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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grilled masala coated Whole Bhetki with Mashed Potato and Vegetables

A recipe I'd used a number of times and it was super simple and the end result was super delicious. The Source : Preeoccupied's Masala Salmon.

However instead of Salmon, I had used Bhetki / Basa in the past. This time I had a whole Bhetki fish, deboned, sans the head and tail. Used it as a whole instead of making small sized fillets from it. 

For the Fish:
Deboned Bhetki - approx 1 kg
onion - 1
plain curd - 3/4 cup 
fresh coriander - 3/4 cup 
lemon juice -2 tablespoon 
green chilies-3-4 
ginger - 2 teaspoon (grated)
garlic - 5-6 cloves (minced)
vegetable oil
Salt-to taste

For the mashed potatoes
Potatoes - 4 medium 
Freshly ground black pepper
Chili flakes
Garlic cloves

For the sauted vegetables:
I used mushrooms, babycorn, peas
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure :
Fish :
1. Finely chop the onion and deep fry them till they turn red and crispy. Remove the onions from the oil and let it cool. Keep the oil aside.
2. In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, curd, green chilies, coriander, lemon juice, the fried onions, very little of the oil (from the onions) and salt. This blend is the marinade for your fish.
3. Apply a thick layer of this marinade on both sides of the fish. For basting, drizzle the remaining oil you used to fry the onions. 
4. Keep the fish marinated for about 1/2 hour.
5. Place the whole marinated fish on the baking tray and Grill it at around 170-180 deg C about 7-8 minutes on each side. 

Mashed Potatoes :
Boil, mash potatoes.
Fry the mashed potatoes in butter and add salt, freshly ground black pepper and chili flakes, till golden brown in colour
Remove from flame
In 2-3 tbsp of butter , fry garlic cloves till golden brown.
While serving using this butter+fried garlic as the dressing for the mashed potato

Vegetables :
Saute the vegetables in butter with a sprinkling of salt & freshly ground black pepper

Serve the grilled fish with the mashed potato drizzled with butter-fried garlic and sauted vegetables

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ilish Machh Begun Diye ....Patla Shorsher Jhol

A light mustard gravy of Hilsa Fish with Brinjal

A trip to Kolkata during Ilish season always and always culminates with a Big Box of raw Ilish smeared with Oil, Salt and Turmeric, wrapped to Perfection in foil and again re-wrapped in cloth napkin, plastic to prevent the leakages. A hundred NOs and objection will fall on deaf ears of the FATHER who despite being all of eighty is determined to make a trip to the fish market to buy this delicacy for his fish loving daughter. The daughter, despite the vehement NOs and the sulk expressing her displeasure in having to carry this 'additional burden', will beam with joy as well as an exasperated smile directed at the stubborn FATHER, once she reaches her destination and opens the layered packing (perfected by who else but the MOTHER). 

Seeing the freshness of the fish, the utmost desire would be to replicate her MOTHER's perfect 'patla shorsher jhol begun diye' (a light, low on spice gravy of fish with brinjal pieces).... 

Ingredients :
Ilish - 1kg + is the ideal size (a smaller sized Ilish would be more suitable for Ilish Machh Bhaja)
One medium sized brinjal cut into semi-circular slices 
Mustard Oil
Kalo jeera
Red chili powder -depend on the heat tolerance
Kashmiri Mirch for the colour - 1/2 tsp
Mustard paste (made with a mix of yellow & black mustard seeds, green chili and salt) passed through the sieve to retain only the smooth paste.
Green chilies

Procedure :
1. The Ilish pieces and the brinjal pieces need to be smeared with turmeric and salt
2. Pan fry the fish v.v lightly
3. Lightly fry the brinjal pieces
4. In a kadhai, take a tbsp of mustard oil and heat till smoking hot.
5. Throw in kalo jeera (kalonji) and some green chilies
6. Add a paste of turmeric-red chili-kashmiri mirch into the oil and fry for a minute
7. If a thick strong mustard gravy is desired, use the mustard paste without passing through a sieve. I wanted a light gravy. So I passed the paste through a sieve (chhankni) and added water. Now pour either the thick mustard paste or the watery mustard paste into the kadhai. 
8. Cook on medium flame. Once it comes to a boil, slide in the brinjal pieces. 
After the brinjal is almost done, add the fish pieces into the kadhai and cover for a minute or till it comes to a boil. Add water as per the desired gravy consistency. Let the gravy come to a boil. Throw in a few slit green chilies. Take the kadhai off the gas.
9. Serve with steamed rice

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Simplest of Cake Recipes

The simplest of Sponge cake recipes learnt during my school days.....which so resonates the tagline of my blog..."nothing fancy or out of the way...."

