Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fish n Fish for RCI Bengal


Yes, I have done it. I am late for my own event. I had never hosted an event since I started food blogging. I spend enough time chasing Moms at DMC to host a theme every month and the rest of the time chasing life, so I never thought I would have time to host a Food Blog Event, how much ever I love it.

I would often be awed by everyone who hosts these food blog events by their diligence and time management. I would wonder that if I ever host one, would I be running late in doing the round up or would I be lacking in leaving a comment for everyone who contributes for the event or would I be the last one to contribute for my own event. Well, I needn’t have wondered, I am kind of doing all of them it seems.

Today is the last day and I had to simply had to post my dish by today. I have not been doing my best in the health department as I had said earlier and as a result have been cooking real simple meals. On top of that little S was down with stomach flu over the weekend and throwing up like a fountain, which reduced simple meals to mashed potato and rice. Today, I roped in the hubby and he chopped the veggies while I made two real simple fish dishes.

So fish it is from me who craves fish and fish it is from the hubby who sadly doesn’t crave any

Fishy we are but not as much as the Bong guy who said “Pleesh come to my house, I make very good piish, you shiit and I make piish for you”


I have two fish dishes for RCI-Bengal both of which I love immensely. Somehow I end up cooking stuff that I love most of the time. Call me selfish

One is CatFish Charchari, it is a dry dish with fish, potatoes and brinjal. The original fish of choice for Macher Charchari is Tangra or Mourala but I make do with the cat fish fillet when I don’t get these. This recipe I am going to post tomorrow.


The other one is a Alu-Kopi diye Macher Jhol. This again is a simple light curry best suited for everyday meal and I mean really every day.


My Ma makes awesome fish curry with potatoes and cauliflowers. It is a light curry, a patla jhol as we say in Bengali, to be had with rice and is served for homely meals as opposed to meals served in a wedding or on special occasions. Given a choice I prefer light fish curries to the rich ones and would happily have them at weddings but sadly that is not done. These curries taste good when the fish is fresh and sweet. i.e. fresh water fish is a better choice for these kind of gravies.

So when I got this fish called croaker at the American grocery and it looked very fresh I thought to satiate my craving for alu-kopi’r patla jhol with it. My good friend N, suggested a little different way of tempering and I followed that this time. It was a very satisfying jhol and with steaming hot rice took me a step closer to heaven.


Alu Kopi diye Macher Jhol/Fish in a light Gravy with Vegetables

What You Need

The fish curry was sufficient for only 2 persons, maybe 3 at the most

Croaker Fish ~ You can use any other variety of fresh water fish. Get the fish cut in steak pieces. The fish I had was a medium sized one and made 5-6 small pieces

The Veggies

Cauliflower ~ 7 – 8 medium sized cauliflower florets, size as in the gravy pic
Potato ~ 2 medium sized chopped in quarters
Green Chillies ~ 4 slit through the middle
Tomatoes ~ 2 small sized canned & peeled tomatoes or a medium sized fresh one finely chopped

For tempering

Hing/Asafoetida ~ a pinch
Jeera/Whole Cumin seeds ~ 1 tsp loosely packed

For masala

Dhania Powder/Corriander Powder ~ 1 tsp
Ginger paste ~ ½ tsp

Turmeric ~ ½ tsp

How I Did It

Wash the fish pieces in warm water, pat dry & and mix them with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt.

Heat Oil till it is smoking. Fry the fish in oil, till it is a nice golden brown color on both sides. The only draw back of this is most of the oil goes to waste as you discard most of the oil after frying.

Heat Oil again in a Kadhai

Separately fry the potatoes and cauliflower florets with a sprinkling of turmeric till they take on a light golden hue. Keep them aside. They should be just lightly fried

Temper Oil with Asafoetida and Whole Cumin Seeds

Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till they are mushy

Add the ginger paste, the Corriander powder and Green Chillies and fry the masala with a sprinkle of water

Add the potatoes and the cauliflower

Add salt and sauté till the masala coats the veggies

Add about 2 and ½ cups of water and cover and cook till veggies are done. Take care that the cauliflower florets are not over cooked

Add the fried fish pieces and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. The gravy will be light and have a soupy texture

Serve with steaming hot rice and a lemon wedge on the side

I am posting Pacific time if you insist. But for late comers like me, I give you one more day to post your recipes for RCI-Bengal


  1. Hi,
    ur entry is great....
    hmmm...nice variety of fish ...

  2. HA HA HA to the intro! Not sure how I'd feel about cauliflower in a fish gravy but I'll take your word for it! Hope little S is feeling better and you too.

  3. Ok, I know you are always very fishy..but that fishy lines from bong is too much to read on an empty stomach!...

    anyway you needn't should do as how I do...for my mec event, I post it in the round saves you all the worry and headache!..

