Happy Mother’s Day and Seabass Curry with Mustard and Tomatoes

Family reunions are a very special event and one that I always look forward to. And when we reunite, a sense of dé·jà vu sets in. No matter how old I grow, I become that little girl that my parents nurtured. I feel like I am ready to take on the world and pursue my dreams, knowing that if something goes wrong, I will always have their unconditional love and support to get me through it all.

That is perhaps the reason why the most secure place in this world is still in that warm and affectionate embrace of my Mother.

Many a times we have disagreed and quite vocally so.
She is a bad listener, I often complain.
Yet, she is my best friend. A soul mate.
She hears without listening. She speaks without speaking.
Her eyes tell a story. The story of her life.
A life of sacrifice. A life of giving.
A strong woman in the inside and so fragile outside.

I can never forget an incident from the time I was thirteen.

I waited outside my school for hours but Ma didn’t show up. Upset and angry, I mentally rehearsed the conversation I planned on having with her when we meet. Instead, my Uncle appeared. We were headed in a different direction. When I enquired about Ma, he quietly whispered ‘She is in the hospital’. My heart sank.

She had met with a very serious accident. The image of her lying on the hospital bed with one leg completely covered in plaster and tubes all around her haunts me to this day. She was in immense pain. She looked at me and all she said was “Don’t cry, I am fine. Remember to have your dinner. I will be home in 3 days.”

At one point, the doctors wanted to amputate her legs. She refused. She demanded to be transferred to another hospital. Thanks to the doctors, her will power and fighting spirit, she averted the amputation. For her family. And most importantly, for her children.

After a painful 3 months in the hospital, she finally returned home.

Like a baby, she had to learn to stand and walk all over again. At times she would break down saying she will never be able to stand on her feet. And the next moment, she would get up fumbling but trying harder than ever before.

Many months later, she walked. Slowly but surely. And she hasn’t stopped since.

It’s Mother’s day on the 13th of May. I dedicate this post to my Mom, who means the world to me and my family.

Today’s recipe is a family fish curry which was handed down from my grand-ma but every woman in our family has her own version of it. This is my Mom’s.

Seabass Curry with Mustard and Tomatoes

Serves: 6-8 (depending on your appetite ;)

To print the recipe, click here.

For frying the Fish:
Seabass: 1 kg cut in slices (Traditionally, Rohu is used to make this curry). I had about 8 pieces excluding the fish head. head. (Alternatively, you could use Rohu)
Mustard powder: 2 tablespoons
Garlic paste: 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric: ½ tsp
Whole wheat flour (aata): 1 ½ tbsp
Salt: to taste
Mustard oil: 2 tbsp, for frying

For the curry:
Black mustard seeds (rai): ½ tsp
Dry red chillies: 2
Tomatoes: 1 big, ground to a paste. ½ a tomato chopped finely.
Garlic Paste: 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric: ¼ tsp
Red Chilli powder: ¼ tsp
Mustard powder: 4 tbsp
Chopped tomato: 1 small
Green chillies: 2
Warm Water: 3 1/2 cups
Salt

1.     Take ¼ cup warm water to mix together 6 tbsp of mustard powder (2 for frying the fish and 4 for the curry). Leave aside for 5 mins.
2.     Rub 1/3 of this mustard paste along with garlic paste, turmeric, flour and salt (see ingredients under ‘for frying the fish’. Let it rest for 15 mins.
3.     Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a flat nonstick frying pan. Once the oil starts smoking, remove from heat. Let it cool for 30 seconds. Then add the fish pieces frying it on medium heat until it turns slightly brownish. The fish pieces will also cook in the curry later so do not overcook the fish.

