Fish and veggies and lime juice completed this Assam to Mumbai lunch story





I had conceptualised the dish in the picture last night and it came to life this afternoon after I bought rawas or Indian salmon from Poonam and Sangeeta’s shop at the Khar Fish Market. Ask for ‘original’ if you buy rawas from them. It is more expensive, but is the good stuff. 


I drizzled some olive oil, salt and Saudi Baharat powder on the rawas fillet, put it in a baking foil and closed it and put in the air fryer at 200 C for ten min. Then I unwrapped it and put it in for five more minutes at 120 C with the surface exposed. The fish was pleasantly moist inside and firm outside when done.






I made a pesto in the mixer grinder with toasted walnut, pistachios, 2 cloves of garlic, a fistful of basil leaves, salt and a dash of extra virgin olive oil. There were no Parmesan or pine nuts at home and hence the slightly non-traditional combination. I ground the ingredient in three rounds. Dry stuff first, then the leaves and finally the oil was added. 




I then layered the pesto on the upper surface of the grilled fish. 

 

For the final plating, I placed the fish on a bed of sliced mushroom, capsicum and broccoli which I’d sautéed simulateously on cast iron wok with a tablespoon of oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Adding bulk through vegetables to the meal meant that I didn’t need any grains with it.


I drizzled a bit of the juice of the amazing kazi nemu (lime) from the Manas National Forest before we ate. Pushpanjalee Das Dutta gave me these limes in Guwahati and I am tripping on them these days back home in Mumbai. They look like gondhoraj lebu but are far more juicy. Many refer to these as kagji, or paper like because of the thin skin. I will stick to Puspanjalee’s spelling for now. 




Incidentally, there is an interesting story to these kazi nemu.


On seeing that elephants are wary of these lime trees, Puspanjalee’s husband Deba Dutta, who is with the WWF, came up with the idea of planting lime trees at the periphery of the jungle. This acts as a natural barrier which prevents the elephants from crossing over into human habitation. The lime which grows in these trees is sold by the villagers who live on the fringe and contributes to their income.




Now how is this for sustainable development? I had to share this story from Assam with you.


Award winning food blogger, Alka Keswani, a Sindhi and a food blogger wrote the following when she saw me post about these limes:


‘Kagzi or thin skinned limbu are great to pickle as the skin turns tender soon. We make lemon juice and salt based pickle with kagzi limbu, ginger and bhavnagri ( or any less hot) chilli in summers. It is a very light and appetizing pickle relished by even elderly people, in summer season.’


So you have got rawas from the west coast of India and lime from Assam, put together by a Bengali in Mumbai. The result was a dish which is made with indian produce and yet so European.







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