Hilsa (Ilish in Bengali), the most quintessential Bengali fish is still counted to be the poster boy of Bengali cuisine and culture withstanding the onslaught of modernity. Undoubtedly one of the most exotic fishes ever to be come out from the water of Bengal (East Bengal to be precise), make stuff for legends. A few years back, I have shared with you recipe of Bhapa Ilish or Smoked Hilsa which is one of the richest treatments that can be meted with ‘Ilish’. In comparison, the present recipe describes a light gravy with flavours of Brinjal and pinch of Kalonji. The best part of this recipe is that, Ilish flourishes in taste in the light gravy as the latter acts as the perfect foil for the former. It further proves that Hilsa imposes its uniqueness both in the rich must mustrad gravy as much as it does in light soup like ‘jhol’.
Once in a while you stumble across a hidden treasure, somehow forgotten and buried somewhere. Finding this recipe of Salmon fish, prepared long back, gave me the pleasure as such. Salmon was one of my favourites during my expat days and sharing the recipe is like going down memory lane. Here in Delhi and elsewhere in India, Salmon is not scarcely found these days and I assume that over the days Salmon swam across the oceans to reach East. So, on one hand if sharing this recipe gives me immense pleasure while reminiscing good old days, on the other, it also raises the excitement of introducing a glorious continental preparation.
With hardly any bone and more than a taste of sea fish, ‘Bhetki’ is quite a popular and counted among the elites of fishes to Bengalis. “Paturi” (smoked fish cooked with mustard paste in banana leaf) is the best and a top class preparation out of Bhetki. Even the base for fish cutlets and fries is unimaginable without it. However today, I describe a preparation which is very simple and common in Bengali house holds and quite similar to the fish curry prepared with Rahu and vegetables. The added attraction is the cauliflower and green peas in it and of course the charm of Bhetki itself.
After a long I am back with an unique preparation of Rahu fish (Rui mach). Rohu is almost in our daily intake of food list and earlier I shared 3 of it’s preparations also. This time I am presenting a bit different dish which I’ve prepared with poppy seed paste (posto). I am actually a die heart fan of poppy seeds which is called “posto” in Bengali and love anything made out of it. In general Bengali fish curries contains a combination of mustard paste and poppy seed paste. However this curry solely made with poppy seed paste. Hope you will enjoy it :).
Earlier I have already shared with you one of the Tangra fish recipes (Tangra Macher Jhal/Tangra fish in Rich Gravy) which might have introduced you to Tangra, a tasty sweet water fish, adored by many Bengalis. Here I present another Tangra fish recipe which, in contrast to the earlier one, is much lighter in taste, less spicy and makes a traditional healthy “macher jhol” or fish curry with gravy. With some vegetables into it, tangra macher jhol is an ideal example of common daily fish recipe, quick and easy to adopt.
Tilapia does not really fall in to the elite class of fishes. Somehow living in the fringe for long, it starts getting its share of appreciation off late. What is interesting about Tilapia is its universal presence and found almost everywhere on the globe. A little search on the youtube also shows that Grilled Tilpia is one of its most popular preparation. However here I share a more traditional Tilapia fish curry which can be cooked happily once in a while. Not too spicy, the gravy consists of slice of onions and a few green chilly which is quite tasty. And Tilapia has its nice taste too.
Fish Kalia is a Bengali delicacy often made in occasions like marriage ceremony, rice-eating ceremony etc. Being rich and spicy, it often features in Sunday lunch menu for full relish. It is prepared of Rohu or Katla fish and made into a rich spicy gravy. Vastly different from the usual “macher jhol’, fish Kalia carries certain aristocracy with it and is an absolute delight for voracious fish loving non-vegetarians.
‘Batichachchori’ is a preparation in which mainly potato and onion cooked together in ‘dam’ with generous amount of mustard oil and green chilli. The dish itself goes very well with steamed rice. However, we fish lovers often use various fishes and prawns as well in this distinct method of preparation to satisfy our taste buds. Earlier I already shared with you the same recipe with prawns, Chingrir Batichachchori (‘Dam’ cooked Prawn with Potato & Onion). Today Rohu fish replaces prawns and makes a lovely combination for my lunch.
Long back, I have shared with you recipe of Mullet fish (Parshe mach) gravy, Parshe Macher kalo jeere-kancha lonkar jhol, which is still much adored. Today, I describe a slightly different recipe of Mullet fish with mustard sauce, which is a bit spicy preparation, although found abundantly in Bengali kitchen now and then. Perhaps, it is worth to mention here that, in past I shared a couple of fish preparations, of Hilsa (Bhapa Ilish or Smoked Hilsha) and Pabda or Pabo Catfish (Pabda Macher Jhal/Pabo Catfish in Mustard Curry), in mustard sauce. Indeed mustard sauce provides the Midas touch to turn the regular “macher jhol’ richer and tastier, however can be used for some selective fishes. Along with Hilsa, Pabda, Rohu and Prawns, Parshe or mullet fish is selective one. I hope all the fish loving patrons will like this preparation.
