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Tag Archives: bengali

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish

Bengalis and Keralites have plenty in common, a fact that’s become common knowledge now due to the numerous Internet memes floating around.

(For my international readers, Bengalis are the natives of West Bengal, a state in the Eastern part of India while Keralites are the natives of Kerala, a state in the Southern part of India).

An outsider might not find much similarity but if you delve deep, there are quite a few that these states have in common in terms of politics, literature, art, fashion and food.

Now let’s talk about food, since that’s our topic of interest. The most obvious similarity between the cuisines would be the ‘rice and fish curry’ obsession. There cannot be a more comforting meal than this, a combination that is relished across the length and breadth of both the states.

Seafood is much revered in both states as they enjoy an envious coastline. But the irony is that there ends the similarity too because apart from the seafood craze, there’s hardly much in common when it comes to preferred seafood varieties or style of preparation.

When I started learning more about the cuisines from other parts of India, the one that I was most hesitant to try out in my kitchen was Bengali cuisine, simply because of the use of mustard oil. Initially, I tried adapting the dishes using vegetable or coconut oil but soon realised that I am not doing any justice to the cuisine of Bengal. That’s when I slowly learnt to use mustard oil in the right quantities and also pick out dishes that are more familiar to my tastebuds. And the journey, ofcourse, began with seafood.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

Today, there are plenty of Bengali dishes I cook on a regular basis in my kitchen like this simple cabbage dish or this delicious fish curry. But the learning never stops and so here is another delicacy from the Bengali kitchen – a simple fish curry using Silver Whiting.

Fish and potatoes is a very unique combination but one that is extremely popular in Bengali cuisine. Though initially skeptical, I was amazed at how beautifully both the ingredients come together in this curry. The combination of mustard seeds with kalonji (onion seeds) and other spices and aromatics lend an earthy flavour to the curry that has to be enjoyed with steamed rice.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

(Do you cook Bengali dishes at home? What’s your favourite?)

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms ladyfish; cleaned (head removed)
  2. 1 medium potato; cut into long wedges/strips
  3. 1 large onion; grind to a paste with no water

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood, so visit their website for the full recipe.

Bengali style Fish Curry with Whiting/Lady Fish - thespiceadventuress.com

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Scrambled Fish with Mustard

Learning the ropes of a new cuisine can be a slightly daunting task!

It is not enough to try and follow a recipe to the exact but it is highly important that you try and have a brief understanding of the ingredients, flavour combinations and food culture of the region in general. This is how you will learn the building blocks of the cuisine and once you do that, the recipe becomes a canvas for your final painting.

And that was my approach towards learning Bengali cuisine; which till two years ago was a totally foreign thing for me. I read a lot about the general food culture and the key ingredients that make the base of this vast cuisine. And just like any traditional regional cuisine of India, food of West Bengal was as varied and colourful as its history. But if you look closely, there are always some key flavours that shine through which makes their food unique.

For me, the one ingredient that stood out was mustard. Now mustard is used in different ways along the length and breadth of India. But perhaps, no other cuisine celebrates it or glorifies it as much as the Bengali cuisine. And I very recently realized that Bengalis can get rather touchy on the subject and talk about this one ingredient for hours. For me, that spells passion!

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Today’s dish celebrates mustard in two different forms – in the seed and oil form. Mustard is often associated with a pungent aroma and flavour which puts it off for so many people. But when used in the right amount and combined with the right flavours, it is an ingredient that can work wonders in your kitchen.

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This scrambled fish with mustard is also a celebration of my understanding of the basic flavours of Bengali cuisine combined with my knowledge and love for South Indian style of cooking. This is not a traditional recipe (so don’t go looking for authenticity) but rather an inspired one.

Inspired by the fish podimas of South India, today we have a scrambled fish recipe which has been deliciously flavoured by mustard and with just a hint of chilli through. This dish can be made with any white fish that can be flaked easily and is best paired as a side dish with steamed rice and dal.

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Ingredients:

1. 2 basa (pink) fillets, around 350gm; cut into large pieces
2. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
3. 1 ½ tbsp mustard seeds

Read the full recipe here..

