Friday, September 26, 2014

Macha Patra Poda

My first attempt to write-down the recipe!! Hopefully, I can do this right :)
I’m dedicating this preparation to Aie, my Grandmamma, who really knows how to cook and eat fish:) Preparations with Rai/Mustard sauce is one of her favorites, but she usually skips garlic which is one my must-haves for the dish. Needless to say hers tastes much better but anyways, all my attempts to recreate her magic doesn’t work quite the same.

Mustard Paste Preparation: The trick to a not-bitter-tasting mustard sauce is to soak the mustard seeds in water for couple of hours. And if you’re grinding in a blender/grinder then add a little bit of salt to make it a finer paste.
Mustard Paste Ingredients:
Soaked Mustard seeds -1 tsp.
Soaked Cumin seeds - ½ tsp. (optional)
Garlic- 5 cloves/as per taste
Green chilies – 2/as per taste
Salt – as per taste
Sugar- ½ tsp. (optional)
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp.
Grated coconut- 1tbsp/ as per taste (optional)
Water- as much required to make a thick paste
Variation: you can also add 1 tsp. soaked Poppy seeds.
  • Grind the ingredients into a thick paste consistency.

Preparing the Fish: this time I’m cooking with the whole trout fish. But this preparation tastes great with any other whole fish or fillets. You just have to adjust the cooking/ baking time. This preparation also tastes amazing with shrimp or prawn.
  • Marinate the Fish for about an hour with Key Lime juice and salt.
  • Get rid of the juice after marinating and coat the prepared Mustard Paste all over the fish.
Wrapping:  Sometimes the banana leaves break while wrapping. So to make it more pliable you can either steam or boil it for a few seconds .Or you can put it on the open flames taking caution not to burn it. That should make it pliable enough to fold. And in case it tears, you can always double wrap it to make sure the liquid stays in the parcel. Alternatively you can use any other (big enough) leaf or aluminum foil to make the parcel, if you can’t get banana leaf.
  • Tie the parcel with baking twine to make sure it doesn’t fall apart (optional).



Baking: Poda in Oriya means charred, so obviously this preparing will need cooking in high heat. 
This dish tastes the best when prepared in a barbecue, but this time I’m preparing it in oven. Though while barbecuing you’ve to partially wrap the banana leaf parcel in aluminum foil to keep the leaves from direct flame. 

If you're preparing it on stove-top - you need to oil the pan and cook the parcels covered, in a medium to low heat. Turning it when its done on one side.
  • I preheat the oven at 500F and then let set the temperature at 450.
  • Since this is a medium size trout I baked it at 450F for 20 minutes.
  • And then broil it at 550 F for 10 minutes.
Garnish(Optional): For presentation cut the banana leaf parcel from the middle to open the parcel. And add the tadka(tempering with oil) on top as the final garnish.
Tadka Ingredients:
Kalonji seeds -1/2 tsp
Dry red chilies - as per taste
Green chilies – slit in halves (optional)
Hing- small pinch
Mustard Oil- 1/2 tbsp (or any vegetable oil)
Few Curry leaves (optional)
Chopped Coriander leaves – ½ cup (optional)
  • To prepare Tadka, heat oil in a medium to high heat. Add the Kalonji seeds and wait for them to sputter. then add the dry red chilies and hing. lastly, add the curry leaves, green chilies and coriander leaves.

This preparation is usually served with steamed rice.

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