Climbing Perch (Koi in Bengali) is a common fish in Bengali households. It is a kind of fish that survives out of water for quite a long time, if kept moist. It has a great taste and adored by all. However, removing its scales and cleaning it is not the easiest of jobs. Climbing perch or Koi can be prepared as regular fish curry or “macher jhol” with the pieces of potato and cauliflower. However, a special treatment is often given to it, for any good occasion, when we prepare ‘Tel Koi’. As the name suggests, here Koi is mainly cooked in mustard oil and hardly any water is used to make the gravy. Pretty spicy and hot, this dry dish is a real treat for fish lovers.
Perhaps the most quintessential Bengali dish ever known is ‘mach bhat’ or rice with fish curry. However mach bhat takes altogether a whole new dimension with the recipe, which I share today, known coloqually as ‘muri ghonto’, or the fish pulao. Well to be perfect, it is not exactly the fish pulao, rather the ‘fish head pulao’, where the head of either Rohu or Katla fish is cooked with rice. Does not it sound exotic? The fish lovers know it very well that the fish heads are really juicy stuff. When it gets cooked with the rice, there is no doubt that muri ghonto tastes just out of the world. Interestingly, as my knowledge goes, this dish, being considerably spicy, should be enjoyed with plain white rice, along with the rice it is made of. Enjoy !!!!
As the heat wave is showing its teeth and claws, I am trying to keep, whatever I cook, light and simple. This applies to my fish preparations too. Here I share with you the Rohu fish curry, a daily feature in Bengali household, made with a lot of vegetables. I always like the idea of putting vegetables in fish curries, as the former infuses nice flavour to the light gravy. Moreover, this practice is particularly healthy and stimulates your tongue buds during scorching summer when you are drained out and hardly having a serious appetite. You can try this recipe out and send me feedback.
A few weeks back, I have shared with you the recipe of Mullet fish gravy aka Parshe macher jhol. Today, it is the turn for Tangra fish which is almost similar to Parshe or Mullet fish in size, sometimes even larger. However, it has its distinctive taste and can be prepared in different ways. The recipe, which I describe here is perhaps the most common one and familiar to my Bengali friends. Here the Tangra fish is prepared in rich gravy, contains the flavour of onion and green chillies and also fresh coriander leaves which garnishes from atop.
Parshe macher jhlol or Mullet fish gravy with green chilli and nigella seeds has found its place in Bengali kitchen perhaps from time immemorial. Small in size, fitted well within the palm, Parshe has an immaculate taste which is simply unmatched. I am pretty fond of Parshe fish and invariably all of its preparations, among which the simplest one is the present recipe which can be cooked any day almost in no time . Among the spices you just need the turmeric powder and nigella seeds while the fish itself lifts the tempo to great height. So all my fish loving patrons, go for Parshe this time .
‘Pabda’ is quite a well known fish in Bengal and one of my favourites too. Back home, it can be prepared in different ways, however I like it most when cooked in mustard gravy and tastes a bit on the upper edge of my spice tolerance. In fact, fish curry with mustard paste is a quintessential Bengali way of preparing fishes like Hilsha, Pomfret, Parshe and many more. The recipes are quite similar and do not require much spices apart from mustard seeds paste. Since I got hold of some large sizes Pabdas recently, could not resist to make this preparation and share with you, my fellow fish lovers.
Ilish or Hilsa is the king of fishes for Bengali. This fish is generally found in sweet river water and possess a distinctive silver like shining body. What sets it apart from all the other fishes is its supreme unbeatable taste which however comes at the cost of innumerable thin bones in the flesh. But as they say, the more bones a fish has, the more tastier it becomes. When the soft Hilsa flesh melts in your mouth, it gives you a feeling nothing other than which should be called absolute ‘divine’.
In my previous post, Salmon macher paturi / Salmon smoked in Banana leaf, I briefly mentioned about Hilsa. We can prepare hilsa in different ways, among which the the most popular and super delicious is “Bhapa Ilish” or smoked Hilsa. The recipe is quite simple yet lip smacking. And it requires less oil too.
Hilsa is not at all a common fish here in Europe. It is exported from sub-continent and found frozen in Asian stores, if one is very lucky. 🙂 This time our luck favoured and we got it. The image and the text below is telling you the rest of the story. Enjoy 🙂
Ingredients for 4 pieces :
- Hilsha fish – 4 pieces
- Green chilli – 4
- Mustard seed (black/white) – 1½ – 2 tbspoon
- Poppy seeds – ¾ – 1 tbspoon (optional)
- Grated coconut – 2 – 3 tbspoon heaped
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Mustard oil – 1-2 tbspoon
Wash the hilsha pieces well and smear with salt and turmeric powder, keep aside.
Now grind mustard and poppy seeds along with 2 green chillies to make a smooth paste. Add little salt while making the paste to get rid of bitterness of mustard. When it is almost done add grated coconut and again grind to blend the coconut with the mustard paste.
