MACHER KALIA.....typical of Bengal.... its rich, spicy, finger licking and obviously not an every day curry. Long back, in our childhood, at Bengali weddings it was typical Bengali Food fair. Catering services had not overtaken the duty of taking care of the guests. In all family weddings and others I have seen family members and friends serving food to the guest, there was a warm, caring, unprofessional touch in the work done. It was in these weddings that dishes like Macher Kalia, Red, Hot Mutton Curry, Roshogolla, Sandesh, Dal, Eggplant fry, Panchmeshali Torkari were served.... all very typical of Bengal. The greedy, food loving little girl ate them all and licked her finger and never missed her pan[[beetle leaf] before leaving. I missed that personal touch, that warmth in the Bengali weddings later..... now a days it is more of show off, from choosing the venue to selecting the menu. I believe at least in few occasions we can stick to our tradition, preserve it, highlight it.
In some states of India, they do follow their own tradition, gather in their own ancestral home, in whichever part of the world they live, they will, feast on their traditional food. I so much love and honour their feeling. I wish to celebrate my son's wedding the typical Bengali way with a typical Bengali food fair served in earthen ware on top of banana leaves. Few childhood memories and tradition I would love to treasure and follow whenever possible. MACHER KALIA was prepared at home too but occasionally given its richness. We usually do it with ROHU fish but any white fish can be used.
Rui/Rohu Fish [or any white fish fillet] : 500 gm
Onion Paste : 3 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2 tsp[optional]
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1 tbsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch stick
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cloves : 2
Bayleaf : 1
Raisins : 7-8
Oil [preferably mustard] : 5 tbsp
Wash the fish pieces and rub salt and half tsp turmeric on them.
Prepare all the pastes.
Heat oil in a pan and fry all the fish pieces till light brown.
Temper the same oil with cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves and a bayleaf.
Add the onion paste and fry till golden brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry very well for 2 minutes.
Beat the yogurt and pour into the spice mix. Stir.
Add the salt, cumin powder, turmeric powder, chilly powder. Fry for another 1 minute.
Add one cup water.
As the gravy boils, add the fish pieces and cover.
After 3-4 minutes, uncover and add the sugar and raisins, let cook for 1 more minute.
Its done. Serve with piping hot steamed rice.