Bhetki Macher Paturi Recipe

1:39 AM

As the temperature and humidity is soaring almost on a daily basis, my ability and desire to enter the kitchen is decreasing. All I can think of is Panta bhat or something very very light and simple for our daily meals. Though Salads and broth type soups will make the most sense,  but since my father does not eat anything other than Bengali food I have to find a way to balance all the needs.
Steamed and pan-roasted dishes are a great way to do that and if you look into Bengali cuisine there are quite a few recipes using these techniques. I love my bati chorchoris and bhapas, where veggies, greens, stems and even fish is mixed with spices and cooked inside a closed container. Same with paturies which could be made with shellfish, fish, fish roe, veggies, paneer, etc. 

This Bhetki Paturi is something my kids love. So let me share this easy and simple recipe. Sometimes I even steam the spiced fish parcels for a juicier taste. Adding the steamed version in Notes.

Bhetki Paturi
(serves 4)

Boneless Bhetki Fillet: 4 pieces
Mustard paste: 6 tbsp (I use a mix of yellow and black mustard. Please see notes)
Mustard oil: 3 tbsp+1 tsp
Green chilies: 4-6
Freshly scraped coconut: 4-5 tbsp
Banana leaf: 4 pieces (approx. 12"x12" pieces)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Cotton Thread to tie the leaf parcels or use toothpick

Wash the fish pieces and drain very well. Now mix in the lemon juice and pinch of salt. Keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
in another bowl take the mustard paste, 2 chopped chilies, salt. turmeric, mustard oil and grated coconut. Mix very well.
Put the fish pieces in it and very carefully mix them to have the paste all over the fillets. Keep in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Once you are ready to cook, wash the banana leaves properly and drain the water. Place the leaves one by one on naked flame for a few seconds to make them easier to fold (pliable). Do this in a sweeping movement so that the leaves are not blackened or burnt.

Place the glossy side facing you and rub a few drops of mustard oil on top. Place a piece of fish with marinade so that both the top and bottom of the fish has some spices. Place one slit green chili on top and then carefully wrap the leaf over it from all sides, to make a spill proof parcel. Tie with a thread. Do the same for the rest.
Now Take a heavy bottom iron pan or non stick pan. Rub little mustard oil on top and place the parcels. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 8 minutes. Then using a tong turn the parcels over and cook for another 8 minutes.  
If your fish pieces are thick you might need more time. Press the parcel slightly, if it's springy that means you need more time to cook. 
Take them off heat and keep them covered to retain the heat. Serve after 5 minutes with rice and other curries.

A Homemaker's Notes:
  • Mustard paste: I use 3 parts black mustard to 1 part yellow mustard. Yellow mustard has less pungency and balances the whole flavour while adding a slight creamy texture to the dish.
  • If you do not like the pungent taste of mustard much then add 1 part poppy seeds paste to the above mixture.
  • The coconut used in this recipe should be fresh and juicy, not matured and fibruous. It should add some sweetness to the recipe to balance the taste.
  • You can alternatively use any kind of gourd leaves like pumpkin, ashgourd or zuchinni. If leaves are not available then as a last resort you can try making them in foils.
  • To steam the parcels, bring the water in a steamer to boil. Place the steaming basket with the parcels. Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes. Take out and serve. This is juicier.

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