Thursday, 19 February 2015


Oh fish...dear fresh water love...I miss you all so much!! Singapore too is a fish loving nation but they eat sea fish mainly. Surrounded by sea, it is quite natural. As a contrast, Bangladesh and WestBengal are in the laps of rivers, we have grown eating a variety of fresh water fish. Once you visit a fish market in Kolkata, you will understand how much we are obsessed with fish. On saturdays and sundays, fish prices are skyrocketed, Bengali babus are not bothered. If the fish is fresh, it should be in my bag....all investment are done on food, this  community spends maximum on pleasing the tummy, lest everything else.

This fish curry I made on my last visit to Kolkata. Took picture then and posting now. But I cannot stop myself from sharing a story. The day before Shivratri, I went to the Indian market to buy flowers and holy basils and bael leaves. Crossing by the fish market, I suddenly saw fresh Pabda[pink bellied Butter fish] and Aar[long-whiskered catfish]....and I stuck there in front of the expression was as if my son topped at the board examination. Had a long conversation with the stall owner....I said why do not you get it on  regular basis, I immediately took responsibility on behalf of the Bengali community in Singapore and said I will get you customers. She was skeptical whether she would get to sell them or not. She gets them from Burma. The true Bong in me was so happy, back home called my mom and said, "Maa, got fresh Pabda today." She started giving the recipes. I said, mommy dear, you are forgetting...I can cook too. Indian moms can never think that their kids are grown up.

So the fish you can see is Pabda [pink bellied Indian butter fish]. It has very less bones. A very light fish, we cook light curry with it using minimal spices. The dumplings you can see are called Boris. They are dry lentil dumplings made mainly of urad dal. We use them in different curries. I doubt if they are found outside Bengal or not, so you may skip using it. 

Pabda Fish[ butter fish] : 4
Bori : 6
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1tsp
Kalojirey[nigella seeds/kalonji] : 2 pinches
Salt : As required
Turmeric : 1tsp
Coriander Leaves : 1 sprig
Mustard Oil : 3tbsp + 1tsp

At first, we have to clean the stomach of the fish. This fish does not have scales. So you are at an advantage. This is a very soft and delicate fish. So you need to handle it carefully just like a newly wed bride.You can clean the stomach using two fingers. Just insert your fingers from the sides of head and pull out the stomach dirt. Please do not cut the belly to clean. Also tear the two long whiskers from the head. Wash thoroughly. Drain excess water.

Add half tsp turmeric powder, salt and 1tsp oil to the fish and rub well. Heat oil in a wok till smoking point. Fry the fish  lightly in batches at medium to low heat. Be very careful to avoid breaking. Fry the boris till light brown and keep aside.

Temper the same oil with nigella seeds. Take a bowl and mix together ginger and chilli paste, salt and half tsp turmeric. Add the spice mix to the oil. Fry till the spices separate from the oil. Add 1 cup water. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the fish pieces and boris. Boil for another 1 minute. Add pre-washed chopped coriander leaves.Switch off.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with piping hot steamed rice!!


  1. Soma, I couldnt get what Bori means.. Relating to a newly wed bride took me years back to 1999. :))

    1. Bori is kind of dried lentil balls... we usually get in West Bengal only... you can do without it...