Thursday, March 22, 2018

Machher Roast (Fish Roast)

I occasionally photograph the food I make right down to the steps but the farthest these photos go is my Instagram. Today I posted this fish roast recipe in my Stories and Ro expressed her horror at a recipe callously shared without measurements or timings. So here is a better written recipe with my apologies, dear Ro.

~ This is a recipe that is easily approximated. The gravy is formed by the oil and fried onion so if you like more of that, you can just use more of each.
~ The ginger, chillies and lemon juice take away any fishy smell so you can be safely generous with them too. In general, it's better to have a little too much of these than too little.
~ The leftover onion gravy is delish on toast for breakfast the next day (speaking from experience). 
~ Nonstick vessels will need less oil, but this dish relies on the oil for taste so don't stint.


1. Fish cut into medium-sized pieces (as for a regular fish curry) - 500 gm
I used rohu (rui) but bekti (bhetki) also works comfortably
2. Onions finely sliced - 4 medium-sized 
3. Ginger julienned (2 tsp) or chopped fine (1.5 tsp)
4. Whole green chillies - 6 to 10 depending on your preferences
5. Juice of 1/2 lemon (1.5 tsp)
6. Mustard oil or refined veg oil or mix of both - 1/4 to 1/3 cup depending on your vessel/preference
7. Salt - 1/2 tsp including for marinating


1. Clean and wash the fish and rub with about 1/4-1/3 tsp salt. Leave to marinate for 15-30 minutes while you get the gravy ready.

2. Heat the oil in a pan. If you're using mustard oil, make sure to get it to smoking point.

3. Slice the onions and fry them slowly on low to medium heat. Stir occasionally for even frying.

4. Chop or julienne the ginger. Cut a slit or two in each chilly and remove the stems (not shown in photo).

5. Add the ginger and chillies to the partly fried onion. Keep frying on the low flame, stirring occasionally. Take your time over this because the slowly fried onions are what makes this dish so mouthwatering.

6. When the onions are finally starting to brown, stir the mix once very well to ensure nothing is sticking to the pot. You may remove a few chillies at this stage if you want to reduce the heat a little.

7. Now gently place the pieces of fish onto the bed of onion ensuring that the pieces are not overlapping. Cover the pot with a lid and let the fish cook, undisturbed, over low heat.

8. After 10-12 minutes check on the fish by sliding a knife into a piece -- if it slides in easily the fish is done. If the fish needs a few more minutes, gently slide your spatula under the bed of onions to loosen any bits that may have decided to stick to the pot. Be careful because the fish can break up quite easily. You can also add extra salt at this stage if needed (check by tasting a little of the onion gravy). I never do need extra salt.

9. Once the fish is done, turn the heat off and squeeze the lemon over the fish and gravy.

10. Gently shift the fish and gravy to a serving dish and serve with hot rice for a simple and satisfying meal!

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