Friday, September 24, 2010

Kochur Loti diye Ilish Maach -- lost in translation

If someone told me last week that I would hardly find time to do things that are important to me, like cook or blog or browse blogs or do nothing this week, I would say "Pfbttttt".

And this week, I cannot tell you how much I am missing doing nothing.

If someone told me last year that I wouldn't miss Durga Pujo at all this year, I would roll my eyes and look away

But this year I really am not missing it. No nostalgia about sharat, sheuli, kashful whatsoever.

Nope, none, nada, zilch.

I am secretly happy that I don't have to push aside sweaty bodies smelling of jasmine and Aminia's biryani in Gariahat and prostrate at my tailors to get my salwar stitched in time. I don't have to decide which pandals to visit on Panchami when the crowd is at its mildest best and sit home on Ashtami watching "Sharodo Parikroma" on Television. And yes the food, the long wait for that single egg roll because it is Pujo, ahhh I have overcome that.

If someone told me last year that I would have "Kochur Loti diye Ilish er Matha" in my blog, I would say "In your dreams, dude".Ok, maybe not the "dude" part.

Yeah, really. Kochur loti ? Who am I kidding ?

I am sure my Ma cooked such stuff but honestly I have no memory of Kochur Loti from my childhood, teenhood, pre-adult hood, neighborhood...

But LS's baby sitter who is from Bangladesh and has this fond fascination for such things got a pack of Kochur Loti from where else but New York. I already had the Hilsa fish's head or Ilish maach er Matha languishing in the freezer, waiting to be thrown out, for my family detests such smelly things. So when LS's baby sitter said she wanted to make Kochur Loti with fish head, what did I have to loose ?

M Didi made this with onion, garlic, ginger and lots of chili. It was hot and happening.

I don't remember my Ma cooking it that way though. She belongs to a different genre. I am sure she made it with coconut and kala chana. I am not even sure if she added fish head.

Google tells me Kochur Loti is nothing but colocasia stem/shoots and it requires special technique of cooking to remove crystals of calcium oxalate. Kochu or Colocasia too has these crystals and cause itching if they are not removed by thorough cooking. These stems or shoots are very popular in Bangladesh and is now also popular in West Bengal. It is available in the US in South Asian grocery stores in the freezer aisle and a frozen packet costs around $2.

To cook Kochur loti with Ilish Macher Matha follow this recipe, looks pretty authentic. For vegetarian version just don't add fish head.

Edited To Add: The blog Akansha's Recipe, that I had linked earlier has stolen many blog posts and photos. I was not aware until Jaya of Spice and Curry told me she herself was a victim. This Plagiarism is killing us.

I do not have an exact recipe because I did not cook it. Here is how LS's sitter made it.

Wash and clean the fish head pieces and smear with salt and turmeric

Heat Mustard oil

Add ginger, garlic and onion. Fry well

Add the fish head pieces. Fry till they are lightly browned

Add the Kochur loti, Red Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder and salt to taste.

Keep stirring frequently at medium heat. Continue stirring till all the water released has dried up.

Add little more water and cover and cook till fish head is soft. Dry up excess water.
And since Durga Pujo is less than 3 weeks away and we know that you need to eat good food for that IS celebration, here are some things you can cook if you are stuck at home watching Pujo Porikroma on the telly. If you have a steel heart and iron arms , I am sure you will be out there during Pujo waiting behind umpteen people at the Phuchka wala outside the Mandap. Or do people go to Mainland China these days ?


Luchi Alur Dom ar Cholar Dal
Luchi ar Alu Charchari 
Doi Fulkopi




Bijoya Dashami


  1. Dear Sandeepa,

    I luv reading your posts ..... u pour your heart out :) I don't find hilsa matha here :)

    Keep Rocking Gurl

    Cheers n Happy Cooking,

  2. thanks for so mny links of delicious recipes,..gonna try from ur blog for sure,..:-)

  3. urrribbbaash! darun pujor menu!
    ami kochur 'loitya'r( that's the way they pronounced it) recipe tv te first time dekhlam recently. ilish fele dite keno ... nijer jonne ektu ambol baniye chetepute khete. :)

  4. জিভে জল ধরিয়ে দেবার মত খাবার। আপনার এখানে এত মজার মজার খাবারের রেসিপি। মন ভাল হয়ে যায়।

  5. kochur loti ahha...dakho USA ete bose tumi pao ar ami Bangalore e paina. Amar maa eta darun banay tabe amar oi narkel chola die beshi bhalo lage. pujor menuta ki korecho Sandeepa? jibh die ato jol porche je ebar bodhay otei dube more jabo :-)

  6. Your navaratri menu is so elaborate! Yum! I have to try the coconut barfi.

  7. Ki shob ranna bolchho sandeepa....ami ekhane praye lobhe shesh hoe jachhi...ekhane ilish machh ana bondho korechhi kono taste nei bole...othochho monta oi ilish machhei atka pore achhe....aar kochur loti diye ilish machher matha shune to aaj ami ghumotei parbo na.....

  8. Sobar moto amaro ekii obostha.Khub lobh lagche..Kichudin aage Rui-Maachher matha chilo freezer-e pore.Kanta Choccori korechilam..Tomar pujo'r menu ta dekhe aar thakte parchi na..

    Best Regards

  9. I am making the Bhapa Doi. This fish head dish looks tasty though.

  10. Hey guys

    I am not cooking any of those during Pujo. Best thing is to get someone to cook these for you during the 4 days ;-)

  11. This post was really funny - prostrating before the tailor - we all know how that feels! So much Indianness in this post - I am loving it.

    I'm the kind who goes to Mainland China on festivals, if my conscience isn't being too loud about finishing the leftovers from earlier!

  12. Ha ha :) I was introduced to the jostling crowd and indeed even Pujo only 3 years back. My daughter has become a regular - she and her best friend (who is a Bong) do the rounds of the famous Chittaranjan Park pandals here...I go once and yes, the crowds come from all over Delhi and is amazing - the food seems to take precedence of course ;)

    Haven't heard of colocasia shoots - only the, this veggie must be akin to the banana then considering we seem to eat every part!

  13. Dur Sandeepa ei shob khabar er lsit diye koshto dewar kono maane achey. I was going to ask you kothaye ekhane kochur loti pele. eta amar dida r specialty chilo, kintu amai macher matha diye khetam na. ma korto ekdom onno rokom, narkol diye which I loved too. ar amader bari r pechone kochur loti diye kora hoto. it used to be big day, for around my home no one ever made this, so ma shobar barite pathato. kobe last kheyechi monay korte parchina.. must be 20 years back.. sigh!

    i don't miss anything of the pujo anymore, except for the food.

  14. Hello, There is a surprise waiting for you at my place!

  15. Sandeepa Di,

    I love your blog.... So many of my favourite recipes... I'm not Bong so sometimes, terms are unfamiliar. What is Kochur Loti?




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