DOI MAACH / दोई माछ (FISH IN YOGURT CURRY)

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Ironic as it sounds, since I stay in the sun kissed land of coastal India, my doctor found me acutely deficient in Vitamin D! Yes, you read it right. I have not been in the pink of health. The body aches, the joint pains, the physical weakness and accompanying exhaustion kept me out of action in general and also from blogging. My meds are on and I should be back to my regular self in a few months’ time. The vitamin D deficiency leads to low calcium absorption. So it is like a double edged sword. And apparently, it happens to be a common ailment these days since we mostly stay indoors and end up depriving our bodies of sunlight; this is especially true for Indian house wives as per my doctor, that is. I usually do not offer advice until sought but trust me, after going through those pains and aches, I vehemently advice my readers to get routine check-ups done. Better safe than sorry!  

 
And now, to the post. Goes without saying, the hot weather clubbed with my condition, I was in a mood for a light and mild fish curry. And the Doi Maachh was what instantly popped in my mind. This fish curry is very simple and easy to cook and it has delightful subtle flavors of the whole garam masala that hold perfectly against the mild tang and sweetness of the yogurt. Feel free to dunk bread of your choice in its delicious curry or enjoy it like the Bengalis do, with a bowl of rice.   

I had a recipe which I had gathered long time back but just to be sure on the authenticity of flavors, I decided to ask a couple of my Bengal friends about how they prefer to cook their Doi Maachh. And the result, my friends, was very fascinating. It was interesting to note that the cooking methods varied from family to family. One of them suggested frying the fish before adding to the curry and another told me to marinate it in the yogurt before cooking. Where on one hand I encountered the suggestion of using tomatoes, the other one believed using tomatoes in Doi Maachh was unthinkable. Yet, another input was to use nigella seeds or panch phoran. Now that I had managed to confuse myself totally in search for authenticity, I decided to go by my instinct and choice of flavors. And I suggest, you do the same. You wish to add tomatoes, go ahead, you wish to marinate the fish, do it by all means but I didn’t do either. 


Another input, for authentic Doi Maachh you need to use a particular variety of fish i.e. Katla but some find it to be somewhat oily fish and swap it with Rohu. In my view, any firm white fish would do the job. 

You will need the following,

500 grams Fish, cubed in 1.5 – 2 inch size (I used Katla)
2 tbsp Mustard Oil
1 small Onion, turned to paste
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 inch Cinnamon
5 Cardamoms
4-5 Cloves

1 tsp Paprika/ Degi Mirch (+/- to taste)
½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Coriander Powder
Salt to taste
 
½ tsp Sugar
1 cup whisked Yogurt, at room temperature
 
Two whole Green Chillies
1 tbsp Cilantro for garnishing, chopped
Wash the fish and sprinkle the fish with a little salt. Keep aside for half a minute and wash it well. Drain the water well and smear the fish with ¼ tsp turmeric powder. Keep aside for two minutes. 
 
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan or wok and let it smoke. Reduce the flame and carefully add the fish pieces. Fry the fish pieces in batches. Fry each side for half a minute since the rest of it will cook with the curry. Drain the pieces on a kitchen towel or absorbent sheet. 
 
In the same pan or wok, heat the rest 1 tbsp oil. Bring the oil to smoking point and reduce the heat. Carefully add the bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. Once the whole spices become aromatic (it will take seconds for this to happen since the oil is really hot) carefully add the onion paste. Fry it on medium low heat for a minute. Add the ginger garlic paste with a dash of water so that it does not stick or burn in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook till the ginger garlic paste becomes aromatic and the whole masala is golden brown in color. 
 
In a tablespoon or two of yogurt, add the dry spices. Mix them and add to pan along with 2 tbsp of water. Keep cooking on low heat for half a minute and then add the remaining whisked yogurt along with green chilies and sugar. Add ½ cup of water and keep stirring. Cook it for a minute and then add the fried fish pieces. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip over the fish pieces and cook for another 2 minutes. (The curry should be well assimilated and if not, cook further on for a few minutes.)
 
