In Bengal, the fish used for this recipe would be rohu, a local carp, which requires some skill to debone. At a large family gathering, it makes sense to use fish that has been filleted to make things easier for both you and your guests. If you can source a good mustard oil, it gives this dish a wonderful flavour.
Serves 6 as a main course or 12 as part of a multi-course mealfish fillets 1.5kg, such as cod or halibut, skinless, bonelesssalt 3 tspground turmeric 1½ tsp vegetable oil or mustard oil 6 tbsp white onion 1 large, finely gratedgarlic 4 cloves, crushedginger 2.5cm piece, crushed to a pasteground coriander 1 tbspground cumin 1 tspchilli powder 1 tsptomato puree 3 tbsp tomatoes 200g, cut into 2.5 cm cubeswarm water 600mlsugar ½ tsp
To garnishgreen chilliesfresh coriander a few sprigs
Cut the fish fillets into 12 equal portions. Mix 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, then rub on all sides of the fish and set aside for 30 minutes.
In a shallow saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. If you are using mustard oil, heat the oil until it is smoking hot – this removes its bitter pungency – then bring it down to a medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan and fry to seal each piece, but do not let the fillets cook through. Remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.