One of the iconic dishes of Bengali cuisine is something called doi maach. Doi is yogurt and maach is fish. Seared fish is simmered gently in a creamy yogurt sauce thickened with onions, and spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and chilli. There is something about this sauce that weaves magic in the dish, the slight sourness of the yogurt balanced by the sweetness of the fish and the onions, with an underlying sharpness from ginger and chilli. What’s not to like about it? Nothing, unless you don’t like yogurt, or fish for that matter.
The other day when I served that Indian menu, I knew that some guests were not too fond of fish. But pork is rather popular out here in Bavaria. So even as my ancestors shivered in their reincarnated forms wherever they were, I bought some diced pork meant for making goulash and made this heretic version of doi maach with pork. The quantities are meant as a guideline. Feel free to play with the quantities of ingredients as you like, depending on whether you like your dish to be spicy or mild, “yogurty”or more dry, saucy or dry.
Recipe: Doi Pork
1.5 kilos of diced stewing pork
4 large onions finely sliced
2 tbsp grated ginger
1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 cup yogurt
1 small piece of cinnamon
4-6 pods of cardamom cracked
Chilli powder or paprika to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
- Marinate the pork in half the yogurt and the ginger and set aside for at least half an hour.
- Heat oil in a saucepan and add the cinnamon and cardamom.
- Fry till you can smell their aroma.
- Add the onions and sauté till they are lightly browned.
- Add the spice powders mixed in a little bit of water.
- Sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the pork, marinade juices and all and proceed to sauté.
- Once the pork is browned lightly all over, add the rest of the yogurt.
- Season with salt.
- Lower heat, cover the pot and simmer the curry gently for as long as you can. This is the kind of step where you can do something else while the curry is simmering away. Because the heat is gentle it won’t burn. And you don’t have to worry about overcooking. The more you cook the meat, the better it will taste.
- You can use any other kind of meat, like chicken or beef.
- Pescetarians add fish and you will have made the original version.
- Vegetarians substitute meat with cauliflower browned in the oven. Yummy!