Bata shorshe ar sholpa diye Salmon
Salmon in a mustard sauce infused with ginger, chillies and dill.
Bata shoshe, translates mustard seeds blended into a paste. There is something about cooking curry using this traditional method that elevates a fish curry to unbelievable heights. I use shortcuts all the time in substituting freshly made mustard paste with ready-made mustard cream. It certainly adds a unique and different flavour however, you just cannot beat the dimension that a bata shorshe creates.
Team that up with the aromatic fresh dill and you have a stunning dish that smells both heavenly and tastes divine!
Dill known as Sholpa in Bengali, is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. Dill is grown widely in Eurasia, where its leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavouring food.
My hubby loves mustard sauce with dill, to be honest it can be polarising, some love the dill addition and others kind of detest the smell i.e. my middle daughter! There lies a problem where I would normally take a portion out before adding the dill. Me and hubby love it. It’s potent and heady and just absolutely delicious.
I had some pre-prepped salmon, which I defrosted. This always makes life quick and easy and is helpful with our busy lives. Salmon being versatile tends to work with the asian and western dishes so there is always salmon in my freezer.
As for the dill, I actually used frozen dill today. There is always a bounty of fresh herbs in my house as I have two greedy rabbits but Dill is not their favourite!
So I tend to freeze the dill if I have a glut, I leave it whole and just freeze the entire packet and take out what I want, then chop and add to my dishes. I also find that the dill that is available readily in the Asian shops tends to be rather lacklustre and does not have much aroma. I prefer to buy my fresh dill from the regular western supermarket. You know it’s quality the moment you open the bag! Gosh the smell!
So here’s a recipe for salmon in bata shorshe! This method uses whole fenugreek seeds as a temper.
My mum used to always love the fenugreek temper in a bata shorshe fish curry. In all the methods of cooking fish in mustard sauce this she would say was her ultimate favourite and it was always cooked when she came to stay. This fish dish is a fitting tribute to my mum.
Bata shorshe with fish is as Bengali and traditional as you can get.
Half a cup of mustard or veg oil
Half a teaspoon of whole fenugreek seeds
3 teaspoons of whole brown mustard seeds
1 inch fresh ginger
6 green chillies or to your taste to blend
1 green chilli slit
1/2 cup of fresh/frozen dill chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of chili powder
half a teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder
3 salmon fillets, skin removed, cut into large chunks.
Take a blender and add your mustard seeds, green chillis and ginger and blend this into a very fine paste. Leave aside.
Take a bowl and your three powdered spices, turmeric, chilli and the Kashmiri chilli, add 6 tablespoons of water and make into a thin watery paste. Leave aside.
Add half a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of salt and a pinch of chilli powder to your fish. Rub it into the fish and then gently shallow fry the fish until just lightly golden. Remove and set aside.
METHOD FOR THE CURRY:
In a nonstick pan or preferably a Karai/wok add your oil and let it heat up.
Once your oil is hot add your fenugreek seeds and as soon as they become dark brown and aromatic add in your spice paste and cover immediately as it will spit. Leave it for a few moments until the spitting stops
Now take off the lid, give it a good stir and add your salt and green slit chillies. Continue to stir this until you find that the oil begins to separate from your spices.
Now add quarter cup of water, give it a stir cover and let it simmer on a medium heat until the oil begins to split again and the water has evaporated.
When the oil has split again add the mustard paste, give it a good stir and add a further 1 cup of water, your sautéed fish and then let it cook on a gentle simmer with the lid on until the sauce has reduced by half. You don’t want to have a really thin sauce, but rather something like single cream.
At this point add in your chopped dill. Stir in and let it infuse for a few minutes on a low heat and the oil float to the top.
Switch off your flame and let your curry sit for a short while before you serve.
You just have to serve this with boiled rice, as it should be, to truly appreciate the flavours!
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