Ok. So here is another fish curry from one more Bengali blogger. So what if every Bengali in the blogging block have posted similar or different version of this dish, no way that will deter me from posting mine. Jokes apart but this is our second most favorite fish recipe after Ilish Macher Jhal and a must for any gathering or special occasion. This ubiquitous fish dish will greet you on a birthday bash, wedding ceremony, house warming feast, Family gathering or even on Sunday special luncheons. This also is my first fish preparation that I cooked for my friends. Those days I hardly cooked non veg but friends asked for a party after I landed my first job and settled in my rented flat. One weekend evening a bunch of them attacked my place in demand of a party at a popular restaurant. Over a lot of argument I served them my favorite one dish dinner, Mushroom Pasta. They ate in silence and then decided on having a party at my place with food cooked by me. They decided the menu all by themselves which included some fish preparation. I called up Dida for Macher Kalia recipe and cooked this…till date whenever those friends visit me they make it a point that I cook this.
This is a rich and spicy dish which in no means is to be eaten every day. Kalia actually is a cooking process where the fish or meat is cooked in rich gravy with onion-ginger-garlic and garam masala. Most popularly is cooked with big fishes like Paka Rui (Carp/ Rohu) or Katla, which are big sweet water fishes weighing more than 2 kgs, as The fat from the fish adds more richness to the gravy. Like any other Bengali preparation this one also is very aromatic with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. My Maa also adds some cashews and raisins to it which I absolutely adore. Love the crunch of the cashew mingles with the creaminess of the hot and spicy gravy or those occasional sweet explode of raisins on the tongue.
Today it was raining heavily here and the baby is having equally running nose following which Hubby had to take a day off. I wanted to cook something fancy to wrap up our dinner with one or two preparations. This fitted the bill perfectly and we had a superb dinner with steamed white rice, macher kalia and alu bhaja
Oil: 4 tbsp (more if you are not cooking in non stick kadhai)
Salt Sugar: 1/3 tsp
Wash the fish pieces and smear with salt and turmeric. Keep aside.
Wash, peel and cut the potato in long wedges. Keep aside.
Soak the raisin in water. Mix the cumin-coriander powder with 2 tbsp water and keep aside.
Heat half of the oil and fry the fish pieces till lightly browned on both sides. Drain and reserve.
Now add the rest of the oil and temper with whole cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Tip in the potatoes. Fry lightly with salt.
Add the onion paste and fry on low flame. Once the juice of the onion dries add the ginger and garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder, cashews and salt. Keep frying till oil separates at the sides. This process is called kashano or frying the spices on low flame which is very important for this dish.
Now add the cumin-coriander paste and fry till the raw smell of the spices are gone (approx. 3 mins)
Add in the beaten curd and again fry till everything mixes well. Put the tomato pieces and cook till they are soft and mushy.
Once you see the oils are separating at the sides add 11/2 cups of warm water. Once it comes to boil add the fish pieces, raisins and adjust the seasoning.
Let it cook on medium flame till the gravy thickens and coat the fish pieces nicely.
Sprinkle with garam masala powder and serve hot with white steamed rice.
Vegetarian Version: use chhana or homemade Paneer (how to make chhana HERE) for this. Drain the water and mash with boiled potato, chopped onion, grated ginger, green chillies, salt and bhaja masala. Make small patties, shallow fry till golden brown on both sides. Use these for fish but don't simmer them for long as that might cause breaking of the patties. Will try to post this recipe later.
Mom of two beautiful kids, one 7 years old boy and a 2 years old girl.A true blue Bengali at heart, a self employed Designer who strives to strike a balance between her personal and professional life. Holds her family and memories close to her heart. Finds solace in cooking and feeding with love. You will get to see her whip up old Bengali recipes as well as other kinds from allover the world.