Friday, September 7, 2012

Koi Macher Ganga Jamuna

The name Ganga Jamuna calls to mind two prominent rivers of India - The Ganges and its tributary river Yamuna. The Ganges revered as one of the sacred rivers to Hindu is conceived of as a salvation curing people of all their miseries. Hindus from all over India throng the Ganges to take a dip for cleansing all their sins. Yamuna also known as Jamuna, on the other hand, is held in high esteem as well, worshipped as goddess yamuna. One of the Seven Wonders of the World - Taj Mahal, the famous mausoleum erected by the emperor Shah Jahan while in mourning over his dead wife Mumtaz, overlooks the Yamuna River and the reflection of the same in the azure water of the river is a sight worth craving.

Koi Macher Ganga Jamuna is a traditional cuisine of Bengal. The uniqueness of the name is ascribed to its unique way of preparation. Two kinds of gravies are made - one tamarind based; another mustard based. One side of the fish, the one at the bottom would look black or dark brown in color because of being immersed in tamarind based gravy while the side facing the top would be dabbling with mustard based gravy. The taste is beyond description, something you have to experience first-hand. Bursting with flavours, the dish enriched by the pungency contributed by mustard and the combined sweetness and sourness lent by tamarind makes the meal one of its kind, scrumptious and full of flavour. 

Ingredients:                                             Cooking time:40 minutes
For Ganga:
ü  4 Koi fishes
ü  2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds (ground into paste)
ü  4-5 green chillies (split in half)
ü  1 tsp kashmiri red mirch
ü  1 tsp turmeric powder
ü  Salt to taste
ü  1 tsp panch phoron (a mix of five spices including nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, methi or fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds)
ü  Mustard oil for cooking
For Jamuna:
ü  1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
ü  2 tsp concentrated tamarind extract (diluted in 2 tbsp of water)
ü  1/2 tsp kashmiri red mirch
ü  2 tsp sugar
ü  Salt to taste
ü  Mustard oil for cooking
1) Rub the fishes in a pinch of salt and turmeric powder and then deep fry them in smoking hot oil. Keep aside. (If you want to cook the fish later on in the same oil used for frying the fishes, then be careful of frying the fishes on medium to low heat alternately so that the oil does not get burned and turn bitter.)
2) Into the same oil, add panchphoron and wait till they crackle. Add yellow mustard paste, kashmiri red mirch, turmeric powder, salt and green chillies along with a bit of water. Sauté the mixture till oil floats on the surface.
3) Add some more water for the gravy, about 1/3 cup. Bring the gravy to a boil. Very carefully arrange the fishes into the wok and when the gravy dries up a bit, turn off the flame. Keep the wok aside.
4) Moving on to the preparation of Jamuna, heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a skillet and add yellow mustard seeds when oil turns hot. Allow them to sputter.
5) Add tamarind extract, kashmiri red mirch, salt and sugar. Add 1/3 cup of water and bring the gravy to a boil.
6) When the gravy comes to a boiling point, very carefully scoop out the fishes from the mustard gravy and place the fishes on the side untouched by the mustard into the tamarind gravy. Be careful through the entire process.
7) When the gravy dries up a bit, turn off the flame.
8) Take the fishes into a serving bowl with the side coated in mustard gravy facing upward and carefully dab the excess mustard gravy mixture on top.

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