Have made it countless number of times and it has never failed to bring a smile on the faces of my loved ones....

Ingredients :
eggs : 3
Maida : 2 tea cups
Oil/Butter : 1 cup
Sugar (white/castor sugar) : 1 cup
Vanilla essence : a tsp
Baking powder : 1 tbsp
Cashews/Almonds/Raisin : as per choice
Coffee powder / Chocolate powder/Cocoa : optional
Chocolate sauce for decoration : optional

Procedure :
Preheat oven to 200 deg C
Whip the eggs
Mix Maida and Baking powder and Chocolate powder/cocoa
For ease of mixing powder the sugar (optional)
Mix oil/butter, sugar and add the whipped egg
Add the maida/flour-baking powder-cocoa mix into the wet mix of butter/oil-sugar-egg.
Mix well with ladle or electric mix.
Add the vanilla essence
If adding coffee powder, add now
Also, add the dry fruits now into the cake mix

Also preheat the oil/butter smeared container in which the cake is to be baked
Pour in the batter
Bake at 180-190 deg C for 20 minutes

Unleash your creativity to decorate as you decorations are quite minimalistic ..
Sometimes I use milk powder with drops of milk to make a moist paste to "write" on the cake

Monday, August 31, 2015

Patrani Machhi...Parsi cousin of the Bengali Paturi

Fish fillet marinated in spices, wrapped in an envelop of Banana leaf and steamed or baked.

To a Bengali the spice would be predominantly Mustard paste while to a Parsi it would be a green chutney consisting of predominantly coriander leaves, pudina, coconut. 

The end result? Either a Bong Paturi or a Parsi Patrani Machchhi...both favourite, subtly flavoured fish delicacies of the respective communities.

Of course, while the Paturi is made of Bhetki or Hilsa, the Patrani Machchhi is made of Pomfret, Rawas, as far as I know.

The Bong me, this morning, wanted to try her hand at making her favourite paturi's Parsi cousin.
Internet came to my rescue and I followed this Parsi recipe from Devaki's Weave a Thousand Flavors. 
The changes I made due to availability/non-availability - For my Patrani Machchhi, I used Bhetki, freshly grated coconut, desi green chilies but it was sans pudina as I did not have the herb at home.

Ingredients : yielded approximately 24 pieces of fish
Bhetki fillet - approx 600 gms (since I had no plans of making patrani machchi, I had marinated the fish with ginger, pepper and salt)

** Dry grind spices: Jeera / cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1.5 tsp ,
Fenugreek/Methi - 1/2 tsp ,
Mustard seeds - 1.5 tsp

Dry grind all the above ingredients in the coffee grinder to a fine powder. Add to the ingredients of coconut chutney (given below) to make the chutney.

Coconut Chutney: Grated coconut - 1 cup ( I used half a coconut),
Ginger - 1” piece,
peeled garlic - 3-4 cloves ,
Green chilies (depending on tolerance to heat) - 2, 
Kashmiri mirch powder - 1 tsp (not in original recipe)
fresh cilantro leaves - 1 cup (+ ¼ cup mint leaves - did not use),
sugar - 1 tsp ,
salt - 1-1/2 tsp ,
Dry roasted (instead of raw) peanuts - 1 tbs &
tamarind paste-2 tbs
**Dry ground spices from above,
1/2 cup water (more only if required)

4-6 inch wide pieces (approx square ) banana leaves , 24 nos ( I needed 3 medium sized banana leaves) to wrap fish

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F/175-180 deg C

2. Fish – Cut the fillet into approx.2"x3" sized pieces. Rubbed with salt  and pepper (not mentioned in original recipe) 

3. Prepared the Coconut chutney by blending all the ingredients in a grinder to make a thick pesto like fine paste. The mixture should be of thick consistency.
5. Marinade: Apply the chutney all over the fish on both sides. Marinate 4-5 hours. (I had time for only 1 hour marination)


1. Wash and dry the surface of the banana leaf . Apply oil on the surface of each leaf. Cut the banana leaf into approx. 4"x6" pieces 

2. Place each fish fillet in the center of a piece of banana leaf so the fish is parallel to the seams in the leaf. Cover generously with the marinade. 

