Marinate the fish.
Put the pieces of fish into a bowl and add the turmeric, chilly powder, salt and a teaspoon of mustard oil to help the spices adhere to the fish/ Gently massage the spices into the fish.
Cover and keep aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Now, whisk the curd well in a bowl and add the turmeric and red chilly powder. Keep aside.
To fry the fish, heat a medium sized frying pan till hot and add the 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Heat well till the oil is smoking to burn off most of its pungency.
Once hot, add the marinated fish pieces and fry them for a couple of minutes on each side till they are a golden brown around the edges and richly colored.
Once the fish is golden and 3/4 cooked through, remove them to a plate and keep aside.
Heat the same pan with the lovely fishy mustard oil once again and when the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds and whole spices, saute on a medium flame until they are wonderfully fragrant and change color.
Now add the onion paste and saute it till it's a light golden brown in color, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook the aromatic spice base with a little water until it's a rich but light golden in color and the oil has surface to the top.
Turn down the heat to medium low and add the whisked curd and spice mixture to the pan, stir gently and simmer the curd gravy for 10 to 15 minutes or until the oil surfaces and the gravy is a lovely rich mustard-golden-yellow in color.
Add some salt and stir through to combine well. Now, simply add the pieces of fried fish, along with all their resting juices in the plate to the gravy and simmer it for another 10 minutes to gently poach the fish to perfection.
Once the oil has risen to the top and the fish if cooked perfectly, turn of the heat and check for a balance of flavor.
Squeeze over some lime juice to lift the flavors with a real citrus kick for a lovely contrast of flavors and serve the doi maach with hot steamed rice.
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Key Ingredients: fish, salt, cloves, turmeric, green cardamom, cinnamon, mustard oil, bay leaf, onion, red chilli, cardamom, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, yogurt