Steamy Sunday

Some days are set aside for inspection and invention. First the fruits on the table. They had all shriveled up. What a waste of plums and jamun. If I had some liver or bheja I would have added these nearly dry fruits to them. But all I had was big steaks of rawas. We’d harvested some intensely flavourful ajwain leaves a few days ago. We have the Plectranthus amboinicus plant in the balcony. It grows very fast, and every now and then has to be pruned back. I’d put some of the leaves in a salad, converted a large part into an ajwain-and-olive chutney/tapenade, and left the remainder for flavouring other food with.

Coat the rawas steaks with a garlic and ginger paste. Let it stand for a while. Then sprinkle it with Himalayan salt and crushed pepper. Slather the steaming trays with sesame oil. Lay out the steaks on the trays. I wanted only one layer of fish on each tray, so I had to use two of the stackable trays. On a last minute whim I crushed some walnuts over them to give a crunchy added texture. Finally I covered them with ajwain leaves, closed the steamer, and steamed them for seven minutes. It turned out that we ate the fish a day later. The day in the fridge had intensified the flavour. The Family decided to warm it on a tawa. The slight roast gave the surface a crisper texture, and made an interesting contrast between the crisp surface layer and the juicy inner flesh.

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