I feel like I owe all the readers a disclaimer; today’s post is not going be bright and shiny, giggles and roses and winter cuddles, because life is often not bright and shiny, but you will get a good life lesson, a cool Buddha story, and a great fish recipe out of it.
There is this old Buddha tale of a women, who is being chased by hungry tigers. she is running very fast to get away from them, and while running comes to a cliff edge, now to save herself from the tigers she jumps right off, to a certain death. and on her way down, catches on to a vine growing from the rocks, hangs on to it for dear life.
Now that I have everyone’s attention, back to the Rohu, its possible that if you belong to South Asia, you are very similar with this seawater fish. if you are not, let me introduce you to this quick cooking, detectable tasting fish. Its known for its rich meaty flavor touched by pink, its just as beneficial as Mackerel, Tuna and Salmon. Packed with Omega 3 fatty acids and other essential minerals, its as beneficial as it is delicious, and the very best part is, it does not need a whole lot to make it into an absalouty phenomenal dish that will have you crowned as the Fish Queen of any dinner party.
Back In the nineties, my mother was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, and the doctors advised her to eat lots and lots of fresh fish, preferably three servings each week, so every weekend, off we went to the local fish market, which was in the next city, armed with a cooler full of ice, and while my dad picked out the weeks fish supply, I played with the kittens that lingered around, meowing for some fish scrapes. there i learned ow to tell if a fish was good and fresh, how it should smell, how the eye indicates freshness, how the gills should be red not blackish if the fish is caught fresh.
At home mom cleaned, marinated and froze the fish and we enjoyed it throughout the week. This recipe here is a version of that classic pan seared fish. It’s ridiculously easy, made with spices you probably have in your pantry right now. This recipe can just as easily be made with any other sea fish, or even a fish fillet, but then again any white fish will not yield a flavor as rich as the Rohu.
This fish tastes best seared with a little vegetable oil in a pan, the meat stays lusciously moist, retains its unique shade of pink, the outside is slightly crisp, golden thanks to the turmeric and the traditional Indian spices, and very well seasoned without taking away from the star of the dish, the Raho. The only unique ingredient is the har-har cones, if you can find them, they give a scent and flavor that highly compliments any fish or roasted meat dish, and are highly recommended, but since it is a some-what lesser Known spice, you can certainly make it without as well. Garlic sauce is my favorite dressing for the sauce served with this fish but any lemony/garlicky dressing would do.
The women looked down, as she hung there off the cliff by a vine, and saw even more hungry tigers, snapping their jaws at her down below, and a tiny mouse, eating away at the base of the vine, she sighed desperately, and just as she gave up hope she saw a bush of strawberries growing near-by, she broke off a ripe one and plopped it in her mouth. She enjoyed it more than she had ever enjoyed anything, savored that sweet strawberry.
That is the lesson in all of this, tigers above, tigers below, all we get, is this moment, so savor it, while you can.
This is exactly what i had in mind as I walked in the kitchen with a bowl full of fresh rohu steaks, to savor this, the ultimate comfort food that happens to be healthy, as my mind was clouded by worries from the past and the uncertainly of the future, fighting my own personal tigers, and so, this delicious fish served as the perfect strawberry for me to savor, I hope you give this dish a try, it will not disappoint.
The marinated fish freezes well, packed tight in between plastic sheets to avoid sticking, just thaw out for a couple hours and pan sear, serve with a simple green salad of iceberg, pickled cucumbers, red onions, carrots, kale , rocket and cabbage, for a light healthy dinner, or steamed zeera rice with lemon wedges for the peasant version of this simple classic. anyway you prefer, it will be a hit.
Rohu [cleaned and cut into thick slices] …….. 2- 21/2 pounds
Ginger Garlic paste…… 1 1/2 tablespoons [ I grind mine with a small splash of vegetable oil, if you don’t, add a teaspoon full of oil to your marinate, this helps the flavors dissolve in the fatty parts of the fish and makes it so much more flavorful]
Lemon juice ….2 tablespoons
Red chili powder…….. 1 teaspoon [ less for less heat]
Turmeric powder……… 1/2 teaspoon
Garam-masala 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander seeds whole…… 1 teaspoon
HarHar cones…… 2
Zeera dry roasted….. 3/4th teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds… 1 teaspoon
- Sprinkle around two teaspoons salt on fish pieces, rub and leave covered in the fridge for around an hour, then wash well and leave in a strainer to get rid of excess water, this step ensures the smell of fish is cut down drastically, this is also why there is no salt added into the marinate, because the fish is already salted now.
- Dry roast the zeera and coriender seeds, crush roughly along with the fenugreek, harhar cones.
- Combine the GG paste, lemon juice, turmeric and red chili powder, garam masala and crushed spices , mix well, add in fish pieces and mix until all pieces are well coated in the marinate, cover and refrigerate for at-least half an hour. if freezes, do so right away in a tight fitting box , place plastic sheets in between to prevent sticking.
- Heat a non stick pan over medium heat, and grease with around a tablespoon of vegetable oil, cook pieces 3-4 at a time, covered, 8-12 mins each side till well browned and cooked throu, when done, let rest covered for five mins before serving to allow juices to settle back.
- Serve over a bed of Zeera rice, or a fresh green salad with sauces and lemon wedge.