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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The city where i reside in, Calcutta(WB)- The Bengali's, as they are called known as, love fish to be included in their daily meals even if in the form of only machh bhaja(fish fry)! No matter what else is served for meals, but fish included, remains an important part of the normal Bengali household and nothing specializes beyond fish dishes here. If you would be lucky to visit Calcutta and spend time with any of the Bengali families... your platter wouldn't be complete without an ilsish fry or fish curry or fish cooked in other diverse styles, with a sweet taste of rasgullas or doi(sweetened curds) at the end of the meal.

Here in cal, not only the Bengali's but also the non-Bengali's, and for that matter i even include myself... who is crazy for fish! We cant resist picking up some of the many varieties selling at the fish market. You will find tons of fish sellers lined up at the market shouting out the names and prices of the fishes, and to be in time for the market... one has to be up early and race to their destination or else the fishes are sold out in no time! The curried style of fish is known as maccher jhol and relished almost daily by the bongs as they humorously call themselves! That's what the spirit of west Bengal/Calcutta is all about :-)

At my home too, we love fish curried, steamed and fried... when am frying the fish, the air fills up with a tempting aroma and my taste buds tend to develop... i cant help, but my fingers find their way around the already fried pieces to be tasted and tested before the actual meal!.. hehe.. My husband is food lover, and at our home, we have plenty of experimental specialties making their way into his stomach resulting into an ever-contented man! Like they say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach, i say "the way to a woman's heart is through her mans happiness and content"... Think about it? :-)

A recipe for your platter

Machcher Jhol

Fish (of your choice)- 500 gm; (thick slices, diagonally)
Turmeric- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Grind Together
1 ½ cup: Onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp: Garlic, chopped
2 tsp: Ginger, chopped
2-3: Dried red pepper
½ tsp: Turmeric
1 tsp: Salt or to taste
½ cup: Mustard oil
1 tsp: Onion seeds
¼ tsp: Cinnamon, broken in small pieces
Coriander leaves for garnish
4 pcs: Cloves
4 pcs: Green cardamoms
1-2: Bay leaf
2-3: Green chillies, slit lengthwise
3 cup: Water

1. Wash the fish and apply the ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric over all the pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan, and fry fish slices in it, first on one side, then the other, over high heat, till a golden colour.
3. Lift the fish out of the oil, and keep aside.
4. In the same oil, add the onion seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf, stir fry 2-3 times, and add the ground paste.
5. Sauté till fat separates then add the green chillies and stir fry a few times. Add the water and bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered.
6. Add the fish just before serving, bring to a boil (by which time the fish should be cooked through, otherwise simmer till done).
7. Serve hot garnished with the coriander leaves.

More of west Bengal cuisines coming up in a few posts from now, the next being the delicious mouth watering rasogullas(sweet dish) :-)


  1. shydub said...
    ohhh how i miss eating fry fish that really looks like that with rice and soy sauce with tomatoes and unions to dip in. that is a yummy dish nisha. I wish i can grab it out from your post hehehe
    coolingstar9 said...
    Wow, look like you are a good cook.
    This post let readers know about the eating habits in your area.
    nisha, I like to inform you that I will be delayed few days to put up your lovly award in my blog post because I have a short review--moving home need to write.
    My buddy, true happiness always with you.
    nisha said...
    Hey shy dub.. thanks for the comment.. wish i could invite you over to relish the dish with me n family :-)
    nisha said...
    Thanks cooling star for all the love and wishes.. always the same to you my buddy.. :-)

    Well we have delicious eating habits out here esp while eating with our fingers.. hehe.. they say there nothing like it!!

    Yeah, i would love to let everyone know the foods we get here and not only here but all over india.. the traditional dishes are really cool out here :-)

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