Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Macher Kalia or one more Fish Curry
I am a recent NPR convert and like all newbie converts I am right now totally hooked on, though only during my morning commute when my li’l one is not there in her car seat voicing her opinions which are far more important than those aired on NPR.
So I was pleasantly surprised this Monday morning, when I heard them saying how millions of Hindus celebrated Deepavali over the weekend. Next thing I hear is the correspondent saying that Ganges is a very sacred river and then a correspondent from Rishikesh, India is waxing eloquently about the river, describing his experience as he went on a rubber dingy on the river. It was very nice to hear them not talking about the Ganga being polluted etc. and instead stressing on it’s greatness.
I have a pretty close association with the river Ganga as most of the places we lived as a kid were on its banks.
And this mention sent a shiver of happiness down my spine, and I felt how I miss my country and how a simple mention of its river made me all proud. Would my daughter feel the same hearing about Hudson River, ok at least Niagara on AkashVani?
On another note, if we are talking of the river, can fish be far behind? Bengalis being pretty fishy folks (pun intended) have thought of hazaar permutation & combination of cooking fish. Today I thought of making Fish Kalia for dinner. This is a gravy based dish usually made with fish like Rui(Rohu) or Katla, it is not very rich but sufficiently spicy. This is appropriate for both lunch and dinner and is also popular as a dish that a Bengali family would serve their guests on special occasions.
I made this with Red Snapper this time and it was really very tasty. I have had Red Snapper at Thai Places and one of my friend’s place but this was my first try and it turned out great.
Ok, an apology is due here, as I do not cook by measure, & I kind of throw in ingredients according to andaaz, so feel free to innovate. I will try to be more specific with my measurments while I cook now.
What You Need
2 mid size Red Snapper ~ each cut into 4 steak like pieces (didn’t use the fish head). Total 8 fish pieces
Potatoes ~ 2 , each cut into 4 halves
Tomatoes ~ 1 medium
Onions ~ 1 medium/half of the big ones, grind to a paste
Ginger ~ freshly grated around 1tbsp
Garlic ~ 2 flakes grind along with onion
Green Chillies ~ 4/5
Jeera(Cumin) Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
Dhania(Corriander) Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
TejPata(Bay Leaves) ~ 2
Elaichi(Cardamom) ~ 4/5
Whole Jeera (Cumin seeds) ~ 1/2 tsp
Yogurt ~ around 2 tbsp
How I Do It
Wash the fish pieces in warm water, pat dry & and mix them with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt.
Chop tomatoes in small pieces
Grind onion and garlic to a paste
Chop the potatoes, each in 4 halves
Fry the fish in hot oil till it turns golden on both sides, kind of deep fry.
Heat oil in Kadai/Frying Pan.
Lightly fry the potatoes, remove and keep aside.
Temper with TejPata (Bay Leaves), Elaichi (Cardamom) and whole Jeera (Cumin seeds)
As soon as they start sputtering add the onion & garlic paste.
Add a little sugar while frying as it adds a brown color (due to caramelization)
When the onion has turned reddish brown add the chopped tomatoes. You can also puree the tomato and add.
Saute till they become a fine pulp and you see oil separating from the paste.
Mix the Jeera Powder, Dhania Powder and the grated ginger with yogurt(instead of water) to make a paste and add this masala.Cook this masala for about 2 minutes till you see the oil seeping out of the edges.
Add the fried potatoes.
Add a pinch of turmeric powder and water. You don’t want this gravy to be very watery so add water with caution.About 2 cups of warm water should be fine.
When the gravy comes to a boil and the potatoes are almost done(not fully boiled yet) add the fish pieces.
Cook for a few more minutes till the potatoes are cooked and you are done.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. The gravy is best enjoyed with white rice.
You can also try this dish with other fish available in American stores like Tilapia. Mandira of Ahaar has a recipe of the same dish with CatFish. Check it out here.
Trivia:The drink we know as Bloody Mary was originally called Red Snapper. Correct me if I am wrong !!!