Waking up on a dark, rainy, cold morning, my first thought was to cook a steaming, comforting stew that would warm both the body and soul. Yes, I’m that crazy about cooking !

As always no fancy schmancy ingredients, just the basic ingredients from my fridge and pantry. So looking at the available things I concluded it would be the simple and rustic Fish In Gram Lentils Stew, called Daal Mien Machi in the coastal areas of Sind. This beautiful recipe is not only easy and quick but oh so delicious ! I keep a lot of gravy in it to eat it just with a spoon on it’s own but for a more filling meal you can serve it with both plain rice or bread of your choice.

I used Singhara, a popular fish in Pakistan, also known elsewhere as cat fish. It has a firm flesh and moderate flavour so if you want to substitute it, you can choose from a fish with similar qualities such as Halibut, Grouper, Monkfish, Sea Bass or Snapper.

I added the head of the fish to my stew for more flavour which is completely optional.

For Daal Mien Machi, Fish In Gram Lentils :

1/2 kg Singhara or Catfish
1 cup Gram Lentils, Chaana Daal
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 curry leaves
1 teaspoon garam masala ( optional )
Juice of two lemons
Chopped green chillies and fresh coriander for garnishing
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil

This Is What You Do :

Boil gram lentils with a pinch of salt till tender but still firm to touch.

Meanwhile prepare the fish stew.

Rub the fish pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric.

Heat oil in a nonstick or heavy bottomed deep pan.

Fry the fish pieces 2-3 minutes or till golden on outside.

Add onion, ginger-garlic paste, red chillies, cumin and curry leaves.

Sauté for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cup water.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan, let simmer for 10 minutes.

When liquid is reduced and tomatoes and onions dissolve in the stew, add boiled gram lentils to the stew.

Cook covered another 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice and garam masala, garnish with chillies and coriander.

Serve hot with rice or bread.

Makes 4 servings

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