Saturday, 10 January 2015

MACH PATURI [SPICY FISH FILLETS WRAPPED IN BANANA LEAVES]



Fish Paturi is fillets of fish wrapped in banana leaves and slow cooked. Very popular among the Bengalis, it is considered a delicacy. Why only fillets of fish, we do it with our very own Hilsa also. Besides Hilsa its done with Bhetki / Barramundi / Asian Seabass. Infact, it can be done with any white fish fillets. Fillets of fish marinated with mustard paste and shredded coconut along with a generous amount of green chillies should sound mouthwatering to fish lovers. Amount of green chillies can always be adjusted as per your tastebud. Its a bit elaborate process but we all know any good thing need patience and effort to achieve. It is not in our everyday menu, but cooked on weekends or when guests come. So time should not be an issue.

   Sunday morning wake up late...have a relaxed cup of tea with your family and start with the preparation. The first thing you need for this recipe is banana leaves. The first day I saw banana leaves in the local super market my reaction was as if I discovered a gold mine. The idea of preparing paturi instantly hit my mind. Alternatively you can also use bottle gourd or pumpkin leaf.

   Today is my father's birthday. Thousands of miles apart I cannot do much except for calling him and wish and praying to God for his long life. Being a saturday, thought of cooking something he loved eating. He loves all kinds of fresh water fish and far more flexible about experimental cooking than an average Bengali of his age. A very happy go lucky type of person, he had never been fussy about food. I remember my grandmother  cooking delicate fish recipes for him whenever we visited our grandparent's home. His own mother staying far from him always, he used to say I am his mother.

  I cannot parcel him his favourites but can always celebrate his birthday with his two favourite men....my senior and junior. As for him...I have an extremely adorable brother and sis-in-law to celebrate their way. So I am at peace when it concerns my parents and take proper care of my men.
For paturi you need very less spices....Bengal's patented mustard and green chilli paste, shredded coconut, mustard oil. The wrapping part is only time consuming. I think you will do it happily while you visualise soft, juicy pieces of fish smeared with spices on a bed of piping hot rice....ready on your table.

INGREDIENTS :
Any White Fish Fillets : 500 gm
Black Mustard Seeds : 4 tbsp
Green Chillies : 6[adjust as per your taste]
Shredded Coconut : 1 small cup
Salt : As required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Mustard Oil : 4 tbsp
Banana Leaves[for wrapping] : As required cut into shapes and sizes to wrap the fish fillets well

PROCEDURE :
Wash and cut the fish fillets into medium pieces. Wash the mustard seeds through a strainer. Blend together mustard seeds, green chillies, little salt and water as required to form a paste. Marinate the fish fillets with this paste adding the shredded coconut and turmeric powder. Add salt as required. Drizzle mustard oil over the marinated fish and mix well. See the picture below.




Clean and cut the banana leaves into sizes required to wrap the fish pieces nicely. See the above picture to have an idea of how should be the shape and size of the banana leaves. Yuppie you get fresh banana leaves in Singapore....just as in at my own place. Now wrap each fish fillets properly and tighten the loose ends with tooth picks. Authentically its done with cotton threads. See the picture below.



Now take a frying pan. Pour few drops of oil on it and spread well. Switch on the gas at medium flame. Put the frying pan on the gas. Once warm, arrange the wrapped fish pieces over the greased frying pan. Put the flame at low. See the picture below.



Cook one side for about 15 minutes at low flame. Then turn over and cook for another 15 minutes. The colour of the green leaves will turn brown slowly. This means they are done. See  the picture below.



Unwrap and Enjoy with piping hot steamed rice !! It never goes well with any kind of fried rice or flat breads.

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