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood.

Kidspot #Voicesof2015 Experience + a recipe for Maccher Chop (Bengali style Fish Croquettes)

If you happen to follow me on any of the social media channels, you would have definitely come across my winning tryst with Voices of 2015 and the amazing experience I had over the last weekend with my blogging tribe. I managed to click a few photographs of the day’s events though picking up the camera was the last thing on my mind; I was busy soaking it all up like a sponge!

And for all those who aren’t yet aware of it, I take great pride in informing you that ‘The Spice Adventuress’ is a finalist in the Food and Travel category of Kidspot Voices of 2015.

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The feeling is yet to sink in! I hold onto it with a fear that someone is going to grab it away from my hands any second. I remember how ecstatic I was last year when I won a nomination; it meant the world to me even then. Would you like to read that post? It’s all here, and there’s an amazing recipe too.

We had an official event last Saturday which began with a networking breakfast, then went onto a Masterclass for almost the entire day and then finished off with the official launch of Voices of 2015 and the formal announcement of this year’s Top 100. Now I am not going to go into the details of the event; Michelle of An Organized Life has done a pretty good job of it so you can read it all on her space. If you are a blogger, then you must definitely read Michelle’s post.

But what I would like to share with all my readers today is why this recognition means so much to me.

I am a finalist, not yet a winner! But for me, deep down I feel like a winner. You would ask, are awards important? And I would say, yes……at least for me. It is important not because I want to brag about it or be in the limelight and feel like a celebrity for a few days but because it is a recognition of my hard work. It is easy to be passionate and it is definitely easy to dream; what’s tough is making it come true through bone breaking hard work, day in and day out.

This journey, which started around 2 years back, has been a difficult one….and for the most part, a highly emotional one. The decision to say no to a regular income and taking on the role of a full time blogger was not an easy one. I have swayed and wavered a million times, fallen down into the realms of despair and depression but fought on with a vehemence to realize and make my dreams come true.

Completely self taught and with hardly any support or encouragement from close friends or family, I stuck on to my passion which is why I am so very proud of this recognition. I will be honest that I will be disappointed if I don’t make the Top 3, but it won’t matter much because deep down, I feel like a winner already. Not winning is going to give me the impetus to continue the hard work fuelled by my passion and dreams.

And so much of it would not have been possible without the love and support that has been generously showered by my readers. Heartfelt gratitude to every single one of you who have been with me in this journey…every single like, follow, comment, share, interaction has been priceless. Thank you.

Phew! That was a long talk isn’t it. Ok, so let’s get back to what this space is all about…gorgeous food. Today we have a delicious seafood snack – Maccher chop or Bengali style fish croquettes.

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Maccher chop is a famous snack of Bengal. These delicious fish cutlets or croquettes are soft on the inside with a crunchy exterior that is enjoyed by both children and adults alike. Traditionally, these fish cutlets have a flattened shape but you can just roll it the way you want. Mine’s round, simply because I felt so….

If you are observing the Ramadan fast, then these fish croquettes can be a delicious addition to your Iftar platter. I have served these maccher chops with sweet chilli sauce but you could pair it with your favourite dip.

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You can use any white fish like barracuda, cod, basa etc… to make these croquettes. Purchase the fish as fillets or get your fishmonger to chop it into a coarse paste for you; this saves on the cooking time. Easy to make in large batches and can be frozen for upto a month.

Ingredients:

1. 2 Basa fish fillets (you can either purchase as fillets or as paste)
2. 2 large potatoes; boiled and pat dry
3. 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
4. 1 medium onion, finely chopped…..

Find the full recipe here….

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Recipe Courtesy – Foodies Hut

Maccher Korma (Bengali style Fish Curry with Yoghurt and Spices)

All of us have preconceived notions when it comes to cooking and eating dishes from other cuisines, especially those which we are not very familiar with. For me, this has been the case with Bengali cuisine….

For the longest time, I avoided eating or cooking Bengali food simply because of the notion that I would not enjoy the flavour of mustard oil. It’s true that mustard has a pungent aroma and flavour but if used in the right manner and with the right flavour combinations, it can be an amazing ingredient to work with.

