A Bong’s life cannot be imagined without Maach & Mishti i.e fish and sweets and a celebration without these two ingredients in Bengali tradition is definitely unbelievable. Fish is an integral part of Durga jatra or the farewell ceremony of Maa Durga since it is considered “shubh” i.e a good omen for embarking on in a journey. Fish and mishti doi aka sweetened curd are the two most important components of Vijaya Dashami platter and you will definitely find a fish curry or fish fry (maach bhaaja) in it along with an elaborate menu comprising of daal, veggies, meat, chutney and many more, of course including desserts that completes the meal. Though the rest of India turns to vegetarians for these nine days of Navraatri, most Bengalis keep on feasting throughout the Durga puja celebrations ultimately reaching at its peak at Dashami, which is the day for feasting in Bengali culture. However, during Durga puja our family followed pure vegetarian menu because of my mom’s strict instructions for this Durga puja which was a real torture for any bong foody like me. Hence Vijaya Dashami was the day I was waiting for, these Puja days to satiate my thirsty soul. My mom also makes it a point to invariably cook something special with fish on this auspicious day and make us happy. My all time favourite is this Rui maachher kaalia prepared by my mom that we had on this Vijaya Dashami lunch, which she cooks absolutely wonderful, on special occasions or for serving guests. This is a traditional fish curry you will commonly find in bengali households with slight variations of their own in the recipe and is a common item in our house that we grew up having and still love it. It is a simple, yet very tasty and easy to prepare dish provided the fish should be of good quality. I wish to share the recipe of this dish to all my friends and followers who are fish lovers & connoisseurs, who I’m sure will love cooking and having it…..Actually thought of sharing this post on Vijaya Dashami but couldn’t make it……still, better late than never!!😊
- Rui Maach/Rohu fish : 400-500 g (8-9 pieces)
- Kalonji/Black caraway/Kalo jeera : 1/4th tsp (for tempering)
- Onion paste : 3 big onions
- Ginger paste (optional) : 1/4th tsp
- Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp
- Tamarind pulp: 1 teaspoonful
- Green chillies : 2-3
- Mustard oil : 2 tbsp (approximately)
- Salt: to taste
- Sugar : 1/4th tsp or to taste
- Water: 1/2 cup
- Clean and wash your fish pieces. Sprinkle with little salt and turmeric powder and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Fry the fishes till slightly golden yellow in colour, drench the oil and keep them aside.
- Again add little oil in a pan. (Note: Heat the oil properly so that the raw smell of mustard oil goes away completely or you may also saute one dry red chilli in the oil to remove its pungency).
- Temper with Kalonji.
- Add onion paste and ginger paste and saute for sometime.
- Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and saute well for a while.
- Add green chillies and saute well so that the mixture starts separating from the oil.
- Add the fish pieces carefully one by one and saute them slowly and nicely by tossing and turning them.
- Add tamarind pulp in it and stir well.
- Add sugar and mix .
- Add water to the desired consistency i.e neither too thick nor too thin & bring it to boil, cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and take it down.
- Serve with fresh steamed rice and enjoy your Fishyy..meal.