Thursday, July 01, 2021

Kalo Jeere-Til-Dhonepaata Maach - Nigella-Sesame-Coriander Salmon

Kalo Jeere-Til-Dhonepaata Maach - Nigella-Sesame-Coriander Salmon

KaloJeere-Til-Dhonepaata Maach | Nigella-Sesame-Coriander Salmon

Kalo Jeere (Nigella Seeds) is supposed to alleviate joint pains. Sesame seeds might lower lipid levels. Every spice has a nutritional benefit, other than adding taste and flavor. Taking off from the Bengali favorite Kalo Jeere diye Maacher Jhol, this is a little different salmon dish, cooked in a paste of coriander, nigella seeds and sesame seeds. It really tasted so delicious and is so easy to make that it has found a secure place in my weeknight salmon repertoire. You can play around with the spices and find your perfect fit.

For a long time, I could not figure out what to name this dish ? Was it DKT (Dhonepaata-Kalo Jeere-Til) Maach or KTD (Kalo Jeere-Til-Dhonepata ) Maach? Or was it just Nigella-Sesame-Coriander Salmon? Or was it just a delicious weekday fish?

I think I spent more time in the nomenclature than in cooking this simple dish which definitely tastes more Bengali than it sounds. It owes its origin in parts to my mother, who has been trying to add more of kalo jeere(nigella seeds) to her food once she learned that Kalonji seeds help in alleviating joint pains and aches. 

I had heard of this magical property of Kalonji long back when our babysitter M Nani, from Bangladesh, used to eat Kalo Jeere bhorta ( a paste of roasted nigella seeds, chilies and garlic cooked in little oil) as a side with her meal. However until my mother used the same strategy in fish, it never crossed my mind to do that. My mother also added sesame seeds (til) along with the nigella as she read somewhere that sesame seeds help in controlling cholesterol and has been gently coaxing the husband-man to have sesame seeds in his diet.

This is really a very simple, easy recipe. I haves skipped garlic but you can add it. Play around with the quantity of Nigella and Sesame seeds until you find the best balance. This is what worked for me this time, there was no overpowering taste of kalonji or til. Next time I might increase the amounts a little.

Kalo Jeere-Til-Dhonepaata Maach - Nigella-Sesame-Coriander Salmon

Salmon - 1.5 lb fish cut in 4 rectangular pieces

Coriander leaves - 3/4th Cup loosely packed
Green Chilies - 3-4
Ginger - 2" chopped
Yogurt - 1/3rd Cup

Nigella seeds - 1 Tbsp
Sesame seeds - 1 tsp

Mustard Oil - 2 tsp
Salt & Sugar - to taste

Rinse the salmon pieces, pat dry, toss with salt, 1/4th tsp turmeric powder, 1/4th tsp red chili powder.

Make a dry powder of the Nigella + Sesame seeds.

Make a wet paste of
Coriander leaves 
Green Chilies

Add the dry powder to the wet paste and make a thick paste. Add salt and 1 tsp of sugar to taste.

Warm some Mustard oil in a pan. 2 tsp is fine.

Temper the hot oil with 1/4th tsp of Kalonji/Nigella seeds and 2 Green chilies.

When the spices start popping gently slide in the fish pieces. If using skin-on then slide in skin-side up.

In 3 minutes, turn the fish pieces over.  If your salmon has skin-on then it will take 5-6 minutes to cook, turn over after that.
Add the thick paste (dry powder + wet paste) and cook at medium heat for about 7-8 minutes until the raw smell is gone. You will see oil separating out, from the yogurt based sauce. Check the fish for doneness.

Taste and adjust for any seasoning. Serve with Quinoa or Rice.

Note: If you like your salmon rarer, I would suggest you cook the salmon 3-5 minutes  on each side depending on skin-on or not, remove from heat and after that make the sauce.

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  1. Love this recipe. Great one to add to daily fish dishes. Will definitely try.

  2. Very nice .. but no salmon here.

  3. I will try this with pomphret. No salmon here.


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