I was in for a delicious surprise when I finally gathered the courage to cook Bengali dishes. Now, a month does not go by without trying a dish from the region.

The Bengalis’ love for seafood is legendary which identifies well with me because I am a huge seafood lover too. And so this Maccher Korma or fish curry with yoghurt and spices ticks all the right boxes for me.

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All of us are familiar with a korma. Dating from the Mughal era, the korma is a rich, creamy dish usually made using meat or vegetables. But in Bengal, you will find a seafood version of the korma which is a much loved dish in most households.

I have used white pomfret to prepare this maccher korma. Pomfret is not the preferred variety traditionally but I am all for local and seasonal catch. And moreover, I am a big fan of white pomfret…..especially the fish head. Are you a fish head lover?

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This Bengali fish curry or maccher korma is deliciously creamy, fragrant and spiced perfectly to enjoy over a bowl of steamed rice. Though you might think the ingredients are many, the dish is rather simple to prepare.

So bring home the seasonal catch from your market and let’s get cooking this cracker of a dish….Maccher korma or Bengali style fish curry with yoghurt and spices.

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Recipe adapted from this blog.

Ingredients:
1. 1 kg pomfret, cut into medium slices
2. To grind:
• 4 tbsp freshly grated coconut
• 1 tbsp poppy seeds
• 5 cashewnuts

To view full recipe, click here.

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

Bandhakopir Torkari (Bengali Cabbage, Potato and Peas Curry)

I have had many fleeting associations with Bengal, its people and cuisine over the years but never a deep-seated one, enough to understand the fundamentals of this region and its food.

My foray into the food blogging world introduced me to many fellow bloggers of Bengali origin and through their blogs and associations, I am beginning to learn more and more about the rich and varied cuisine of this region.

Bengal has always been a prominent part of India, especially in its role as the capital before Delhi took over the mantle. Rich in culture, traditions, history, cuisine, Bengal has much to offer to its residents and the many travellers to the region. I have always said that I hate being a ‘tourist’ anywhere; I like to absorb the region and go beyond the surface and this lady ‘here’ is the best person to follow if you are bitten by the travel bug.

I have been taking baby steps into the vibrant and colourful Bengali culinary fare…slow, but steady ones which has amazed and delighted me making me keep trying for more. Today’s recipe, Bandhakopir Torkari or loosely translated as Bengali cabbage, potato and peas curry is one such dish.

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I do not cook much with cabbage; tend to eat it in a raw manner or just stir fried most of the time. Cooked cabbage has always tasted bland and soggy till the Bandhakopir Torkari happened to me.

This dish is packed with flavour from the spices, especially cumin. No onion, no garlic….just a handful of spices that does its job beautifully.

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Bandhakopir Torkari pairs beautifully with rotis; a humble vegetarian dish that is so flavourful and delish that you will keep coming back for more. So go ahead..make it…enjoy it!

And I learnt this dish from a wonderful blogger.

Ingredients:

1. ½ kg cabbage; sliced
2. 2 medium potatoes, diced
3. ¾ th cup green peas
4. 1 large, ripe red tomato
5. 2 dry bay leaf
6. 2 green cardamom, crushed lightly
7. 2 cloves
8. ½ tsp cumin seeds
9. 2 dry red chilli
10. 1 tsp red chilli powder
11. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
12. ¼ th tsp sugar
13. 3 tbsp mustard oil
14. Salt, to season

Method:

1. Heat mustard oil in a pan; add the cumin seeds, crushed green cardamom, dry red chillies, bay leaf and cloves. Fry lightly till fragrant.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté on medium heat till the tomatoes are mashed well.
3. Add the turmeric and red chilli powder; sauté for another minute.
4. Add the potato pieces fry on medium heat till the potatoes are half-cooked.
5. Then add the peas and cabbage and cook till done.
6. Add a bit of water if the vegetables get too dry; cabbage releases enough water so wait for the cabbages to wilt before adding water. Add sugar and season with salt.
7. Serve hot with Indian flat breads.

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