Posted by Shekhar Bhatia:
I had the privilege of working with Tushita Patel, whose book of recipes, “Flash in the Pan,” will be published this month by Westland Books. I also had the privilege of working with her husband Aakar, now an eminent columnist. (You can find links to some at Asian Window).
After many happy and successful years in journalism Tushita joined Vijay Mallya, billionaire owner of Kingfisher Airlines and many breweries in India and abroad, and also a politician, as his political secretary. Mallya is said to be a workaholic. Some years back, in a profile of Mallya, The Telegraph of London quoted Tushita: “Even before his aircraft can touch down, his core team is summoned over the satellite phone to the airport. Half the office shifts to the runway – with papers, phones, laptops. We work in the plane, then in the car, then in the office, continue at home, pool, disco, back to the car, back to the plane…”
And yet she managed to write a book!
Below, her recipe for what she calls Mustard Fish 101 excerpted in Mint Lounge.
This is such an exotic dish with so many variations that I had to, absolutely, include it.
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 cup mustard seeds
1 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt
2 + 2 + 1 green or red chillies
1kg fish (ideally river fish)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp + 1 tsp + extra to taste mustard oil
Soak the mustard seeds in 1K cups of water, with 1 tsp salt and 2 chillies for 20-30 minutes. Drain and pulse grind. If the fish is large, cut it into pieces about K-inch thick and 2-inches long. If the fish are to be kept whole, and are about 3-4 inches long, just trim them. Wash the fish and pat dry. Coat fish with K tsp of salt and the turmeric and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. When hot, fry the fish in batches, on each side for a minute. The idea is not to make crisp fries, just remove the rawness. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. Add 1 tsp of oil to the pan and heat. Slit 2 chillies and add them to the pan. Dilute the mustard paste in water, and holding a strainer over the pan, filter it through. This I do to keep the rough mustard skin out and make the gravy smoother. Once it starts bubbling, lower the heat and put in the fish. Cook for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.
To serve, pour the fish and the gravy into a dish. Swirl a little oil on it for a sharp kick. Split the remaining chilli and place it in the dish. This should not be runny like a curry, but just the fish coated in the mustard.
There are some more recipes in Mint Lounge