My tryst with Mackerel started when I first reached Bangalore. It was almost 7 years back when sweet water fishes were not so easily available. Every weekend we religiously visited our local super market to buy fresh fishes. but even then they stocked very limited sweet water fish like Rohu or Carp. So after some time we started trying the local fishes like Mackerel, Sardines, Tuna etc.
The mackerels that we used to get there were smaller in size and with my limited seafood recipe repertoir I only made a spice coated skillet fries with them. Last year when we moved to Japan I was taken aback when I reached the super market. Mackerel and prawns were the only seafood that I could recognise. I was scared to give the other fishes a try so one fine day I brought a big pack of Mackerel fillet home. from my earlier experience I knew it tasted like our beloved Hilsa so decided to cook a light mustard based curry with potato and brinjal. And while the curry started to bubble and filled our small service apartment with the very familar aroma of Sorshe Ilish (Hilsa in mustard paste) I knew the decision was right. So just thought of sharing this recipe here. Guess this will help many expats who face the same dilemma as how to cook unfamiliar fishes.
Mackerel Macher Sobji die Jhal
Mackerel fillets: 2 (cut each in 4 pieces)
Eggplant: 2 ( I used the small Japanese variety)
Potato: 1 medium
Green chillies: 4-5
Mustard Paste: 2 tbsp (or 1 tbsp mustard powder soaked in 1/4 cup water)
Mustard oil: 3 tbsp (or 2 tbsp white oil+1 tbsp mustard oil)
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Rub salt and turmeric on the fish pieces and keep aside for 15 minutes.
In the meantime discard the stem end of the eggplants, slice them lengthwise and cut each piece in 2 or 3. Take a big bowlful of water and place them in it. Make sure the eggplants are submerged in the water, this will help frying the eggplants in less oil.
Peel and cut the potato in half and slice them lengthwise in 4-5 pieces.
Once you are ready to cook heat the oil in a pan or Kadhai and fry the fish pieces on medium flame, 1 minutes each side. Drain and keep aside.
Rub he nigella seeds on your palm and add to the same oil. Add 3 slited green chillies. Once they start to sizzle add the potato pieces with a pinch of salt. fry for a minute and add the drained eggplant pieces. add turmeric and little more salt (as per taste) and fry on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Mix the mustard paste with 1/2 cup water and add to the pan (make sure the mustard skin does not get added to the curry. You might not be able to discard all of it but try as much as you can.)
Add turmeric and fish pieces and bring it to a boil. Adjust the salt and if needed add more green chilies. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or till the potatoes are fork tender. You can now add a tsp more of mustard oil to enhance the mustard flavour. Keep covered till you are ready to serve it with steamed white rice. Serve hot or warm.
A Homemakers Notes:
The fillets that I used here were boneless and with skin.
I also have used cookme mustrad powder for this dish for a light smooth gravy.