3. Fold over on both sides and then fold over the ends ad seal with one/more tooth pick

4. Place the fish parcels on a baking tray. 'Bake' for 20 minutes in the preheated oven at 170-180 deg C.

5. Remove from the oven.
Serve hot with steamed rice.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chitol Maachher Peti'r Jhol

Light Mustard Gravy of Chitol Fish

The  Chitol is a delicacy of Bengal. While the bony 'Gaada' or dorsal part of the fish is deboned and made into Muithas / Koftas, the 'Peti' or belly portion of the fish containing less and more easily manageable bones are delightfully oily and soft.

I personally like the light gravy which brings out the rich taste of the fish rather that the more spicy 'Kalia' preparation where the taste of the fish is submerged in the deluge of onion-ginger-garlic-garam masala. But of course this is a very personal preference.....

Ingredients :

a)Chitol Maachher 'Peti' portion - approx 1 kg
b)Kalo jeera / Kalonji - 1/2 tsp
c)Holud / Haldi /Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
d)Chili powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
e)Kashmiri Mirch powder - 1 tsp
f)Tomato chopped - 1 small (optional)
g)Dhone/Coriander seeds powder - 1 tsp
h)Sugar - a pinch
i)Salt - to taste
j)Mustard paste - 2 tbsp or more depending on how spicy you want the gravy
k)Mustard Oil - 1 tsbp
l)Green Chilies - 2-3 ..again personal preference
m) Bori / small Lentil dumplings - a handful
n)Dhonepaata / Coriander leaves

Procedure :
1. Shallow fry the fish (after smearing the pieces in a mix of turmeric-salt)

2. Heat oil in a kadai and add ingredients at sl.(b) to (i). Sprinkle some water and cook on medium to high heat till the oil separates. .....Koshano

3. Add the shallow fried fish and gently turn them around in the moshla/masala/spice mix.

4. Add a cup full of water.

5. Add 3-4 tsp of mustard paste mixed with 1/2 cup of water.Cover and bring to a boil. If boris (tiny lentil dumplings) are available, add to the boiling gravy.

6. Add slit green chilies and chopped Dhonepaata.

7.Savour with hot steamed rice. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chitol Maachher Muitha

Chitol Fish Koftas 

Chitol Maachher Muitha is an essentially "Bangaal" (the erstwhile Eastern region of undivided Bengal which is now present day Bangladesh) delicacy made out of the 'Gaada' (Bonier or dorsal part ) of the fish.

Seeing Chitol Maachh in the supermarket last sunday, I couldnt control my temptation and purchased a huge 2.5 kg fish.
Instructions were immediately taken over phone regarding the cutting of the Gaada-Peti and communicated to my bewildered fish seller!

Rushed back home and called up my cooking encyclopedia, ready with pen and paper, and jotted down the elaborate process of the Muitha making....

Ingredients :
For the Koftas :
The 'Gaada' or bonier part of the fish (the fish I'd bought was 2.5 kgs!!) which was approx 1 kg 
2 medium sized potatoes for every kg of gaada
2 eggs
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
1 small onion - finely chopped
1 small onion - made into paste
Jeera powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - a pinch

For the gravy :
1 onion - chopped
2 onions - paste
Garam masala - whole, made into a paste/powder 
Tej pata
ginger paste - 1 tsp
garlic paste - 1tsp
1 tomato - chopped (optional)
Chili powder
Kashmiri Chili powder
Jeera powder/paste - 1tsp
Potato 2-3 cubed
Oil (preferably mustard)

Procedure :
Muittha / Kofta - 
I) De-boning of the fish:
1. Wash the fish. Placing it on a flat surface, with the skin on top, hammer it lightly with the Nora of the Sheel-Nora (traditional grinding stone used in Bengali kitchens) or anything heavy

2.The fish will loosen. Now turn it around, so that the fleshy surface faces up and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Save the skin for kataa chochchori (we Bongs are quite the scavengers ;)) . The pic below is the starting material for Kataa Chochchori

3. Using the Sheel-Nora, grind the fish ...most of the bigger bones will come apart. Now using fingers, mash the fish further and also remove the remaining bones.

