“Maachh e bhaat e Bangali” indeed! We're going all out this Puja, with these delectable fish recipes from Amari Dhaka, which are bound to satisfy the maachh-loving taste-buds of even the most selective eater. And since no celebratory feast is complete without some form of meat, Amari also has a delightful chicken dish that screams indulgence!
Sea Bass in Spicy Harra Sauce
Ingredients: 6 large garlic cloves, peeled 1½ tsp salt 2 fresh red or green long chilli peppers (capsicum), seeded 1 small onion 1 large ripe tomato (9 to 10 ounces), peeled and seeded 3 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds 1 whole Sea Bass (about 6 pounds), scaled, gutted and cleaned but left whole with head and tail on 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves Directions: In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt together until mushy. Put the chilli peppers and onion in a food processor and chop finely. Add the tomato and process in bursts until it is chopped. Remove to a medium-size bowl and stir in the pounded garlic, tomato paste and cumin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Score the fish in three places on each side. Lay the fish in a baking pan and coat with the olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with the chilli pepper sauce. Bake the fish for about one hour or until the dorsal fin feels as if it will come off with a tug. Make sure to baste with the accumulated olive oil in the baking pan. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve.
Doi Fish Curry
½ cup crisp-fried julienned onions (bereshta)
5 pieces freshwater fish (Rui or Katol), marinated with ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp, salt for the gravy
3 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp homemade garam masala powder
¼ cup onion paste
½ tsp garlic paste
½ tsp ginger paste
300gm day-old yoghurt, diluted with a cup of water and beaten with a fork
1 bay leaf
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms
¼ tsp cumin seeds
3 green chillies, halved
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
Marinate the fish with salt and two and a half tablespoons of mustard oil. After around 30 minutes, add the yoghurt, homemade garam masala powder, raisins, and the onion-ginger-garlic pastes to the marinated fish. Make sure to coat well with the spices. Leave to marinate for another 20 minutes.
In a pan, heat the mustard oil and then add the whole spices. Once the oil is fragrant with the aroma of the spices, gently add the marinated fish. Cover and allow the fish to simmer in its gravy base until the fish is cooked and the gravy has reduced somewhat and turned slightly darker in colour. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and serve with steamed rice.
Mughlai Chicken Tangri
Ingredients: 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
4 cloves of garlic, peeled 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
4 tbsp ground almonds 1/2 cup water
5 cardamom pods, bruised 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves 4 cloves
1/4 cup vegetable oil 5 chicken drumsticks (tangri)
2 onions, finely chopped 1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins) 1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt
3/4 cup flaked toasted almonds, to garnish Directions: Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chilli into a food processor, or into a mortar and pestle, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water and then blend again, set aside. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces in batches, so they fry rather than stew, and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish. Add the spices and turn them in the oil. Add the onions and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid sticking. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour. Add the yoghurt, half a cup at a time stirring it in to make a sauce, then stir in the stock, cream, and sultanas. Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the meat is cooked through. It's at this stage, that I like to take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day. So either now, or when you've reheated it, pour into a serving dish and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.
Recipes and photos: Amari Dhaka