Though I am a biological bong (I'll explain this term later), I was never a fish-lover (yes, I know, I am a Bong and I am supposed to LOVE fish, but as a child I never ever liked fish and always tried to avoid eating it as much as I could). As a typical baangaali ma, my mother would enlighten me with the benefits of eating fish - it will improve your eyesight (maybe that's why now I have a reading glass), it will give you nice shiny hair (maybe thats why I now suffer from hair loss) and make you intelligent (I never wanted to have a fishy brain, if thats what it would mean, and I still make myself happy by living in the bubble that I am a little intelligent) - so these are the pitfalls of not loving and eating fish and hence my taking the trouble of sharing this recipe with you ;-)
Jokes apart, being away from my mother's cooking and staying out of Kolkata forever, I have somehow now begun loving fish. Especially as my daughter shows a huge liking for the same and her taste buds are never satiated unless she gets a fishy-dish at regular intervals.
Here's the recipe for the traditional Bengali Fish Curry With Mustard, a favourite of mine, even in those years when I did not like fish at all, I still did have a bite of this one. Hope you guys will enjoy too.
Bengali Fish Curry With Mustard And Potato: (yes, we love aaloo in all our dishes mostly)
rui maachh (rohu fish) I am suggesting this particular fish as I love it a lot. You can also substitute this with kaatla maachh (which is very similar to rohu but more juicier) or any other fish of your choice.
2 cups chopped onions
potato slices already fried golden brown in mustard oil
1 tbsp red chilli powder (optional, used mainly to give colour)
4 red whole chillies
4-5 green chillies slit (more or less depending on your spice preference)
1 tsp mustard paste
1 tsp turmeric paste
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 bay leaf (tej paataa)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kalonji
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
1. Properly clean the fish pieces, making sure you have removed all the scales. Remove any excess water.
2. Marinate the fish pieces with lemon juice, salt and turmeric powder and leave for half an hour to an hour.
3. In a heated pan (kadai), pour mustard oil and let it heat properly. When you hear the crackle and can feel the oil heat up, put in the fish pieces slowly, and fry till both sides are golden-brown.
4. Once the fish is fried, remove from oil and keep on a napkin to remove excess oil.
5. In the hot mustard oil, put the mustard seeds, kalonji, whole dry red chillies, a few green chilli slits, red chilli powder (optional), bay leaf. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
6. Once the mustard seeds start to crackle, mix in the ginger paste and the garlic paste and stir for a few minutes.
7. Now mix in the chopped onions and fry till golden brown.
8. Put the mustard paste, coriander powder, turmeric powder. Put in the already-fried potatoes. Stir fry till oil begins to separate from the spices.
9. Pour water depending on how much curry you want. Add salt as needed. Bring to boil.
10.Now add the fried fish pieces. Keep cooking on a low flame till the oil starts to separate from the gravy.
11.Take off gas.
12.Garnish with slit green chillies and coriander leaves.
Goes best with hot steamed white rice.
- Debolina Raaj Gupta