Mourola Macher Bati Charchari

9:18 PM

It's been almost 10 days that I haven't stepped out of the house. 9th day without any househelp and 4th day of the nationwide lockdown. But I am not complaining. Rather I find ourselves fortunate to have a roof over our head, food on our table and the opportunity to work from home when we need it the most.

But that does not mean we are being responsible. The time is hard and the time will be harder in months to come. We need to be prepared, need to be more empathetic and help each other to sail through. Resources are and will be limited. Using them wisely will only ensure how we all will do in the future. As they say, charity begins at home- I am trying to minimise the use of the available pantry to us. And why only pantry, we need to minimise the use of cooking fuel too. So Following the recipe of crisp fried potato peels here is another simple dish of Mourola macher Bati charchari. Mourola is similar to Anchovies and we Bengalis love to make delicious dishes out of it.

Bati charchari is a simple dish where ingredients are mixed and set to cook in it's own juice. You will find many recipes of bati charchari in Bengali wife's repertoire. Like vegetable bati charchari, Vegetable peels and offals bati charchari, Potato bati charchari and so on.
the idea behind this dish is to cook everything together with some mustard paste and oil. Sometimes the dish is steamed inside a steel tiffin box and sometimes it's mixed and cooked on a slow flame for sometimes. Since nothing is precooked or fried (as is the case for Bengali cooking), freshly caught fish are used in this dish. I generally prefer to slightly fry the fish before using for two reasons, Firstly we buy fish from the market which sometimes isn't very fresh and secondly, frying makes the fish slightly sturdy and it does not break easily while cooking.

So here is the easy recipe.
Please see other options in the Notes.

Mourola macher bati charchari

Mourola/ Indian anchovies: 150 gms
Potato: 2 medium
Onion: one medium
Tomato: 1 medium
Green chilies: 3-4
Mustard oil: 1 tbsp+1 tbsp
Mustard paste 1 tbsp
Pepper powder: a fat pinch
Fresh coriander leaves: for flavour

Clean and wash the fish. Drain and mix with salt and turmeric. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
In the meantime peel the potatoes and cut in 1/3" thick batons. Wash and keep aside.
Peel, wash and finely slice the onion. Chop the tomato and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai and place all the fish pieces in it. On high heat let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Then carefully flip them over. Cook another 2 minutes. Switch of the flame.
Now place everything in the kadhai except the oil and mustard paste. Sprinkle salt and turmeric and pepper powder. Slit the green chilies and add. Carefully mix them.

Now mix the mustard paste with 1/2 cup water and pour in. add the Mustard oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let it cook on low flame for 8-10 minutes or till the potatoes are done. If needed add little more water. This dish does not have much gravy but the gravy should be thickened and coat the ingredients.
If you have can add some coriander leaves at the end.
Serve with steamed rice.

A Homemaker's Notes:

  1. You can even make this dish with Rohu or Carp. Cut the chunks in small 1" pieces. Lightly fry and then cook as mentioned.
  2. You can make a simple vegetable curry like this with brinjal, any Danta (stems of pumpkin/cauliflower/ zuchhini/ bottle gourd etc), Carrots, bits and bobs of any vegetable. Cut those in 1/2" thick strips and cook as mentioned

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