishes which require either long hours of babysitting in the kitchen or a lot of effort. And that is why I bake. Oh yeah..I bake a lot. And with baking I have been able to recreate a whole lot of very authentic and traditional Indian dishes. And tell you the truth, you cannot tell the any difference between these baked and cooked versions... .not in any major way.
For example, this simple dish. Maach Bhaja, literally translating to Fried Fish. Now, I am fish lover. And anything involving fish is a favorite with me. But this one makes me go weak in my knees. And it is basically nothing. It is not even a dish in its own right. Shallow or deep fried fish steaks. Salted. These
'fried' fish stakes are used along with lovely sauces to make dishes. But I can eat pounds and pounds of just these fried fishes. The only thing which bothers me though is the high calorie content and how the nutritional value of fish reduces with such frying.
But there is something..actually a lot to this old saying. ' If there is a will, there is a way' :)
I have often made oven baked fries and they get a ' fried' flavor. That is what gave me the idea. I 'oven baked' fish steaks. Mind you, steaks. Not fillets. And the effect was just like I wanted. Fried. Only with 2 tsp of oil and without destroying the good qualities of fish! How how how cool is that!
So here is to wills and ways
3-4 fish steaks. Or fillets. Any fish is good. Snapper. Trout, Tuna, Halibut, Salmon. I used Rohu, an fresh water fish of India. I obtained it from an Indian grocery. But I have tried this technique with all of the above and works like a charm
2 tbsf Turmeric powder
1 tbsf Cayenne pepper. Optional. For heat.
3 tbsf Oil. Any is good
Salt and pepper
Wash the steaks and carefully marinade each of them in the turmeric powder, cayenne pepper and oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place in a baking tray.
Preheat oven to 450F for 10 minutes. Bake the fish at high for 20-30 minutes at 450F. Longer you keep it, the ' fried' it is going to get :) Don't forget to turn once.
Serve with a wedge of lime.
Lovely and crunchy. Fried, yet not. Fish not stripped off fishiness :) My favorite dish.
Happy eating and healthy living!