Sunday, 17 June 2018


Now that the big event for some of my friends and readers is over, I can go ahead with some Fish Tales.... Was just waiting for the right time, and today is just perfect! Born and brought up in a "nodi matrik" state... love for fresh water fish is natural for me. Therein lies the problem.... In the past eight years of stay in this island, I failed to hug a sea fish except for salmon.... but how long can you have "shorshe salmon" and "grilled salmon".... You can have if not you are a primitive like me.... who finds solace in a "kechki maacher aloo-peyaz chocchori" in absence of a "deshi tyangra, pabda, aar, boyal, dhai, kajoli, charapona" and people have to share pictures of them been sold in front of my eyes! These days I have stopped sharing my pain with our mother, she cannot take anything lightly, the word joke is not in her dictionary and gets so sad ..... It makes me angry... "Mani, I am happy here.... tomai kichu boler upai nei".... I am not happy with the taste of mutton here too which does not necessarily mean I want to go away from this place.... We feel safe and secured here! Neither I am interested in taking a dig at my place of birth except for lamenting over the loose administration.... the well being of my own is definitely a concern. I am anti-ruling party of my country of origin that is true.... I am silly that is also true... but I always treat issues in particular, I do not sew them together!.... There is no pride in mocking a prime minister for practising Yoga.... I am not a good example to follow.... but I will always have good things to say about people who take some care of their body and health.... You do not care about your body only means you do not care about your loved ones.... Let us leave discussions that breed controversies.... situation at this home needs some attention.... the Argentina supporter did not sleep last night it seems.... I woke up exactly at 5:40 am this morning and saw someone smoking, did not answer any of my queries and now sleeping after a cuppa.... I travelled backwards.... the maternal grandfather lived with us from Monday to Friday and spent the weekend at his own palace! He made it sure that we siblings watch cricket, football and lawn tennis religiously.... both him and our father were Argentina supporters, next came Brazil. The brother became a sports lover and his elder sister.... a celebrity maniac. I loved cricket till Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Ravi Shastri, Mohinder Amarnath, Dennis Lillee, the blue eyed David Gower played.... Richie Benaud not in the commentary box?... no point watching! I watched football till Maradona played and enjoyed Lawn Tennis till Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edburg ruled the court .... So, this cannot be called love for sports, I do not even understand the games.... The brother had sports in him.... when his team wins... he takes out "kali-potka, dodoma" from his store, goes to the terrace and burst those crackers without caring about the neighbours! He must be missing our father this World Cup season.... the feet that dribbled did not move a bit in the last seven days of his life! The brother had cricket in him but you know middle class families cannot take risk! One cannot expect the offspring to be Nadia Comaneci and Marie Curie at the same time! Now it worries me to see the brother's slim and trim body turning onto a couched potato like his sister... absolutely uncalled for! If not sports, let me talk something I love... food and greenery! Last Thursday I went to a friend's home and instantly loved her flat.... it has almost a small terrace sized balcony and another adjoining smaller one with the master bedroom... and her husband loves gardening! I fell for their indoor plants and eager to visit the nursery next week... I have some space beside the main door! Several times I requested the boss at this home to rent a ground floor flat that usually comes with a backyard and a wide balcony in this island, that too at a lesser price... who listens to me at this home?.... Tell me only people at ground floor catches dengue? I cannot sacrifice Cristine, he cannot get away with his recent love for some specific car brands and we are very very middle class who are unable to fulfil all their wishes together at a time! Let us eat, travel, enjoy instead... So, that friend of mine is from Midnapore district of Bengal.... to be precise from the tourist spot Mandarmoni... I was lost in the stories of her parent's pond full of fish of my choice, garden occupying acres of land.... No wonder, we got to have "goyna bori"prepared and sent by her mother and sister-in-laws.... amazing taste... she prepared so many items of which "maacher tok" was one and as I said earlier it is little different from the one done in our side of the family! We get a seasoning kind of here "butter cereal"... she used it in a dry prawn starter with crisp curry leaves.... I liked! The rest of the fish varieties I could not have full, I just tasted because the primitive me is craving for a "charaponar tok" in this heat or a "kochi pathar patla jhol" .... because I loved her "dal, ucche aloo bhaja and echorer dalna" way too much.... Our mother do not read my blog.... else she would have fainted knowing her daughter eating vegetables.... that too a bitter gourd.... So, I have high hopes about our son that one day besides a chicken, mutton, prawn and salmon, he may go after his mother and  enjoy an ilish or this FULKOPI ALOO DIYE KOI MAACHER JHOL. I used to love chicken so much, now you see I look for chicken "stir fry cut" to be able to have a little bit.... Instead of stir frying, I ended up into another dish... yummy... to be shared some day.... Bengalis are not so good at stir frying... not a primitive like me... my kinds are always skeptical .... "what if it remains undercooked".... let me enjoy it in an Oriental restaurant... that high heat and wide woks do wonders.