    I actually wanted to come up with a fish..but hubby is not eating fish these can't force him to that extent right..:)..

    take your time posting the round up..its going to be one yummy recap!...:)))

    hope your lil one is getting better..

  4. Sandeepa i am sure going to try the onionless version and that fishy line you wrote is toooo hilarious :)

  5. Smells fishy! :-)

    Hope everyone gets well soon.

  6. Sandeepa, we make this fish curry too..didn't I say we were so much fact I am making this today ...the fish is defrosting at this very moment :-)your plate of food is what we're having for dinner tonight :-)

    ...wishing you and little S a speedy recovery :-)

  7. I can just fill my stomach by just looking at those fish dishes. Can imagine what will happen when I actually eat them.

  8. Hi Sandeepa

    As always your post is enjoyable.Loved the look of cat fish chachchari. Alu kopi diye maachher jhol is a reminder of the winter lunches in Kolkata when you feel like going a little soft on stomach and care more for a siesta under the warm quilt(lep).

    Pray little S gets better fast.


  9. hey...i dint know that u re not keeping well...hope u and lil S get back to shape soon....i havent cooked fish with veggies yet but am sure it would be good....should try all i find is frozen tilapia and salmons...

  10. this is such a lovely entry for ur own event. better late than never.

    Hope all gets well soon..

  11. Oh two of our favourite all time maachh dishes . That croaker looks a lot like chhoto katla .
    I hope lil S is better - give her lots of fluids aar tumi o take care :)

  12. Pria

    Yeah, yeah take my word, if you were here I would make you eat it too

    You are amazing. You host so many events and do such frequent posts, I am just awed

    This one tatses good when the fish is really fresh though

    ha , ha...sure:)

    oh really...I thought only Bongs like such patla jhol :)

    Actually I don't know. For all I know you may not like them ;-)

    You are right, fulkopi was a winter veggie, wasn't it ?

    Awwwww, where is this god forsaken place. Let me know and I am never going to move there :) I will die of fish craving

    Yeah right ;-)

    Eves Lungs
    No not like that taste wise. But khub fresh chilo bole khete bhalo lagchilo. Ar jekhane oto choice nei, sekhane ja paoa jai tai shoi.

  13. I love this fish dish with veg. Big fan of fish but never combined veg other than brinjal and mango! Hope the Lil S is back in shape.

  14. if i shit will you make piish for me? crazy girl.

  15. Love the idea of combining fish with veggies..Awaiting ur lovely roundup..

  16. Hey, i hope lil' S and you are feeling better now. You and your puns, dear :). Thank you, thank you, for the lil' dose of phunny phish :-D. You are one strong-willed and enthu person to have put together not one but two delightful dishes for RCI. Kudos to you, girl!

    Plz. don't ask me where is my entry ;).

    Btw, belated happy new year to you too :).

  17. Sandeepa, for the gujarati dal, if you do not want to use kokum, lemon juice is an excellent option, you can also add finely diced tomatoes for sour taste. let me know how it turns out whenever you make it.

  18. It's been a long time, Sandeepa. It's very good to see you posting again when you can. I'm sorry you and Little S have been unwell. Hosting an event is probably not the best way to get your strength back. ; )

    I eat vegetarian Indian so often that I forget how delicious the fish recipes can be. Your photos make my mouth water.

  19. I love the light everyday curry version.

  20. Hi Sandeepa,

    I stay in India and I am a Bong who likes to cook provided its not very elaborate. I really like reading your blog, the recipes and even the pictures. Very well written, have you read a book called Calcutta Cookbook, please read it. Its very nice, has some recipes also.Keep on writing I enjoy it. Raka

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  22. i luv cauliflower...n putting into a fish curry means..i'll get a tasty fish curry..luv ur patla not too much fond of masaledar fish curry...

  23. Oh seriously remind me of my Mom, everytime I read your blog..a proud Bengali that I am, your recipes, authentic or otherwise are just worth dying for..I've tried the Fish Fry recipe, and a dozen more at home, inspired by your beautiful style of cooking.. :) All I can say - Pls pls keep it! Of course I might have to come taste your cooking too someday ;)

  24. Hi Sandeepa, I tasted fish curry with cauliflower and potatoes at an upscale restaurant in Connecticut that had a bengali chef. They called this dish 'My Mom's famous bengali fish curry' and charged $$$$ for it. I was so madly in love with the curry that I would order it every time I went there and also recommended this dish to everyone starting from my colleagues, physician, neighbors, train friends and anyone who asked me to recommend an Indian restaurant. Finally got your recipe and tried it yesterday and the curry turned out amazing. So one more reason to eat at home. Thanks ton Sandeepa for this wonderful recipe.


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