Macher Chop (Fish Croquet)5:35 AM
Somethings in life do not need any introduction and that fits very well for this recipe. Macher chop or Fish croquet is one of the favourite snacks of Bengalis as it combines their love for fish and deep fries in one dish. These little croquet are made out of spiced fish and is coated in bred crumb for a crisp outer coating. It is said that these mighty chops were invented by some innovative cook serving to the British officials.
Us Bengalis are known for our love of fish and with almost 600 rivers in and around this region we have used almost all our tricks to cook it in different ways. But not everyone are highly skilled in putting a piece of fish in their mouth and separate out the bones just by some tongue movement so to make it easier for the Sahibs and to imitate their croquet the cooks came up with this idea of deboning the fish first to make these little fishy goodness.
Rohu (Lobeo Rohita) or Carps are the fish that we generally prefer to make these small croquet. This white fleshed fish absorbs the spices and flavours very well. Generally the peti or belly part of a big Rohu or Carp are used for this but I prefer to use a mix of peti and Gada (belly part and back part of the fish) for a balance of fat and flesh. But you can definitely make it with boneless Basa, Bhetki or any other fish of your choice.
Fish steaks: 8-10 pieces/500 gms (I used Rohu fish)
Potato: 2 medium
Onion: 2 medium
Ginger: 1 tsp
Garlic: 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Chili powder: 1/3 tsp
Green chillies: 3-4
Garam masala powder: 1/3 tsp+1/3 tsp
Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
Raisins: small handful
Peanuts: small handful
Sugar: 1/3 tsp
Oil: preferably a mix of mustard and white oil
Breadcrumbs for coating
Boil the fish pieces with 1/3 tsp garam masala powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric and little salt for 7-10 minutes or they are cooked through. Drain and let it cool down. Once they are cool to touch peel out the skin, separate the bones and mash roughly.
Also boil the potatoes, peel, mash and keep aside.
Finely slice the onion.
Heat 1/2 tsp oil and lightly fry the peanuts. take out, keep aside.
Heat 2 tsp oil and fry the sliced onions on low till it turns translucent (4-5 minutes) now add the ginger-garlic paste, cumin-coriander-chili-turmeric powder and mix. Cook it on low till your see oil starting to separate at the sides. Now add chopped chilli and raisins and mix.
Add in the cooked fish and adjust the salt and sugar. Add the lemon juice. If you like add more chili powder. cook on low till the mash becomes dry and caramelises a little. Mix in the mashed potato and mix. Again check and if needed adjust seasoning. Cook for 2-3 minutes for any extra moisture to dry up. Finally sprinkle the garam masala powder and mix.
Let it cool down.
In the mean time spread the breadcrumb with a pinch of salt on a flat plate.
Beat the egg and keep aside.
Take 2-3 tbsp size fish mixture in your palm and roll, give it any shape you desire. Put in egg mixture and then coat in breadcrumb. MAke sure the crumbs are coated properly on all sides. Place on a plate.
At this stage these could be freezed for upto a month. Make sure you place them in single layer and save them in an air tight container.
Or you can fry them immediately.
Heat enough oil for deep frying. place the chops on fry on medium heat. Make sure all sides are fried properly for an even golden crunchy crumb.
Serve with ketchup, kasundi or any sauce of your choice.