4.     In a non-stick kadhai / deep bottomed pan, add 1 tbsp mustard oil. Once the oil starts smoking, let it cool off a bit before adding the black mustard seeds (rai) and the dry red chillies. (Note: I added the dry red chillies but took it out once it was done before moving to the next step as I was also making it for my little one. If not, leave the dry red chillies in and continue to the next step).
5.     Add garlic paste. Fry for a minute on low heat.
6.     Add tomato paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Fry on low-medium heat until the tomatoes are fully cooked and form one mass. (about 7-8 mins).
7.     Add the remaining mustard paste. Cook for about 2 mins. Do not overcook the mustard as it can turn bitter.
8.     Add 3 ½ cups of warm water. Bring it to a boil. Let the curry boil on low-medium heat, covered, for another 7-8 mins. Adjust salt if necessary.
9.     Gently slide in the fish pieces and the chopped tomatoes into the curry from the sides. The curry is supposed to be of thin consistency. Adjust water to your liking but always add hot water to make sure the cooking process doesn’t slow down.

10.  Continue cooking uncovered on low heat for 5 mins before turning it off. (I added the dry roasted red chillies at this point).
11.  Let it rest for about 10 mins before serving. This step will make sure that the fish pieces absorb the curry.
12.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Notes:

  • I cooked this with ‘Sunrise’ mustard powder. It is quick and hassle free. The only downside is that it isn’t so easily available. I usually stock it up when I go back home. You can use other commercially available Mustard powders. If you have a powerful grinder, you can use that to make fresh mustard paste. Soak 3 tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds + 3 tablespoons of black mustard seeds for 30 mins in warm water. Add the mustard seeds, 2 green chillies and salt and grind to a paste.  Do not grind for too long as it can make the mustard paste bitter.
  • Back home, this is usually made with Rohu. I prefer to make this curry with Seabass as fresh Seabass is easily available here. It has less bones and tastes great!

About Sublime Palate

food and thoughts...
This entry was posted in Curries, Fish, Indian, Non vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Happy Mother’s Day and Seabass Curry with Mustard and Tomatoes

  1. Happy Mothers Day to you too! :)
    The pictures are so beautiful. A home recipe never fails. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The curry gravy looks so good!

  3. That looks absolutely perfect quite delicious. No, ridiculously delicious.

  4. Happy mother day, to you and your mom and all those wonderful mothers in the world! Lovely tribute!

  5. sreebindu116 says:

    looks like my mom would go crazy looking at that piece, ridiculously scrumptious.
    xoxo
    http://sreebindu.blogspot.in/

  6. notyet100 says:

    Even I prefer sea bass to rohu ,this one looks yum,.happy weekend,

  7. look amazing… I will have to try them right away
    http://purevegetarianbites.wordpress.com/

  8. Sihi says:

    Delicious recipe and a heart warming note. Have a good weekend.

    Best,
    Sihi

  9. Amber says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! Family recipes handed down through the generations are always my favourite! These recipes can be so hard to put into words, you usually just have to know how to make it from practice.

  10. Urvashi Roe says:

    This just looks so unbelievably awesome! Wonderful photography too. Thank you for sharing x

  11. Tina says:

    First time to ur beautiful blog. Fish curry sounds delicious with beautiful clicks and presentations..Lovely.

  12. kankana says:

    This dish reminds me of home! I don’t cook fish this way any more. Arvind cannot eat with bones and skin and he doesn’t like in a curry at all :(

    • oh…I am sure you totally indulge every time you go back home. There’s just so many varieties of fishes and preparations.. I have so much fish on every trip to Kolkata that when I come back to Singapore I am off fish for at least a couple of weeks :)

  13. Ilke says:

    I am so glad your mom is ok now. It must be a very tough time to go through. Moms are much stronger than we give them credit for sometimes.
    Never cooked fish in a sauce, but this looks delightful. More like a fall recipe for me :)

  14. Carole says:

    Great recipe. Would you be happy to put up a link to it in my Food on Friday – Asian Food Series.

    • Hi Carole, Apologies for the late response. Some how your comment was in the spam queue and I hadn’t realised it. My pleasure to be listed on your blog. Thanks:)

  15. A magnificent dish! Great flavors and color. Really appetizing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  16. Arpita says:

    Such a lovely website, great pics and perfect recipes. I have found a substitute for rohu too , buy grey mullet , tastes very similar to rohu with less bones. I was looking for a good mustard fish recipe for ages esply.the one that uses mustard powder! Thanks

    Also a candid blog, those 4 lines of poem could fit my mom’s description too :-)

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