Cod fillets would flake apart in this curry but cod loin, handled gently, works perfectly. If you cannot get it, it might be best to shift to firmer seafood. Salmon or prawns would work well.
Normally, a mustard sauce known as kasundi is added to give that special taste that Bengalis live. As it is hard to find, I use grain mustard. Fish stock is salty, so taste as you go.
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp Kashmiri or other mild red chilli powder
- 450 g (1 lb) cod loin, cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) chunks
- 6 tbsp mustard oil
- 12 cauliflower florets
- ½ tsp nigella seeds
- 3 hot green chillies, sliced
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 tsp peeled, finely grated root ginger
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 tsp grain mustard
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- 1½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp Kashmiri or other mild red chilli powder
- 4–5 tbsp tomato passata
- 3 fish stock cubes
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 5 minutes
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Coat the cod chunks in the marinade and leave for 5 minutes.
Set a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and pour in 2 tbsp of the mustard oil. Allow it to smoke. Carefully fry the fish all over for 1 or 2 minutes, just allowing the chunks to firm up. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Place the cauliflower in the same oil. Stir and fry for 2 minutes, until brown all over. Remove and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and allow to sweat.
Put a karhai, wok or large pan, 25 cm in diameter, over a medium heat. Pour in the remaining mustard oil. When it’s hot, add the nigella seeds, chillies, garlic and ginger. Stir for 2 minutes, until lightly brown. Increase the heat to high and add the onions. Fry for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add 120 ml of water. Mix well and cover. Cook the onions for 10–12 minutes until soft and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard and stir in the ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir uncovered for 1 minute, then add the tomato passata. Combine thoroughly.
Now pour in 250 ml of water. Dissolve the fish stock in the sauce and cook on a high heat for 2 minutes, until the oil rises to the surface. Return the cauliflower, fold it into the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes at a gentle simmer. Return the fish to the pan and carefully cook through for 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning, then garnish with the coriander and serve.