If you take one of those heritage walks in North Calcutta, you must insist that your guide stops by at Ganesh Da’s hole in the wall food corner in Bagbazar which sells ‘macher kochuri’ and ‘macher pokora’. It is a different matter that after walloping those mouth-watering delicacies you might want to laze on a chaise longue in the gentle winter afternoon sun. While I agree that fried yummies taste the best on rainy days, a walk through wet slushy streets is not appealing at all. So, plan accordingly and finish all the wallking and exploring before this food stop in one of your winter trips to Calcutta.
The fish used to make this ‘macher kochuris’ is the ubiquitous Rohu or Carp fish, some take it up a notch by using the expensive Bhetki or Beckty whilst I like to make them with a Bengali fish called ‘Aar’. This fish is fleshy, delicate and less bony and I find that is beautifully compatible with turmeric.
My food word for this recipe would be scrummy.
When you go out shopping look for;
Red chilli flakes
All purpose flour
Paanch Phoron (Bengali spice)
The recipe would be;
Steam a kilo of fish with salt and turmeric. I steamed it by wrapping in foil and running the steam for 15 mins. Then debone the fish and squash it with fork.
In a hot wok, pour mustard oil. Temper with ‘paanch phoron’ and two finely chopped onions. Add extra fennel seeds and some dry red chilly flakes to heighten the flavour. Now add a tsp full of ginger paste, two chopped green chillies and a tsp each of cumin and coriander powder. Saute all of this for three minutes at low to medium heat.
Next add the fish mish-mash, stir fry and to make a perky filling. Also add some finely chopped coriander leaves and some lightly fried and therefore ballooned raisins.
In five minutes, the stuffing will be dry and aromatic in the wok. Set it aside to cool.
It is now time to make the dough. In about two hundred grams of flour, drop in a pinch of soda bicarb, salt and two tbsp melted ghee. You will need a little water too. Knead to make dough like you use for flat bread. Wrap with a wet muslin cloth and set aside for an hour and a half .
Divide the dought to get equal sections, roll each a little, make a small cup with your palm, add adequate fish filling and close on all sides to get a fish filled dough balls. Now carefully roll out to get circles of about three inches in diameter.
Fry in hot sunflower or safflower until you get a nice reddish golden colour on both sides.