Desi Mas Curry (Hilsha Fish)
Hilsa fish: 4 pieces
Pumpkin: ½ cup (peeled and cut in medium sized cubes)
Tamarind: this totally depends on the quality and tartness of the tamarinds and also on how much sour taste you like. Generally this dish has a balanced taste of sweet and sour so please adjust the quantity as per your taste. Always start with lesser amount, say 1-cup light tamarind extract, later if needed add on thick juice spoon by spoon.
I used an year old stored tamarind. Soaked a ping-pong ball sized tamarind, which yield 1/3 cup of thick tamarind juice.
Mustard oil: 2 tbsp
Dry red chillies: 3 pieces
Mustard seeds: ½ tsp
Sugar: as per taste
Salt : as per taste
Turmeric: Tea spoon full
Smear the hilsa pieces with salt and turmeric and keep aside for 5 minutes.
Heat the oil to smoking point in a heavy bottom pan. Lower the heat and carefully fry the fish pieces for a minute or so on both sides. Take out and keep aside.
In the same pan add the mustard seeds and red chillies. Once they sizzle add the pumpkin pieces and fry with salt and turmeric on medium heat.
Once they are soft add the tamarind juice mixed in a cup of water. Cook on medium and bring it to boil.
Add in the fish pieces. Add sugar and salt to balance the sourness of the tamarind. Add sugar little by little to achieve the taste you like most.
Cook till the gravy thickens and you get the taste you like.
Serve hot or at room temperature with steamed white rice.
Note: this dish could also be cooked with small sized prawns, but in that case use more tamarind extract as prawns will soak most of the sourness.
We also make another Macher Tak with Rohu or any big fish with dried mangoes(amchur) and mustard paste. will try to post that soon.
Was just searching Wikipedia and it says that Shad and Herring are popularly used in place of Hilsa. The taste and flavour is quite close.