Fixing the fish…roast pomfret with babaganoush on the side


Sometime back I had asked you to help me fix the betki that I grilled last time.

The betki had turned out to be too dry and had a fishy smell to it and was quite tasteless.

Many of you commented and some of the more popular suggestions were:

  1. Add lime juice to the fish to cut the fishy smell. Not lemon powder
  2. Don’t poke holes into the fish. This causes the fish to dry up
  3. Seal the fish from the top to retain the moisture
  4. Use a heavy marinade. The marinade reduces and so use a lot more than you think that you need to get the flavour of the marinade

I did all of that. The fish admittedly was different. Tonight we used pomfret instead of betki. Both bought during the same trip to Khar market a couple of weeks back.

The results? Very pleasing.

K had marinated the fish in salt & pink mustard that i2cook had given us. To this I came back and added some lime juice which I squeezed over both sides of the fish and a liberal pour of African Mama’s Zulu chilli mint sauce. About 5 tablespoons of sauce over 2 pomfrets & K had used that much mustard. I then poured some of the chardonnay still remaining in the fridge on to the baking tray and sealed it with a cooking foil. I poked a few holes in the foil with a fork for the steam to go out.

10 minutes to preheat the oven at 200 C and 15 min for the fish to cook at 200 C and the fish was roasted and ready.

I took out the fish and left the excess the liquid in the tray behind. The fish was well cooked. Juicy. The dominant flavour mustard with a bit of tangy heat in the background.

A relief after the dry betki

As a side I tried something different from the mash that we are fond of or chopped vegetable salad. I can’t find the link right now but Prachi had blogged about babaganoush recently. The Mediterranean cousin of Bengal’s Begun Pora. Smoked aubergine lies in the heart of both. Mustard oil, raw onions and chopped chillies are added the Bengali version. Babaganoush on the other hand has garlic, tahini and olive oil I think. I had been planning to make one for a while and Prachi’s post finally got me going.

I asked Banu to smoke a baigan on the gas top and then keep it in the fridge.

I came back and heated the aubergine for a minute in the micro. Then I took 6,7 garlic cloves and then after some scrounging & innovating, 5,6 bottled olives and 5,6 mixed nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts .- and pounded them in the mortar and pestle. I then added the aubergine & gently pounded it all together. Then I added some salt and sumac powder, blended it with a spoon and then poured some extra virgin olive oil on top. The babaganoush was ready.

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I knew I took some liberties with the recipe but the bites of nuts were a robust counterpoint in taste and texture to the sharp flavours of fresh garlic. A very morally pleasing meal – no red meat, no frying etc – and quite tasty too.

Yes, I could have just blogged about how awesome all the food one makes is. But sharing a kitchen mishap with you guys did help one pick up some new tricks.

That’s not a bad thing.

So what have we learnt today?