Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for me. Eventful for the event etched a lesson on my mind I would not forget for sure at least some time soon. I was planning to cook a bucket of festival goodies to share among friends and colleagues for which I started the preparation of nimkis, a must have item in any festival menu. Rice flour and all-purpose flour both look identical and are of similar texture; it's difficult to distinguish them just by taste. I have them stored in two identical looking jars on my kitchen shelf. Added to the fraternity is another similar looking ingredient - the confectioners' sugar, which, thankfully, has a distinct taste of sweetness making it easily recognizable.
So three jars that are carbon copies of each other with content exactly alike are bound to create confusion; adding to the woe is the fact that the jar of all-purpose flour was empty for a week which I forgot to refill and rice flour having been of occasional use totally slipped out of my mind. So, as was inevitable, I confused rice flour with all-purpose flour and kneaded dough twice with the same wondering why the dough was falling apart. It took me a second round of kneading to perceive the error and by that time it was too late for I have already kneaded two crumbly doughs blowing about 750 gm of rice flour, a considerable amount of ghee, oil and butter each, not to mention the drainage of my enthusiasm.
It is utterly frustrating when an hour worth labour goes to waste for one single error of judgment. As a precautionary measure to help me next time such confusion happens, I have now stuck labels upon all the three jars with the name of the content written on them.
Ingredients: Cooking time: 20 minutes
ü 6 pieces of hilsa
ü 1 large onion (julienned)
ü 5-6 green chillies
ü 50 gm yellow mustard seeds
ü 100 gm grated coconut
ü 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
ü Salt to taste
ü 1 string of curry leaves
ü 1 tsp black mustard seeds
ü 1 tsp cumin seeds
ü Mustard oil for cooking
1) Heat mustard oil in a wok. When oil turns hot, add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and curry leaves. Allow them to crackle.
2) Add onions and fry till onion changes to golden brown in color. Meanwhile, as onion is getting fried, grind yellow mustard seeds, grated coconut and green chillies into smooth paste. Add turmeric powder into the paste and stir in.
3) When onion reaches the desired golden brown in color, add the mustard-coconut paste and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for 5 minutes and bring the gravy to a boil.
4) Add salt and mix in. Toss in the fishes and cook covered till fishes are tender.
5) Dribble raw mustard oil on top before serving. Serve hot with steaming rice.