If minced, de-boned Chital is available, the rest of the Muitha making is actually a cake-walk.....

II) The rest of the Muitha making -
1. For 1 kg Gaada, use 2 medium sized boiled potatoes and mash them well and mix with the boneless, minced fish. While mixing and mashing, you may be able to remove more fine bones....

2. Add to the minced fish+mashed potato mix : 2 raw eggs, ginger, garlic paste, onion chopped, onion paste, jeera powder, chili powder, salt, sugar. Knead well as in kneading dough.

3. Put a large vessel/kadai full of water to boil. Divide the fish dough into fist sized (mutho/muitha) spheres. And slide into the boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes. Turn the spheres from time to time. To check if done, insert a fork/needle as we do in baking. If it comes out clean, it's done.

4. Take the 'spheres' out of the water. Keep aside to cool. When cooled, cut them into approx 1.5" cubes.

5. Shallow fry them lightly.

These can make delicious finger food/snacks/starter and in case that's what you intend to make them into, fry them till they are crispy and golden brown.

The Gravy :
1. Heat oil in a kadai. Add the chopped onion, paste of garam masala, tej pata, a pinch of sugar. 
2. Along with the above 'phoron', the cubed potatoes may be added to avoid sauteing them separately.
3. When the onions are light brown in colour, add onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, kashmiri chili, jeera powder, salt and tomato. Fry them in medium to high heat....'Koshano' or 'Bhunoing'
4. After the oil separates from the cooked masala, gently slide in the fried Muitthas / Koftas. Turn them around gently to cover them in the masala/spice mix and fry for a minute or so....add about 2 cups of water to make a gravy of medium thickness. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Just before taking it off the flame, add a tbspn of ghee and 1/2 tsp of powder garam masala (without roasting) (garam masala at the end is optional, though)

The Chitol Maachher Muittha is ready to be savoured with plain steamed rice.

This post is being linked to "Spotlight: Show Your Best Creation" @ Cuisine Delights

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cheesy Vegetable Fritters

Fritters / Chops/Cutlets made of Chhana (Fresh & fluffy Paneer), grated Cheddar Cheese and any finely chopped vegetables

Simple, fast and delicious....that's the other name of this dish.

Ingredients :
Chhana / Paneer from 2.5 litres full cream milk
Grated processed cheese  (used Amul) - 4-5 cubes or as many as you want
Any finely chopped vegetables : I used carrot, beans, capsicum, finely sliced babycorn, sweet corn kernels, mushrooms
Chopped garlic
Chopped Onions
butter / oil
Tej pata
Crushed peppercorns
Pepper powder
Oregano powder
Bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Procedure :

1. Curdle boiling milk with lemon/vinegar to make Chhana/Chhena/Paneer/Cottage cheese. Drain away the whey and press it lightly to retain the softness and fluffiness of the Chhana.

2. In a kadai, heat the butter. Add tej pata & crushed pepper corns into the heated butter, followed by chopped garlic and onions. Fry till golden brown.

3. Now add the chopped vegetables in descending order of hardness.....carrot, beans, baby corns ...capsicum etc...all in medium to high heat. If using mushrooms, better to saute them separately as mushroom will give out loads of water and make the other veggies soggy. We want the veggies to retain their crunchiness

4. Mix the crunchy fried veggies with the soft paneer and toss the mix in the kadai to mix well.

5. In the hot mix, gradually add the grated cheese and keep stirring. The cheese will melt and assimilate into the rest of the chhana-veggie mix.

6. After cooling, shape the doh-like chhana-cheese-veggie mix into friiters. Dip into a thin batter of cornflour+water and then roll in bread crumbs.

8. Shallow fry and serve with sauce, chutney or as it is....