Well there is a reason why they call it a fish market. Though at times even seems like a harem as I once said. Buying fish without the haggling, the coquettishness, pouted sullen faces, the feeling of being fought for would probably not be the same. Add to this the fact that I like to see the fish I buy. I am particular about the size, the way it is cut and cleaned, the way the fish looks. Few things, for example, take my goat like being served round slices of sub one kilo rohu (river carp). When it comes to rohu or caatla I need straight slices and of a 3.5 kilo fish. I am not the biggest fan of fish but love buying and cooking it.
My recent experiments with Pesca Fresh, the fish delivery place at Mumbai, recommended highly by people I would trust, were non starters. I called from work once and they said they would only deliver at 4.30 PM at Bandra. That didn’t work for us. I called Poonam at Khar Market on Saturday. She didn’t have rui. Nor did Pesca when I called them.
So I called Poonam again on Sunday, booked my stuff and went after breakfast. I bought a 1.3 kg Hilsa (400 Rs/ kg), 3.5 kg caatla (Rs 120/kg), 2 pomfrets (Rs 400 a pair brought down to Rs 220) and 500 g squids (Rs 150 a kg). These prices vary according to the customer. Poonam did say that a couple of my friends apparently dropped in the previous weekend and said they were referred by me. That got me a few more Rupees off.
All this happened while Pushpa, whom I used to buy from earlier, glowered in my direction. If looks could kill! And then there was the plump bossy old lady who sits with her stuff next to Pushpa and gang. I used to buy fish from her in the beginning but they would often turn out to be bad. I have stopped buying from her. Yet she makes it a point to call me over and indulge in some good natured badgering.
Ordering on the phone can’t compare with this can it?
I made a rather indulgent pasta with squids last night. Turned out to be nice and creamy dish which was the brief. Here’s the recipe. Quite simple actually, serves two:
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in a pan
- Add a teaspoon of finely chopped garlic and some red bird’s eye chillies which will add some heat to the dish. Stir.
- Add the squids, cleaned and chopped into rings, to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. I added Australian bush spices that Kunal gave me at Melbourne – salt, pepper and some dried crushed herbs like parsley. Stir the squids in the butter till they turn from white to creamish
- Add some basic cheese. I used three slices of Britannia slim cheese. Couple of cubes perhaps of hard cheese instead. I don’t believe in using expensive cheeses in pasta. Stir and let the cheese melt
- Add 2 tablespoons corn flour in 2 coffee mugs of milk, stir and add in to the pan. This is the sauce base. Keep the flame low and let the sauce slowly come to a boil. Stir occasionally and see the sauce thicken.
- In the conventional form you pour the sauce on the pasta. I prefer to cook the together as i learnt from K years ago. So add 200 g of pre-boiled pasta to the sauce and stir. We used farafelle or butterfly pasta and mix the sauce into the pasta
- Add some chopped capsicum or bell pepper at the end and if you like some heat then add green chillies like we do at the end at the risk of culinary sacrilege.
- The dish is ready