FULKOPI ALOO DIYE KOI MAACHER JHOL is a very common, Bengali dish with the climbing perch fish, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes and few regular spices. Though its price has sky rocketed, this is not the curry a Bengali mother-in-law will wish to do for her son-in-law on the occasion of jamaishashti leaving big sized prawns, mutton, ilish or doi katla .... it is a weekend affair for us! Me at 47 is against the ritual of "jamaishashti".... That my father, husband, brother was / is a son-in-law or the son will be one son-in-law does not matter, I believe it has to stop.... I have seen many a parents go out of the way to treat the son-in-law.... I have seen how discriminated a daughter-in-law is  as against a son-in-law in most homes in our society.... the relationship is same... the treatment different.... why? I am a proud mother of a son does not mean that this inequality does not hurt me.... I am also against the so called feminists' intent of male bashing.... thats so silly.... why do they need a male companion then... Get a balance in your thoughts!  Anyway, I wished to go Bengali today with a very Bengali way of cooking Koi Maach urff Climbing Perch! Its a very favourite fish of mine, We get it fresh too both in some of the local markets and the Asian stores but they are supplies from the neighbouring states.... so the taste could not satisfy me! This dish was made some three months back, I did not feel like buying anymore.... just dreaming of the "borsher dim bhora koi" ever since. Climbing Perch tastes best when caught from a canal... more or less small in size.... they are caught and sold fresh.... Our mother always says that she was the eldest of her six siblings... three sisters and three brothers... so she had to learn everything at a tender age to help her mother.... I do feel proud when she takes pride saying that she learnt cutting a Koi Maach at age 13... better than people saying that "I was the youngest of the siblings and was not allowed to work"... I see they learnt to abuse people who do not fall at their feet with great expertise! Our wrong is not knowing something but  in the inability to accept that there is always someone better somewhere and we must know to appreciate them! Anyway, I cannot be our mother, neither do I have a supply of "unaner chai".... ash of earthen or wooden oven is required to hold the slippery body of this fish.... so I get them cut in the store.... Back in Kolkata, all the effort is worth because of its amazing taste! Here, even the fresh ones taste like Tilapia.... I am not taking a dig at anyone.... some 35 years back our family doctor said Tilapia is good for our body.... just that the couple at this home do not fancy it! Such dishes like FULKOPI ALOO DIYE KOI MAACHER JHOL should be there in a Bengali food blogger's collection.... though I know the majority of my readers will not know what a climbing perch is.... We do the same curry with Bengal Carps, Prawn and Sea Bass, taste definitely will differ! .... Yesterday only I did the same curry with sea bass.. and changed the pictures too! People visit or not, it always feels good to blog on a very authentic dish! This was definitely a winter treat during our childhood! About the picture, something is missing... beside the dal there have to be some vegetables and pakoras.... the top left corner looks very empty, needed some fillers?

If you have not gone through my Chicken Kasha recipe for a long time, please do! I updated the pictures and kept some gravy which is unlikely of this dish.... dunk you chapati or paratha as you wish....



Koi Maach / Climbing Perch : 6-8 [cut and cleaned, washed]
Cauliflower Florets : 10-12 [medium cut,washed]
Potato : 1big [washed, peeled, cut into 8pieces]
Tomato : 1medium [washed, chopped]
Green Chilli : 2 [washed, slitted]
Cumin Seed : 2pinch
Bayleaf : 1
Ginger Paste : 11/2tbsp
Cumin Powder : 2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp +1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 5-6 tbsp + 2tbsp [We always use Mustard Oil]


The cleaning process of Koi Maach take some time as they have got numerous scales! Wash each under running water and rub with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Take the washed cauliflower florets in a microwave proof bowl, add water and little salt. Microwave at high for 6-8 minutes. Let cool to drain the water. This helps to get rid of the hidden insects if any. I am not my couple friends, the Sher protagonists Suchandra & Joydip Kundu, so I cannot kiss flies & insects.... I am scared of them. Steaming the cauliflower before cooking also helps a "Bengali pet from gola-buk jola, ambaler dhekur"....

Rub little salt and turmeric to the steamed cauliflower florets and washed potato pieces. Keep aside for 5 minutes or so.

Heat oil in a wok and lightly fry the cauliflower florets and potato pieces separately and in batches. Take out. Fry the fish pieces lightly in batches.

Add little more oil to the existing oil and bring to heat! Temper with cumin seeds and a bay leaf!

Add the ginger paste, 1/2tsp turmeric powder, salt as required. Stir for 2 minutes or so. Add the tomato pieces and fold in well.

Keep stirring till the tomato pieces melt.... Add the cumin powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and keep stirring for another 1minute or so. Add 11/2 coffee mug of water. Give a gentle stir.

Cover cook at low heat for 2 minutes. Open cover and add the fried potatoes. Cover cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Open cover and add the fried fish and cauliflower florets. Gently stir once. Cover cook at low heat for 3 minutes or so.

We are done. Enjoy hot with piping hot steamed rice.... I am not happy with the pictures.... the dal should have some "bhajabhuji" / pakoras by its side!