Fish curry is a staple food of eastern and southern India. One or other kind of fish item is must in their meal otherwise meal remains incomplete. Specially in Bengal, almost every part of the fish except scales, fins, and innards, is eaten; unlike other regions, the head is particularly preferred. Other spare bits of the fish are usually used to flavour curries and dals. There are numerous ways of cooking fish depending upon the size, texture, bone and fat contents. It could be fried, curried,, steamed or roasted. Curry with simple ginger paste and garam masala or mustard paste poppy seed paste, with curd or is cooked along with seasonal vegetables. In daily household cooking onion based fish curry is rare specially in Bengalis whose roots are from East Bengal now Bangladesh. Fresh water fish like Rui, Katla, pabda, Tangra are few varieties which are very common in Bengali kitchen. Here I have given the recipe of a fish curry using very common ingredients and spices which are mostly found in the Kitchen. I have used curd alongwith other spices however it is optional to use it. It can be cooked in same way without using the curd. I have used Rui/Rohu a fresh water fish. Katla, Ard(Singara) and king fish could also be cooked in same method.
- Fish pieces 1 kg
- Whisked Curd 50 grams. Save 1 tblspn for garnishing
- Fresh pureed Tomato 2/3 cup
- Cumin Seed ½ tspn
- Bay leaf 2
- Green Cardamom crushed 5
- Cinnamon stick 2-3
- Cloves 7
- Cumin powder 2 tspn
- Coriander powder 1 tspn
- Turmeric powder 3 tspn (divided)
- Kashmiri Mirch powder 1 tspn
- Green chili 4-5
- Sugar ½ tspn
- Mustard Oil 100 grm
- Water 1 ½ cup
- Salt 4 tspn divided
Wash the fish pieces thoroughly in running water. Pat dry.
In a flat vessel arrange the fish pieces. Sprinkle 1 ½ tspn salt and turmeric powder over the fish. Coat the fish pieces with salt & turmeric evenly.
In a pan heat oil and fry the fish pieces in batches. Fry it till the fish changes the colour to light brown, do not over fry. For making curries fishes are fried to light brown only so that juices and aroma of the fish remains intact. Keep aside.
In a small bowl put cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and ginger paste. Add 1 table spoon water. Mix well and keep aside.
In the same oil, put bay leaf and cumin seeds. Let it splatter then add Cardamom, cinnamon cloves and splitted green chilis. This course may be done in low fire.
Add the masala paste and stir fry it till the water dries up.
Now put the pureed tomato and further fry the masala till the oil separates.
Add water and bring to boil. Let it boil for 2-3 mins.
Now reduce the stove flame. Put all the fish pieces one by one and arrange it in the curry so that the pieces does not break. Increase the gas flame and let the curry boil alongwith the fish for 2 mins. Then again reduce the flame and let it cook for another 2-3 mins till the oil floats on the surface.
Time to add whisked curd. Take the curd bowl in left hand and the spatula in right hand. Pour the curd slowly from side of the pan and as it falls in the curry keep stirring continuously with spatula to mix it with the curry otherwise it will curdle and will spoil the curry. Once whole curd is amalgamated, let the curry boil once more then take it off from stove.
From transferring to serving bowl always take out the fish pieces from the curry and arrange in the bowl. Then pour the curry over it.
Spoon the saved curd over the curry for Garnishing.
Serve with steamed rice/peas pulao.