Machli kay Sir ka Saalan and a Winner

The first time I had tasted this fish head curry was at my aunts house. She had prepared this curry along with rice and other accompaniments and served it at lunch. I was staying at her house for my studies during that time. Fish head curry sounded very gross to me and I was initially hesitant to even taste it. But my aunt was truly enjoying it and looking at her enjoy, I was eventually tempted. I tried and it was very good. Since then I am a fan. Hubby dear on the other side is not a big fan of fish in any form, so fish makes a rare appearance on our table. Whenever I fancy fish, I ask the fish monger at stores in Toronto that sell live fish, to give me a whole tiny little cleaned fish along with its head. I fry/grill or a make a saalan with the steaks, and a separate curry using the head. Enough for me.

Machli kay Sir ka Saalan – Fish Head Curry

One of the easiest curry preparations using fish, and full of nutrition. You will definitely enjoy it. My mother and aunt make this curry using the head of a Rohu fish, which is the most commonly eaten and most delicious fish ever that is available in South India, however you can use any fish head. I have prepared this curry using Salmon fish head and Rainbow Trout fish head. You can even use King fish head or Snapper head, etc.  If you are making this curry for more than one person, please go ahead and buy 2-3 fish heads, and increase the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. Just let go of your inhibitions and do try this curry atleast once.

Machli kay Sir ka Saalan – Fish Head Curry

Ingredients:

1 Fish Head – cleaned (I discard the eyes and skin)
Onion – 1 medium sized, finely diced
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Canola oil – 2 tsp

Method:

In a pressure cooker at medium heat, add the finely diced onion, oil, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Pour in about a cup of water. Mix well. Close the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes until the onion is very soft. Remove the lid and cook while stirring occasionally until most of the water dries up and it resembles a paste and oils starts to leave. Add the cleaned fish heads and a few drops of water. Stir to mix, then cover with a lid and lower the heat to simmer. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for a further 2-5 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

Winner:

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Olivado Oils. And we have a winner. To choose the winner, I usedRandom.org’s Integer Generator to choose a number, and the lucky winner is ikkinlala. Congratulations. Please contact me for further details.

Luv,
Mona

Fish Maheqalya

Hyderabad does not boast of many seafood preparations. However come rainy season or the winter, we hyderabadis love to prepare a few very special close to heart dishes that are very specific to the Hyderabadi trpe of cooking. Today I am writing about one such fish curry. One of my most favorite fish curries, Machli ka Maheqalya, never fails to remind me of my grandmother. She used to prepare the most delicious Maheqalya ever.

Red Snapper Steaks

I usually prepare a mutton maheqalya or a fish maheqalya. Maheqalya is basically a sauce made with a range or aromatic spices and seasonings. It is a regional recipe from the city of Hyderabad usually prepared by Muslims. If you do not like fish or mutton, you can add add boiled eggs to the sauce to make it ando ka maheqalya, or you can also add sautéed bitter gourd rounds into the gravy for karelon ka maheqalya, or just opo squash pieces for kaddu ka maheqalia.

A perfect accompaniment to Maheqalya is Khadi dal and rice. My Ammi used to prepare and serve this for lunch or dinner usually on Jummah during my childhood.

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Ingredients:

White/Yellow Onion – 2, large, sliced thick
Groundnut/Moomphalli – 3 tbsp, ground into a fine powder
Dry Desiccated Coconut – 3 tbsp
White poppy seeds/Khuskhus – 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds/Till – 3 tbsp
Tomatoes – 3, large, red and ripe, roughly chopped
Canola oil – 4 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 or 2 fresh sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies/Baghaar ki mirch – 3, each broken into two
Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
Red Snapper steaks – 5-6 steaks (I had a medium sized red snapper cut into steaks) (preferred fish are rohu and murrel which are easily available in India, or you can also use salmon (wild) or king fish or any that you like with or without bones)
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, chopped finely

Machli ka Maheqalya ~ Fish Maheqalya

Method:

1. Take a large heavy bottom non-stick skillet on medium heat, and pour a tablespoon of oil into it. As it gets warm, add the sliced onions and a teaspoon of salt. Mix well and half cover with the lid. After 2-3 minutes, give a good stir to the onions, add 1/4 cup of water, and again half cover it with lid. Keep repeating this until the onions are all soft and browned evenly. Remove the pan from heat, and let them cool down. Once cooled, add the chopped tomatoes and the caramelized onions into a blender container or food processor and blend till pureed smooth adding a few drops of water if necessary, just to aid in the process. Keep aside.
2. Put a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat and dry-roast the groundnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, shredded coconut, khuskhus each individually without oil till they are golden brown in colour. Do not burn them. Remove them into a cup (you can dry roast a handful of almonds and cashewnuts and grind them together along if you want a richer gravy). Once cool, grind them all together or individually until very fine. Make sure the obtained spice powder is very fine.
3. Take a large non-stick heavy bottomed saucepan and add a tablespoon of oil to it and put it on medium heat, add oil and keep it on medium high heat. Add cumin seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds to the oil and let them splutter. Now add the onion+tomato paste to it and cover the lid immediately for 3-5 minutes and remove the saucepan from heat, so that the aroma of the tempered oil with spices gets absorbed by the onion mixture. Remove the lid, put the saucepan back on stove and add the ginger-garlic pastes to it and stir to mix it all completely. Add the spice powder which we prepared earlier, the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and stir it well. Lower the heat to medium low and let cook until it starts leaving oil. Pour in about 3 cups of water, and add the tamarind paste and give it a stir. Close the lid and increase the heat and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and gently lower the fish steaks into the gravy. Let it cook half covered for 15 minutes until the fish is done. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Tandoori Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout is a large, beautiful moderately fatty fish. It is very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, just like Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Albacore Tuna, and Herring, so very good for your heart health. These fish are also considered low in methyl mercury levels.

Fresh Cleaned Rainbow Trout

In this recipe the beautiful fresh fish is marinated in a Tandoori masala of yogurt and aromatic spices for atleast 2 hours, and later grilled to perfection. It is crisp outside and spicy and succulent inside. Tandoori Machli is a delicacy.

Tandoori Rainbow Trout

Ingredients:

Fish alternatives: Char, Swordfish, Pink Salmon

Rainbow trout – 1 large fish, about 2.2 pounds, cleaned with head and tail intact (you can remove the head and tail if you like)
Thick Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Ajwain – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Roasted Coriander/Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp
Roasted Cumin/Zeera powder – 1/2 tsp

Tandoori Rainbow Trout, 
served on a bed of fresh Napa cabbage leaves and Chopped Carrot Fingers

Method:

1. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients except the fish and mix well. This is the aromatic Tandoori masala. Slather it on the fish, inside and outside. Transfer the fish into a large resealable plastic bag along with all the marinade and let it rest for not more than 2 hours in the refrigerator.
2. Bring the fish back to room temperature before you grill. Oil a fish grilling basket and place the marinated fish in the fish basket and clip it closed.
You can either grill the fish using your charcoal grill, gas grill or even bake it in your oven indoors.
For Charcoal grilling:
Light the charcoal briquettes and build a fire on direct medium grilling and let burn until the coals are almost completely covered in white ash. Oil the grill grate. Place the fish basket on the grill grate and cover the grill. Let it cook for 15 minutes until the fish meat is opaque. Turn the fish in the basket and cover the grill. Let cook for an another 10-15 minutes. Remove the fish from the basket and serve.
For Gas Grilling:
Preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes with the lid covered. Once the grill is hot, turn to medium or medium low. Oil the grill grate. Place the basket on the grill grate and cover the grill. Let it cook for 15 minutes until the fish meat is opaque. Turn the fish in the basket and cover the grill. Let cook for an another 10-15 minutes. Remove the fish from the basket and serve on a platter.
For Baking:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the fish basket on the baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and let cook for 15-20 minutes per side. Remove the fish from the basket and serve on a platter.
3. Extract as much meat as possible from the head and tail and discard them. Remove the backbone, and cut the fish into pieces and serve.

Note: The exact time for grilling varies depending on the size and thickness of the fish.

I enjoyed the Tandoori Rainbow Trout along with some broad noodles served with the store brought ‘Thick and Chunky Catelli Garden Select Six Vegetable Recipe-Diced Tomatoes & Basil Pasta Sauce’.

Luv,
Mona