previously mentioned, our freezer is full of fresh from the ocean Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna that we caught on a rather idyllic safari trip with P’s family. While we can eat it raw for a few more days still, I’ve been preparing it every which way. I was born in Calcutta, which is in the state of Bengal. I am not Bengali but it doesn’t mean I can’t find my ‘Bong’ roots when I want to prepare some delicious fish. Calcutta is a coastal city, so the sea food you find there is simply to die for. I tried to bring a little bit of Calcutta to our international table, through an updated variation of a fish curry my mom makes. Generous servings for 6. Tuna adapted from my moms, NEELS, and Saffron Streaks. Bengali Style Mustard Tuna:
3 large tuna steaks (if you like your fish rare as we do, then sashimi grade tuna is a must!)
1 cup of yellow mustard seeds (soak overnight in water)
Green Chillies 4 (or more, to taste)
Ginger Paste 3 tsp
Garlic, 4-5 cloves
Turmeric Powder, 1 1/2 tsp (separate)
Ground Cumin Powder 1tsp
Red Chili Powder 1 tsp (optional)
Mustard Oil 3 tbsp
1/2 – 1 cup water
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
A couple pinches of black mustard seeds, for garnish
Wash fish filets, cut into small pieces (2×3 inches), and rub with turmeric and salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge. In a food processor, grind up mustard seeds, and 3-4 chillies, a bit of water and 1/2 tsp of turmeric until it is a coarsley ground paste. Heat mustard oil to it’s smoking point. Sear tuna pieces on all sides until golden brown (CAREFULLY, the oil WILL splatter), placing them on a paper towel to dry. I did this 2 at a time so as not to burn them. Add ginger paste, garlic cloves and salt to oil, and lower the heat. Add the mustard paste, remaining spices, along with honey. You may want more honey. The sauce will be strong tasting, and that will be evened out with the coconut mash. Add 1/2 cup of water or more and stir until you have thick sauce-like consistency. Add the tuna pieces into the sauce, and cook until your preferred done-ness. Serve on a bed of coconut mash with roasted green beans. Garnish with cilantro and black mustard seeds.
** To make sure that the tuna was hot and not over-done, I prepared the sauce and just before dinner I seared the tuna in a separate pan and added it to the sauce. A must if you don’t want to be cooking the whole time your guests are there.
Coconut Mash potatoes:
3 kilos of potatoes (ok this was a bit of overkill, but when you’re having people over…)
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1 can of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
A bit of salt (not too much, you want the sweetness)
Wash, then boil potatoes until they are of mashing consistency with the garlic and a bit of salt. Drain, then add coconut oil (which is hard and will substitute for butter) and coconut milk. Stir until your preferred consistency. You could also try this with sweet potatoes.
Roasted Green Beans
1 kilo grean beans
Preferred Seasonings (I used a steak rub!)
Turn oven on Broil (the one where the heat comes from the top) to about 240 degrees C. Slice off ends, arrange on a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil, salt and your seasonings. Place on middle tray and bake for about half an hour, turning the beans with tongs about half a through (I just turned them several times). You want them to come out crispy, like a french fry or potato chip. You may move them to the top tray for the last couple minutes to finish them off.