Now take a steel bowl with lid (preferably tiffin box) and place the fish pieces into it.
In another small bowl take the paste, mustard oil, pinch of turmeric powder, salt to taste (remember you have earlier added little salt to the paste and fish too) and little water and mix them well.
Now pour this mixture onto the fish and coat them well with it. Slit remaining 2 green chillies and put into the fish mixture, cover the bowl with its lid.
Now boil water in a large pan or kadhai over medium flam and then place the covered bowl/tiffin box into it. Place a heavy thing at the top so that the bowl/box can’t be displaced while water is boiling.
Let the fish cook over medium flame for 20 minutes, then put the gas off.
Serve with steamed rice.
- Best if you make the mustard paste in flat stone grinder i.e. “Shil nora”. Because it is not very easy to make a paste in blender from such a small quantity of mustard seeds.
- Hilsha is a very soft fish, often break while using, so handle with care.
Baked fish with mustard paste or “Fish Paturi” is quite phenomenal if you are a fan of spicy fish dishes. The whole idea of wrapping the raw fish in Banana leaf to be baked in light heat with letting the flavour of mustard and chilly infused into the flesh is unique indeed. Hilsha or Ilish is the most suitable for this delicacy, however if you do not find it easily, Bhetki or in my case Salmon proves to be tempting too. The best part of this recipe is that it is quite fast to make if your ingredients are ready which are not many in numbers. Try out this to surprise others and earn applause.
Ingredients to serve 2 :
- Salmon fish – 200 – 250 gm.
- Banana leaf – 2
- Black mustard seed – 1½ to 2 tbspoon
- Freshly grated coconut – 4 to 5 tbspoon
- Green chilli – 4
- Mustard oil – 2 tbspoon + extra for greasing
- Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
Remove scales of the fish and wash it well. Cut the fish into 2 medium size pieces and coat with salt and turmeric powder. Keep it aside for 20 – 30 minutes.
In the meanwhile make a smooth paste with mustard seeds, coconut, 2 green chillies and a bit of salt.
Add 2 tbspoon mustard oil and salt (as required for gravy) to the paste. Also cut the remaining two green chillies lengthwise and add to the mustard paste.
Now coat the pieces of Salmon with this mustard paste.
Wash the banana leaves and wipe off the water using a cloth. Then roast the leaves on medium flame just for few seconds. When you are putting each leaf on flame you can notice that the colour of the leaf is changing, as it is turning more glossy.
Now brush little bit of mustard oil over banana leaves and place single piece of fish, along with generous amount of mustard paste, at the center of each leaf.
Now fold the banana leaf, containing the fish, like a small parcel and tie it with a thread or seal the parcel with a tooth pick. Again apply some oil over the banana leaf parcel.
Now heat a frying pan over low to medium flame and put the parcels in the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip them over and again cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame putting the lid on.
Now you are ready to serve the delicious Salmon Paturi. 🙂
- You can use white mustard seeds instead of black one. I love the tangy flavour of the black mustard seeds, so I used that.
- You can also add 2 or 3 tbspoon of poppy seed paste along with the mustard paste.
- Here mustard paste solely makes the gravy for the dish, so try to use generous amount of it.
Bengalis are very fond of fishes which feature mandetorily in their daily diet. Mainly those fishes are sweet water ones and are quite different from the sea-fishes.
In Europe, among various kinds, Salmon ranks high due to its unparallel taste with thick flesh and smoothy fat. We mostly go for Salmon whenever hit by fish fever and give it a Bengali treatment.
Doi-mach or fish in yogurt gravy is quite a popular and rich dish in Bengali cuisine. So here I present the recipe of Salmon with yogurt gravy which you will love for sure. In contrast to its usual baked recipes, here Salmon goes for a complete make over.
Ingredients to serve 4 :
- Salmon fish – 400 gm.
- Onion (medium) – 1
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Plain yogurt – 6 tbspoon
- Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Pinch of turmeric powder
- Whole garam masala
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cooking oil
Remove the scales of salmon keeping the skin intact. Wash it thoroughly and then cut into medium size square pieces.
Make a paste of garlic and marinate the pieces of salmon with that garlic paste, yogurt and salt. Keep it for at least 1 hour.
Finely chop the onion. Make a paste from ginger.
Heat 1 tbspoon of oil in a frying pan over medium flame. Add whole garam masala and bay leaf, saute them till the nice aroma of dry species comes out. Add chopped onion into it and fry till light brown. Then add the marinated fish, sugar as per your test, salt if needed and a little bit of water (optional). Mix very well and cover with a lid. Turn the flame on low-medium and cook till the fish completely cooked and the gravy thickens. Serve with rice.
- There is no need to fry the fish before marination.
- Don’t use much oil as Salmon itself releases lot of oil.
- Don’t add much water in the gravy otherwise yogurt will curdle.