Monday, 19 January 2015


FISH WITH COVERAGE.....popularly known as Fish Kabiraji in Kolkata. It took me 24 years to know that fish kabiraji is actually fish with coverage. Before that I used to wonder how come such a tasty piece of fish fried in a batter of egg can be named Kabiraji....which is a form of alternative medicine promoting herbs and vegetables in our diet. I could not really match the two. Then, one day my then would be husband told me it is fish within a coverage of egg. Gosh! May be invented during British Rule of India and the name degenerated from coverage to Kabiraji at a later period. Authenticity of the fact is not known.

Down memory lane, thinking about fish kabiraji, I find myself with my dear pals at the very famous COFFEE HOUSE. This is not a regular restaurant....situated in the midst of colleges and book shops, it is a place for many evolving ideas, where writers, poets, professors and students can be seen together. Once you are can hear all sorts of talks....from latest Bollywood movie to idealism, socialism.....World Politics....a place of peaceful coexistence of intellectuals and brats like us. Amidst this, I find myself sitting among my friends, talking all 'no sense' and giving heavenly bites on my kabiraji cutlets. I remember one of our professor caught us one day and yelled .... "I think you have a class now, how come you are here?" We, the desperate young brats did not listen to him....he is no more.... as told by my friends. There is a phase in life we become this annoying.

We get three types of kabiraji cutlets in Kolkata.....Fish, Mutton and Chicken. So many Kolkatans are spread throughout the world and must be missing Kolkata street foods and snacks. In solidarity with them I felt like posting this recipe of Fish Kabiraji and also wish to acquaint the rest of the world with a very tasty snacker. It is done with Bhetki fish fillets. Seabass perhaps belong to the same species. Normally fish fillets are marinated in a spice mix and fried dipped in a batter of egg. While frying, we again add an egg and cornflour batter with a spoon to give it an egg coverage. Its quite a labour but worth it.... we are not doing it every day. We are always at a liberty to make some addition and subtraction.

INGREDIENTS[for the spice mix] :
Cinnamon : 2[1inch stick]
Green Cardamom : 4
Cloves : 5
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Coriander Seeds : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 3

Fish Fillet[any firm white fish] : 300gm
Lemon : 1[big]
Green Chilli :2
Onions: 2[medium]
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
Coriander Leaves : 2sprigs
Cumin Seeds : 1/4 tsp
Garlic[minced] : 1tbsp
Ginger[minced] : 1tsp
Cornflour : 1tbsp
All Purpose Flour : 1tbsp
Egg : 3 + 2
Breadcrumb : 50 gm
Chaat Masala : To sprinkle on the finished cutlets
Oil : To deep fry + 3tbsp


Wash the fish fillets and marinate with the juice of a lemon and little salt. Peel, wash and slice the onions. Chop the coriander leaves and green chillies and wash. Mince the garlic and ginger.

Dry roast all the ingredients for spice mix and powder them in a grinder. Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan. Temper with cumin seeds. Add the onions, minced garlic and ginger. Saute well till brown. Add the fish fillets and saute well. They will break into pieces as you cook. The fish pieces will release water.

After few minutes you will see the water drying up. Add salt, turmeric, chopped green chillies n coriander leaves, the spice mix. Stir cook for 3 more minutes. Add 1tbsp of all purpose flour and mix well. This is done to bind  together the filling.Transfer it to a wide mouthed bowl. Let cool.

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Take cornflour and 3 eggs in another bowl, mix it with little water to make a paste. Take breadcrumb in another bowl. Now shape the fish filling into rectangular cutlets as shown in the picture below.

Keep the 3 separate bowls with beaten eggs, beaten eggs with cornflour and breadcrumbs on the kitchen counter. Heat rest of the oil in a wok. Dip each cutlet in the egg batter first, then in the bread crumb and repeat. Once the oil is hot, add two cutlets at a time. Fry the both sides well and towards the end add the egg & cornflower batter with a tablespoon to give it an egg coverage! Drain the excess oil on tissue papers.
See the picture below.

Serve hot with some salad, sauce and tea / coffee!

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