Shorshe'r jhol or mustard curry is the quintessential Bengali curry. It is definitely a unique preparation.
Pomfret is the big P of fish in Bombay. Locals, starting with my Parsi in laws, swear by it and I think it is the most special fish here (the equivalent of hilsa in Calcutta).
And I think the two, pomfret and shorshe curry, combine quite well. I should know, I made it last night...and I quite liked it even though I am not much of a fish lover. Though I must admit that eelish (hilsa), pabda and parshe are more traditional combinations with mustard curry.
The first time the wife had mustard curry was when I treated her to hilsa in mustard curry million years back when we were dating. This was at Oh Calcutta, then Only Fish. She threw up! She found it too pungent. I was heart broken, it had cost me about 350 Rs even then.
So I now make a version for her which people who have not grown up on mustard curry can digest. It’s milder than the traditional Bengali version. Here's how I make it:
2 pomfrets - sliced (I got them for 100 Rs at the Khar market).
1 tea spoon each of ginger paste, finely chopped tomatoes, kalo jeere (onion seeds)
1 tea spoon of mustard powder soaked in a bit of water (I think the traditional Bong recipe would have more)
One sliced potato
1 tea spoon each of Turmeric, jeera (cummin), half tea spoon of chilly powder
1.5 table spoon regular oil...I know its sacrilege but I don't use mustard oil
2 split chillies and a bit of chopped coriander
Marinate the fish in salt and haldi and shallow fry it…ditto for the potatoes. Keep the two aside.
Take same onion seeds and fry them in oil heated in a pan till they splutter. Add the split chillies. Wait till they become translucent then add the chopped tomatoes and smash them with a ladle once they soften. Add the mustard paste and then the turmeric, jeera and chilly powder. Once they blend add half a cup of water. Add the fish and potatoes once the gravy begins to boil. Reduce the heat and turn the fish around. Let it cook for about ten minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander.
PS. The wife’s reaction to last night’s dinner – “I love it”