Sunday, October 7, 2012

Local(ish) Ingredients, Bangladeshi Twist

Smoked Mackerel with Red Onions & Coriander

The coriander in the UK is so weak..

It's always interesting to see how people cook Bangladeshi food while they're not actually in Bangladesh. Granted, you can get a lot of imported ingredients nowadays, but being abroad results in a lot of improvisation and experimentation with local products. The end product is often very satisfying, as it was for me today.

In Bangladesh we have a variety of - for lack of a better term - mashed fish dishes. We cook the fish with a touch of spice, de-bone, mash and combine with various other herbs, spices, oils etc. Over the summer, I went to a house where I was served mackerel combined with red onions, coriander and mustard oil, inspired by this Bangladeshi way of serving fish. It worked really well, but unfortunately I forgot to ask exactly how the mackerel itself was prepared.  

Working from memory, I remembered the fish wasn't spiced like it would be in the usual Bangladeshi dish. Wanting something a bit different for lunch today, I decided to recreate a version of it. I couldn't get my hands on any mustard oil, so I substituted with olive oil. I also had no idea how to cook fresh mackerel, so I went for the smoked variety. I added a few more things here and there, and the result was as you can see in the picture above. I will, however, be trying this again with fresh mackerel and mustard oil.

  • 100.00 g of smoked mackerel
  • 2.00 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander
  • Half a red onion
  • Half a lemon
  • Chilli flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

  • Squeeze the juice out of the lemon into a little bowl.
  • Add a dash of pepper, and salt if desired.
  • Remove the coriander leaves from the stems, and chop them up before adding them to the lemon juice.
  • Pour in the olive oil and mix.
  • Peel the skin off the mackerel and discard it. Flake the fish itself with your fingers in an appropriate dish.
  • Slice the onion into rings and add it to the mackerel.
  • Pour the lemon juice and olive oil mixture over the fish and onions, and mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle some chilli flakes over the fish, and mix again. 
  • If you want to follow Bangladeshi tradition, serve with rice, but I imagine this would make an ideal topping for a salad as well.

Additional Notes
  • Pretty much all the ingredients here are to taste, so experiment with whatever combination works best for you. 

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