Lai Shak aka Mustard Greens are widely used in the cuisines of Northeastern part of India. This is also famous in Bangladesh, specially in Sylhet. My ancestors hailed from that part of the globe an thus, many dishes that we prepare have the influence of Bangladeshi cuisine. As a Sylheti by blood and soul, my heart always longs for authentic Sylheti cuisine, far away from home. Yes, we eat Shutki mach (dry fish), Shidol (fermented fish) and also we eat lot of green leafy vegetables. Among all the other leaves, Mustard Greens are Baba‘s favourite, and mine too. Back home, Maa prepares a lot of interesting dishes with this leaf – from stir fry to bhorta (mash), from fish curry to bhaja (fry). Maa‘s kitchen has an ample of green leafs in stock every time, specially during winters.
In my kitchen, which is far away from my native, I often try to recreate Maa‘s magic. Atleast once or twice a week if I don’t make something typical Sylheti I feel super restless. My shutki-shidol loving soul often cries in solitude as it misses home and the food badly. Yes, I do prepare shutki often, but don’t get shidol here. But yes, whatever I get I make the best use of it. Just like Maa, I too use green leaves in many preparation and today’s dish is one such.
High in fiber and antioxidant, mustard greens help to keep cholesterol under control. These leaves are also storehouses of minerals and vitamins. In short, they are super food with huge health benefits. Fish, on the other hand, is excellent for heart and brain and has huge health benefits too. So, when these two super food mingle together, wonder happens. For these preparation, I used small sized whole Telapia aka Tilapia. If you want you can use any fish and if whole fish is not available, you can use cut pieces too. Here’s the recipe for you all.
- 500 gms lai shak, separated from steam and chopped
- 6 small sized whole telapia
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 green chillies, slitted from middle
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seeds
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 4 table-spoon mustard oil (2 + 2)
- 1 cup warm water
- salt, according to taste
- Rub the fish with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and salt.
- Heat 2 table-spoon oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat the remaining oil and temper with cumin seeds. Allow them to splutter.
- Add onion, garlic and ginger and sautè until the onion turns light golden brown.
- Now, add tomato, remaining turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt. Sprinkle little water and stir until the tomato becomes mushy.
- Add the chopped lai shak and mix well. Cover the lid and on medium flame cook for around 10 minutes or until the lai shak starts discharging water and 3/4th cooked.
- Open the lid and check. If the water is less, add 1 cup warm water. There should be runny gravy.
- Now, add the fish and give a quick mix. Cover the lid and cook for another 10 minutes on low flame.
- Open the lid and your Lai Shak diye Telapia is ready to be served now.
Have this with steamed rice and squeeze a piece of lemon while eating to enhance the taste. Also, lai shak is hard to digest and thus, adding lemon juice is a kind of must wile eating.
Enjoy this authentic Sylheti style fish curry and do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.