At a time when health has been flung under the spotlight again, a visit to our trusted kitchens can help keep diseases and ailments at bay. Facilitating this trip are the recipe books of famed chefs from across the country, each of whom have torn a page from their handy guides to provide immunity-boosting recipes for us to try at home. Recipe by Dr and Chef Priyanka Biswas
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Fascinated by her grandfather’s culinary prowess in the kitchen and influenced heavily by her lineage, Dr Priyanka Biswas has embodied Bengali cuisine in its entirety. Over the years, Dr Biswas has forayed deep into the food industry—starting from making it to the top 10 of Masterchef India to now becoming the founder of Bula’s Kitchen–an initiative that promotes the flavours of Bangla cuisine. As a certified dentist, her meals come with the added advantage of being beneficial and nutritious with each bite. Fusing these two aspects, Dr Biswas crafts an immunity-boosting recipe for us — Tilapia Beguner Jhaal (fish and eggplant preparation), inspired by her mother’s kitchen.
Tilapia Beguner Jhaal
- 3-4 Tilapia
- 3 tablespoons mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (posto/khus khus)
- 2 tomatoes
- 5-6 green chillies
- 4 tablespoons mustard oil
- 5 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 2-3 small eggplants
- ½ ginger
- 1 teaspoon black cumin (kalonji/kala jeera)
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt to taste
- Hot water
- Thoroughly clean the fish. Next, apply salt and turmeric powder onto the fish and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Soak mustard seeds and poppy seeds in hot water for 30 minutes in two separate bowls.
- Take the eggplant and slit its mid-section. Slather turmeric powder and salt onto the sliced eggplants. Keep aside.
- Grind mustard seeds and two green chillis to form a fine paste. Add a few tablespoons of water to adjust consistency, if required.
- Next, add poppy seeds, ginger, and another green chilli to the paste. Grind to form a paste, adjusting consistency with water, if needed. Keep aside.
- Puree tomatoes and keep aside.
- Crackle black cumin in hot mustard oil and set aside.
- Heat mustard oil in a wok, and fry the fish on medium heat till it turns golden brown. Once fried, strain the oil from the fish and set the fish aside.
- Fry the eggplant in the same oil till it turns golden brown. Strain, and set aside.
- In the same wok, add mustard oil (if required) along with crackled black cumin and two green chillies.
- Add pureed tomatoes with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt. Sauté till the raw smell disappears.
- Next, add the poppy and mustard seeds paste and cook for five minutes.
- Add a glass of water and bring to a boil to semi-reduce the sauce.
- Add red chilli powder (optional) along with two slit green chillies.
- Mix in sugar and a cup of hot water. Let it boil for two minutes.
- Add the fried eggplants and fish, and boil for five minutes. Adjust seasoning and consistency.
- Finish with a tablespoon of mustard oil and a drizzle of lemon juice.
- Enjoy it with hot steamed rice topped with ghee.
Tilapia fish is rich in Vitamin B12, which helps the body maintain its nervous system, and produce red blood cells. It is also low in saturated fats, calories, carbohydrates, and sodium—making it a healthy addition to any meal. Also, it has a rich amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggplant, on the other hand, is a high-fibre, low-calorie fruit. Rich in nutrients, it comes packed with many health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart diseases, controlling blood sugar levels, and helping with weight loss.
Editor’s Note: Keeping the current situation of the pandemic in mind, T+L India recommends every reader to stay safe, and take all government-regulated precautions in case travel at this time is absolutely necessary. Please follow our stories on #IndiaFightsCorona for all the latest travel guidelines.