Rui Macher Tel Jhol (Fish flavored with nigella seeds and green chilies and cooked in mustard oil)
For the fish:
- Fish Steaks or Fillets, 4 pieces (Rohu/ Carp, Tilapia or any other white firm flesh fish of your choice)
- Salt, ½ tsp
- Turmeric, ½ tsp
- Mustard Oil, 1 tbsp
For the vegetables, if using (optional)
Drumsticks, skin scarped and cut into 3-4 inches long pieces, 2-3
Potatoes, skin peeled and cut into thick long wedges, 1 large
- Eggplant/ Brinjal/Aubergine, skin on, cut into thick wedges, ½ large
- Salt, ½ tsp
- Turmeric, ¼ tsp
- Mustard Oil, about ½ tbsp for drumsticks and potatoes, about 1 tbsp for eggplant
For the curry:
- Kalo jeera/Kalonji/Nigella seeds, ½ tsp
- Fresh green chilies, slit into halves, 2-3 or more (remove seeds if you want)
- Kashmiri Red chili powder, ½ tsp to 1 tsp (optional, I add it for the color only since I don’t like the blackish yellow colour of this curry when Kashmiri red chili powder or Paprika is not used)
- Turmeric, ½ tsp
- Hot Water, 1- 1 ½ cups
- Salt, to taste
- Mustard oil, 2-3 tbsp
- Coriander leaves, a handful
- Lime juice, a squeeze or two
- Whole green chilies, 1-2 (optional)
Wash the fish in cold running water. Drain and pat dry.
Lay the fish in single layer on a tray/plate and sprinkle salt and turmeric on it. Rub in the salt and turmeric on both sides of the fillets and keep aside for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a pan on medium heat. When the oil is sizzling hot, slide in the fish and fry till light golden brown on both sides. Remember the oil needs to be sizzling hot and to turn the fish only once or else the fish will break. Also, don’t fry the fish for too long or till deep/dark golden brown as it will get tough and chewy – need it to be just crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Drain the fish well with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
If using potatoes or drumsticks or eggplants, sprinkle and rub salt and turmeric; add more oil if required and fry them lightly in the same pan. Drain well with a slotted spoon and keep aside (fry the drumsticks and potatoes till they slightly change colour, fry the eggplant to nice golden brown)
In the same pan, add 2-3 tbsp more of the mustard oil. Lower the heat and add nigella seeds and the green chilies. When they sizzle, add in the turmeric and red chili powder. Stir for 4-5 seconds (don’t let the spices burn). Add back the drumsticks/potatoes, if using. Cover and let them cook for 5-7 minutes, till the veggies are half done.
Increase the heat and add in the water. Once it comes to a boil and lower the heat and slide in the fish and eggplant. Cover and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Take off the heat; add in whole green chilies, coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve hot with plain steamed rice.
Mix in Ginger paste, 1 tsp, Cumin powder, ½ tsp and turmeric powder, ½ tsp (and ½ to 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder if you want for the colour) with couple of tablespoons of water. Add in after nigella seeds. Stir for 10-15 seconds and then proceed as above by adding veggies.