All of us are familiar with a korma. Dating from the Mughal era, the korma is a rich, creamy dish usually made using meat or vegetables. But in Bengal, you will find that the maccher korma or fish korma is a popular dish, given the region’s love for seafood.
Different types of fish like rohu and salmon can be used to make this korma, but here pomfret has been used to prepare this deliciously creamy yoghurt based curry resplendent with nuts, spices and aromatics.
1. 1 kg pomfret, cut into medium slices
2. To grind:
• 4 tbsp freshly grated coconut
• 1 tbsp poppy seeds
• 5 cashew nuts
3. 2 dried bay leaf
4. 3 green cardamom
5. 1 inch cinnamon bark
6. 3 cloves
7. ¾ th cup mustard oil (approximately)
8. 1 onion, finely chopped
9. 1 ½ inch ginger
10. 3 large garlic cloves
11. 2 tsp turmeric powder
12. 2 tsp coriander powder
13. 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
14. 2 tsp red chilli powder (this gives medium heat, adjust to preferences)
15. 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
16. 1/3 curd yoghurt, whisked
17. 1 ½ tsp garam masala
18. 1 tbsp raisins
19. Salt, to season
20. ½ tsp sugar
1. Clean, wash and pat dry the fish pieces. Marinate the fish pieces with 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
2. Grind the coconut, poppy seeds and cashew nuts to a paste like consistency with a little bit of water. Keep aside.
3. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste and keep aside.
4. Take a large pan; heat half the oil and shallow fry the fish pieces in batches till slightly golden on either side. Keep aside.
5. Add the remaining oil if necessary and lightly fry the raisins till plump. Remove and keep aside.
6. To the same oil, add sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf.
7. As the sugar begins to caramelize, add the onions and sauté till translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and sauté till the onions have turned light brown.
8. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and cumin powder and sauté for another minute. Add a few spoons of water if the mixture feels too dry.
9. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and sauté well till it turns mushy and oil begins to separate from the masala.
10. Then add the ground coconut paste and continue to cook covered for 10 minutes on low heat.
11. Once you begin to notice oil clearing at the sides of the pan, add the whisked yoghurt and mix well. Season with salt and add 1 cup of water.
12. Add the fish pieces and cook covered for another ten minutes.
13. Open and add the raisins, check and adjust seasoning. Add more water if necessary and then add the garam masala.
14. Remove from flame and keep covered for another 10 – 15 minutes before serving.