Ok, maybe not the world, but India for sure. While visiting the Taj Mahal, we learned about one of the local arts which is quite prevalent at the Taj Mahal- the art of inlaid marble. The marble is etched, and then semi-precious stones are cut and inlaid into the marble. The whole thing is then polished for a smooth surface. While most well known for table tops, I found a plate that I just couldn’t live without, so I brought a little piece of India home with me.
It takes years for these artisans to learn how to do this. The more intricate the design, the more valuable it is. The piece that I chose is inlaid with lapis lazuli, jade, mother of pearl, and other stones.
When the light hits it from behind, it glows. It’s not as bright as those fiery reds in the inner mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, but it still has that transparent quality. The flowers in the plate are quite intricate and should give you a feel for the flowers inside the Taj Mahal (where you aren’t allowed to take photos). Mum Taj’s are more red and green, however.
A plate this beautiful deserves an equally impressive dish to top it. Here’s my recommendation… marble plate optional.
Indian Broiled Fish
This recipe is inspired by another wonderful dish we had at Bukhara. The fish they served was thick, tender, and well spiced and melted in your mouth. This is pretty similar, although the yogurt marinade provides a thicker sauce that that at the restaurant. They served theirs a bit drier since you eat with your hands. It’s quite tasty and very easy.
- 2 lb fish (snapper, tilapia), cut into ~2 inch squares
- 3 Tbsp ginger/garlic paste (*)
- 1/3 c yogurt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
Make the marinade by combining, ginger/garlic paste, yogurt, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, salt, paprika and tomato paste in a bowl. Lightly coat with fish with the yogurt marinade. Broil the fish for about 5 minutes until browned, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until done.
(*) In a food processor, combine equal parts ginger root and garlic until finely minced. About 1.5 Tbsp of each.