Despite the fact that I cook fish with mustard sauce pretty often, I realized that I actually do not have a basic recipe for Bengali style mustard fish on this blog. Something that I realized I had to rectify pretty soon, even if it meant starting this post at about 11pm at night. You see Sorshe Maach or fish simmered in a stone ground mustard gravy is as essential to Bengali cuisine as my single strand of freshwater pearls are to me on weekday mornings, essential and instictive.
The variation that I share with you here is made with flouder, a firm fleshed fish that I often find with roe, it probably works like some of its firm fleshed Bengali counterparts. All positions come with trade-offs, for better or for worse I gave up trying to scope out Indian store fish working instead with what I could readily find in the local stores. In fact, in my book, I offer several ways to work with local fish. Now, the downside of this is that I often get quizzical looks from my Bengali friends when I present them something like mustard fish with an unheard of fish like flounder, the upside however is that I get to work with everyday produce which essentially is what I try to do with most things. However, the firm fleshed flounder works very well, in fact I have also post this recipe tried this as tandoori flounder, which worked well too. But, this post is not about the orange hued tandoori, it is about the bold and fiery mustard flounder.
This particular fish dish is a recipe that I learnt from Lucky, a friend from Bangladesh. It is not very different from the way mom makes it but, she add the cilantro or coriander leaves on top something that I love but not quite something I was sure mom would like. In fact, when my mother was visiting last year she started her journey at Seattle where my brother lives and then joined us here. I put this dish together, later regretting the addition of cilantro. However, I was surprised to see that mom actually truly relished eating the fish. She said two months of going without mustard was enough for her to forgive my cilantro addition. Actually, I also have to confess, I think mom finally thinks I might be coming of age in the kitchen because she has been try and even liking some of my variations. I am less than apologetic about experimentations, and as mom points out it is a different culinary landscape in Kolkata, one that she aknowledges I would like with all its experimentations.
So there you have it, a classic Bengali dish that graces my table ever so often this time made with flounder.