Food: fish curry [pabda] in tomato + mustard


This curry can really be cooked with any kind of fish to your liking. Pabda fish (scientific name Ompok Pabo) is a Bangladeshi fish that is usually about 6" to 8" long and a very flat fish. It is usually cooked whole, but I halved them. You can find this fish in any Bangladeshi store and some select Asian fish markets. It comes frozen in an ice block. Any fish that is frozen, I will usually fry them before cooking.

I used, 
6 whole pabda cleaned and cut in half (you can use any other fish or fish fillet)
2 cups of sliced onions :: 6/7 cloves of garlic minced :: 1 large tomato sliced thinly
1 tsp mustard paste (I used whole grain Trader Joe's dijon mustard) :: 1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder :: 1/2 tsp turmeric powder :: 2 tbsp mustard oil :: salt
whole green chilis slithered :: lime leaves fresh :: cilantro chopped
oil/turmeric/chili powder for frying

After cleaning and drying the fish pieces, rub them with salt, turmeric and red chili powder and gently fry them in light oil in a hot pan. I do this with almost any frozen fish that I buy. Be careful with the fish pieces, since they will easily break. Keep them aside after frying is complete. 

In another skillet/pan you will be preparing all the other ingredients and then place it on the heat sort of like slow cooking. For fish curries, you will need a pan that is flat and spread out - not deep. This is because fish does not need to be stirred like meat since it breaks. So the key is to place each piece touching the pan and not being on top of another piece of fish. Capiche? Oh, and you only flip the fish once and that is if needed. Lets move on. 
So take this pan, and mix everything except for the fish, green chilis, cilantro and lime leaves. Mix everything and spread it out to cover the pan just like the above image. 

Now, place the fish pieces flat on top of the mixture.

Pour about half a cup of hot water (add more if you want it more watery) over everything, and place in on the stove on medium heat. Once the water boils up, lower the temperature to the mark between medium and low. It needs to simmer but not boil. And you keep it like this for half an hour. This is how most fish dishes are prepared in Bangladesh. You might see me repeating this....just warning you :)

After half an hour, you will see that everything is cooked through and the oil has risen over the curry. You need to taste to see if everything if alright. I usually add a pinch of sugar at this time. Also sprinkle the green chilis, lime leaves, and cilantro and keep it covered for another 5 minutes. Enjoy over some hot rice. 

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