Serve hot with steamed or fried rice or bread of your choice. (do not forget to check notes at the end of the post)
 
Serves 4-5

Note: Add more water if you want the curry to be thinner or reduce if u like it thicker

Note: You must ensure that the yogurt is not sour else the curry will be very tangy. 

Note: To enjoy the authentic flavors of Doi Maachh, I recommend using Mustard Oil.  

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again! 
IT IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGING TO HEAR FROM FRIENDS AND READERS. I CAN ALSO BE REACHED AT: easyfoodsmith@gmail.com
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42 Comments

  1. Its impossible for me to shun away from the sun. The weather over here is killer, so I get plenty of Vitamin D; so much so I have to apply lots of sunblock. This curry; awesome and I am going upside down and inside out over the taste. My other half survives on nothing else except fish. Shall try out this spicy and brightly lighted curry during the weekend.

  2. Wow!! yummy !!
    I just love your blog that inspires me so much to try these dishes. Going to try this one tommorro itself. Thanks and Kudos
    But not taking of yourself is not good. I am the one who pops up with uninvited advice when it comes to health. Till now i have found the answer in yoga, meditation and ayurveda. You better take care of yourself to avoid my unsolicited advice 🙂

    Shalini

  3. Oh join the club is all what I can say..me too severe deficiency of vitamin d…every time something or other pains..after coming to London it is worst now…taking medicines from past 2 years no major change, yeah now I lack in b12 as well…
    Btw fish looks flavoursome in all rise spicy, that will surely give you some vitamins…all the best

  4. It had been a while since I saw your blog post and was wondering if all is well with you. Just as I was thinking of dropping you a message, I saw this post. Take care of yourself!
    Beautiful pictures 🙂

  5. This looks delicious! Your recipe reminds me of a friend who loves this dish… I am sorry to hear about your deficiency… hope your vitaminD level comes back to normal….it is not only limited to housewives but I have seen that many of the younger generation kids also getting this deficiency…

  6. Sorry to hear what you are suffering from my friend, I hope you will be ok soon. Now for the dish, it is amazing lovely full of flavors and very tempting to try. Lovely recipe and lovely pictures

  7. I hope you feel better.
    This fish is making me salivate. Your presentation, clicks and the recipe sound outstanding!
    I don’t cook much fish at home since it’s only my little one and I enjoy it, but after seeing this post, going to go grab some fish right away. seriously craving it!!

  8. Take Care..Even I have extreme low Vit D.The thing is it won’t comeback now.We have to keep taking Vit D. You can try standing in Sun but probabaly wont help much. It depends how our bodies are absorbing that Vit D.Take Care.
    Btw. the curry looks tempting. I am going to try it with shrimps today…Decided….

  9. I get out in the sun a lot (probably too much, but that’s another story) so I think I’m OK with vitamin D. I think. 😉 Anyway, great curry. Love the flavors in this — thanks so much.

  10. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more and more common even here. I make sure to take vitamins since I cover my arms and wear a scarf, I get even less sun! Take care of yourself and hopefully you feel better soon. This fish curry looks wonderful! Love all the salan. Beautiful!

  11. Your post is a good reminder to me. I was diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency last year, but I have been really lazy about taking my supplements recently. I must be more diligent about that.
    This fish curry looks amazing. I love the smell and taste of a good curry.

  12. Now that the weather is warming up, hopefully you’ll get to go out more and that should help speed up your recovery 🙂 My warm wishes and prayers are with you 🙂
    This machi salan looks so good! My mother makes something similar to this, and looking at these beautiful pictures makes me think of her!

  13. This fish in curry sauce looks delicious…I can imagine the taste of it and yes, I would love to add the sauce on my rice…yum!
    Hope you are having a great week…go out and get some sunlight 😀

  14. I was thinking to make doi machi. Glad you posted. The other thing you said about Vitamin D deficiency is not surprising,my niece had the same problem.You said it right we live indoors most of the time and does not get the sun exposure.

  15. Saw your blog for the first time and love the pics of doi machh. Being married to a Bengali & a fish lover myself – I try different fish dishes. I have made doi machh before, but little different recipe. I am going to try your recipe tonight -can’t wait for the yummy taste! Vit D deficiency, here too. Wish you well & hope Vit D meds are helping you a bit.

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