Friday, March 22, 2013

Maach-er Matha diye Moog-er Dal / Yellow Lentil Soup with Fish Head

A Heady Lentil Soup is what this dish is. It is so heavy and yummy at the same time, I can eat steamed Rice only with this Lentil Soup without any sides. Yes, we Bengalis, do not throw away any part of our Sacred Fish, especially when it comes to a Fish as tasty as the Katla; the preparation can be made with Rohu Fish Head too, but nothing beats the juicy head of a Katla. This is mostly prepared during Aiburo-Bhaat (last Bachelor Meal before the Wedding), Poite (Sacred Thread Ceremonies), Griho-Probesh (House Warming) & various other functions, mad Bongs like ‘A’ & Me even make this for dinner for their Anniversary Celebration and serve to their non Bong guests and surprise them :D

Here is what you will need to make Maach-er Matha diye Moog-er Dal / Yellow Lentil Soup with Fish Head:

A fairly large Fish Head – 1, cleaned and sliced into two halves – My Katla weighed 1.7 KG, hence the head was the size I was looking for
Moog-er Dal / Yellow Lentil – 1 Cup
Mustard Oil (Use any other cooking Oil if you do not have Mustard, but tradition says, it tastes best with Mustard) - 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Ghee/ Clarified Butter – 1 tsp
Bay Leaf – 2
Whole Cumin Seeds – 1tsp
Whole Dry Red Chilies - 2
Cinnamon – 1“long stick
Green Cardamoms - 3
Cloves – 3
Turmeric Powder – 1tsp + ½ tsp + 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
Ginger – grated – 1 tsp
Green Chili - 2 - broken from between
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance

How to make Maach-er Matha diye Moog-er Dal / Yellow Lentil Soup with Fish Head:

In a Pan, dry roast the Yellow Lentil till you get the lovely aroma of roasted Moog, be careful not to burn them, once the color changes to light golden, turn off the stove, wash the Lentil under running water, Pressure Cook the Lentil in 1 Cup of Water ½ tsp of Turmeric, let the pressure go down on it own an set aside

Smear  Salt and 1 tsp of Turmeric on the Fish Head pieces, heat 2 tbsps of Mustard Oil in a Pan till smoking, sprinkle a little salt into the Pan (so that the hot Oil does not splash when you slide the Fish pieces in), slide the Fish heads in, fry well, 3-4 minutes on each side, break them down to smaller pieces with the help of a Spatula if you can, not into very small parts though, say about 5 small chunks from each half of the head, set aside on Paper Towels to get rid of the excess Oil

In the same Pan, add 1 tsp of Oil as most of the Oil must have been absorbed by the Fish Head already, add the Cumin Seeds and let them splutter, add the Whole Dry Red Chilies, Bay Leaves, Cinnamon, Cardamoms and Cloves and sauté for a minute

Add the grated Ginger and cook for another minute

Add the cooked Lentil into this and mix well

Add the Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt and Sugar to taste and stir around till the dry spices are cooked

Add the chunks of Fish head into this and mix well

Add desired quantity of luke warm water and bring it to boil, keep in mind both the Lentil and the Fish head are cooked already, we are just trying to bring the dish together and let the flavors intermingle into each other, hence do not add too much water, also this lentil soup will be thick unlike Bengali Red Lentil Soup, so add just as much water as you would like in your dish

Once done, add 1 tsp f clarified Butter to this and give it one final mix, sprinkle the 1 tsp of Garam Masala Powder & broken Green Chilies as well

Serve with steamed Rice

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