GIANT RIVER CATFISH/ LONG WHISKERED CAT FISH......this is what it is commonly called in English. In Bangladesh and West Bengal, it is called AAR MACH. Extremely popular among most of the Bengalis, it is eaten on a regular basis. As the name goes, it is a river water fish, available fresh in the market and can be cooked in different ways. At times we cook it with eggplant and potato, at times a thick gravy with ginger- garlic paste or sometimes with only ginger- green chilli paste or with tomatoes and potatoes cut length wise.
With the head of this fish, we make yummy veggies along with eggplant and coriander paste or with bottle gourd. My friends other than Bengalis may find it weird but if you can grow the taste, and love fish, you may like it.
Different district of Bangladesh and West Bengal has different ways of cooking.As my forefathers belong to the Comilla district of Bangladesh, there people cook it in a gravy of green chilli coriander leaves paste with broad beans, eggplant and potatoes without frying the fish. Hopefully shall come up with that recipe some other day.
This recipe is a everyday one using very little spices. I have used onion because in Singapore we do not get fresh ones, we have to remain satisfied with frozen ones imported from Bangladesh. You can alternate with any variety of catfish available at your place. If it is sea catfish, do use onions. We donot use much onions for fresh water fish unless for some special dishes.
Aar Mach : 500 gm
Onion : 1 big
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Cumin Seeds : 3 pinches
Coriander Leaves : 25 gm(for garnish)
Oil(Mustard) : 5 tablespoon.
Ask your fish seller to cut the fish in roundels. Wash the fish pieces under running water very well. Apply salt and one tsp of turmeric powder. Mix well. Let it stand for about 15 minutes.
Make seperate pastes with the green chillies, ginger. Slice the onion thinly. Chop the coriander leaves.
Heat oil in a pan. Lightly fry the fish pieces till golden brown. They should remain soft.
In the same oil, put the cumin seeds, then put in the onion slices and fry till they turn brown. Be careful, they should not burn. Put in the ginger paste, sauté for 1 minute, then put in the green chilli paste. Sauté for another 1 minute. At this stage, put in the turmeric powder, cumin powder and salt. Fry till the oil separates from the spices.
Now pour in one coffee mug of water. Give a stir, cover. Let the gravy boil at medium to low heat. After 5 minutes , put in the fish pieces very carefully. Let boil for another 3 minutes. You can pour another 1/4 cup water if required. Put in the chopped coriander leaves. Give a stir and switch off.
This fish curry requires the gravy to be light and not thick. Enjoy with steamed piping hot rice, with lentils and vegetable fritters to go.