The cuisine of Odisha is simple, economic yet temptingly delicious. The food is spicy, hot and thereby foodies having savoury mouth will certainly enjoy the food items that Odisha offers. Due to similar geographical conditions, food preparations are almost the same as that of its neighboring states Bihar and West Bengal. However what makes Odia dishes different from others is the use of a variety of spices and the way they use it. Being a coastal state, fish forms an integral part of their traditional cuisine.
Dahi Machha is a traditional Odia delicacy made of fish in a spicy yogurt based sauce. It is eaten usually served with rice as an accompaniment. Dahi Machha Jhola is liberally seasoned with turmeric, garlic, mustard and the use of turmeric imparts a yellow colour to the sauce base. Before being served, chopped fresh cilantro and raw mustard oil may be sprinkled on top for added flavour as well as enhanced appearance.
What is rich and plentiful is the ever present ingredients of – Odia cuisine- curd (yoghurt) and coconut milk. The curd here is rich and creamy and gives the succulent fish an additional flavour. It is not only the fish which is traditionally cooked in curd and coconut milk but also vegetables like brinjals and ladyfinger are liberally used in curd with mustard seeds giving the whole preparation that extra zing.
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DAHI MACHA- Fish cooked in rich yoghurt and mustard paste
Soak the yellow mustard along with the garlic, green chillies for minimum 30 minutes.
Wash and clean the Fish. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Turmeric and 1/4 tsp of Salt and rub on the Fish. Set the fish aside and allow it to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
Make a fine paste of the yellow mustard, green chillies and garlic and keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan preferably a wide one , heat the mustard Oil and once the oil is Smokey, lower the flame and put all the fishes in the pan at a time. and lightly fry the fish on both sides preferably for 3 minutes each on one side, make sure that the fish don’t break. So do not turn it often.
Turn off the stove and allow the oil to cool completely with the fish in it.
Whisk the curd and add to it the mustard paste, chopped tomato, slit green chillies, slit garlic, salt, turmeric powder and cinnamon powder and mix everything well.
Once the oil is completely cool, slowly add the mustard , curd paste to the fish from one side of the pan and slightly tilt the pan in both the directions so that the fish gets evenly coated with the mustard curd paste. Make sure that the fish do not get broken as it is still tender.
Add 1/2 cup of water and put the pan on the gas on low heat. Cook till there is a boil and slowly push the fish with the help of a serving spoon to allow it to cook evenly.
The entire process will take 15 to 20 minutes on slow flame. But you can adjust your time as per the thickness of the gravy you want.Turn off the heat and before serving put 1 tbsp of mustard oil over it.
- Serve it along with Plain Rice for a taste of authentic odia cuisine.