Fish curry in light mustard sauce is the curry of my dreams. Succulent tender fish cooked in a spicy and tangy mustard gravy in the traditional Oriya way, just the way my mom and grandma used to. This curry is best eaten with simple steamed rice.
Everytime I make this fish curry in light mustard sauce I get transported back home. To that simple land of Odisha with its swaying palm trees and rice paddy field studded highways, a thousand temples and the blue beaches of Puri, of the art of Pattachitra and the mesmerizing beauty of the Odissi dance, of simple salt of the earth people and lip smacking yet completely unassuming food. This is a family favorite. Growing up we used to eat fish three times a week and the day mom made this spicy fish curry in light mustard sauce was certainly the best of the week.
As much as I hate tradition being followed for the sake of tradition, there are some that are golden.I love India, but sadly it is a beautiful gem of a land driven to madness by the loud cacophony of incessant noise one hears in the name of tradition, a country that is sagging under the burden of a majorly patriarchal society. That is the tradition I am against.
But I love tradition of a special kind. I love the tradition of touching the feet of our elders, of treating our guests as Gods or “Atithi Devo Bhawa”, the belief in the sanctity of marriage, the tradition of sounding the conch shells and lighting diyas in the evening, of a sister tying her brother’s love in a simple thread during Rakhi, the love of a wife as she fasts for her love on Karwachauth, the tradition of our poojas and festivals, of invoking Lord Ganesha before starting a new task, of Holi and Diwali, the Sindoor Khel of Durga Pujo, the gloriousness of Lohri and I especially love the tradition of mom’s passing on some gems from their kitchens to us!!
This particular fish curry in light mustard sauce needs no introduction to most Indians. Its a simple,time tested curry that’s been passed on from generation to generation. Although Bengalis and Oriyas make it the way I have done here, most regions have their version of a similar mustard curry and I am sure it must be just as delectable. The original recipe of fish curry in light mustard sauce,the way my mom makes it uses “ambula” or dried mango. I cant find them in these parts, so I amended it to use standard tamarind paste.and my version works very well too!
Once you open up the lid of the pot , your senses will be intoxicated with layers of flavor and fragrance.There’s the strong hard-to-mask pungent fragrance from the mustard, the earthy aroma of garlic,the heat from green chilies, tang from tamarind and the special magical aroma of curry leaves!
As for the fish, you can eat the fried fish as it is. They are perfect with just a squeeze of lime. But the fish in the fish curry in light mustard sauce? Oh My! Now that one can sing a song, croon a soft melodious tune in your ears as its breaks open at the lightest touch to reveal a shiny white inside that’s utterly deliciously flavored from the spices of the gravy!
If you want to make just one fish curry, this fish curry in light mustard sauce is it. No second thoughts!
Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Baarique. Totally thrilled to be serving this extra special dish in @baarique's beautifully hand crafted brass bowl. It's hand painted leaves seem like a perfect fit with the curry leaves used in this curry!