Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bengali Grilled Salmon with Spicy Panch Phoron Sauce - Shorshe Salmon Maachh

I chose to make this dish after seeing a verion of it in the book "The Hindi-Bindi club" which was the October choice at Books That Make Us Cook, see my review of the book here.

Each chapter in the book had a recipe that resonated with the main character in the chapter. Since I have ZERO exposure to Bengali food, I wanted to try one of the recipes featured - which was a baked salmon with a mustard glaze.

I already had some panch phoron spice in stock - this is a Bengali five spice - essentially an equal mix of cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds.

After I started making the dish per the recipe in the book, I realised I was going to have to make some adjustments. First, the marinade as per the book's recipe seemed too watery, it just called for the panch phoron spice to be blended with water and salt. Well, I tried that and I ended up with a watery paste with some whole seeds floating in it. The panch phoron consists of whole spice seeds, not powder, and that may have been the root of the problem. Then I realised that the salmon would just be dry after grilling it, so I decided to make a gravy to go with it, but also using the panch phoron spice.
I ended up merging the recipe with one I had seen in Cooking Light magazine, where salmon was cooked in a panch phoron "sauce" and named Salmon Kalia. Bengali Food Authenticity Police out there - hopefully, I haven't offended any of you out there with my wrangling of the dish!
Bengali Grilled Salmon (my adaptation from recipe for Shorshe Salmon Maachh in Hindi-Bindi Club - A Novel with Recipes by Monica Pradhan)

3 Tbsp panch phoron spice mix
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 large salmon fillet cut into 8 pieces
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp mustard oil (I used olive oil)

1. In a blender, puree the panch phoron, onion, garlic, turmeric, salt and water to a paste.
2.Brush both sides of the salmon fillets with oil, and then rub both sides with the spice paste.
3.Refrigerate the salmon to marinate for a minimum of an hour, but use within 24 hours.
4.Spray a grill pan with non-stick spray. Heat to high. Sear each fillet on the grill until lightly browned on both sides.
5.Remove fillets from grill, and keep aside.

Panch Phoron Vegetable Gravy (slightly adapted from
Cooking Light)

1 tsp salt or to taste
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Panch Phoron Blend
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 large peeled Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 large tomatoes
1 large zucchini cubed
1 cup water
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
5 serrano chiles, halved and seeded
1 tsp Garam Masala
a handful chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine oil and Panch Phoron Blend in pan; cover and cook for 30 seconds, shaking pan constantly.
2. Add onion, garlic and ginger, chilli powder and garam masala, stir fry till slightly cooked then add potato; stir-fry for 6 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown, stirring frequently.
3. Add tomatoes, salt and zucchini to pan; stir fry, then add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Reduce heat or take off heat completely and stir in yogurt until well blended (take off heat to prevent curdling).
5. Return salmon fillets to the pan, carefully nestling them into the vegetable mixture.
6.Cover pan and cook 10-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve with a simple rice dish, I chose peas pulao


Bombay Foodie said...

Lovely review, and great recipe!

Bong Mom said...

Are you sure they asked to blend the paanch-phoron. Not a Bong police but have never ever seen that take on paanch-phoron :)

That spice mix is usually used whole for tempering i.e. why the name "phoron"

For the fish you could use a fresh made mustard paste to marinate the fish for shorshe maach or to make kaalia just give the "paanch-phoron" a miss while blending

For the kaalia gravy use the paanch-phoron for tempering only if you wish

But the fish looks good though :)

Teanna said...

I love the recipes on your site - gorgeous dishes packed with flavor!