About the food:
Fish Paturi is a traditional delicacy among the Bengalis, in which fishes marinated in mustard and coconut paste are parceled in banana leaf and steamed. The most favourite fish for this dish is river fish Bhetki, because of its fleshiness and being mostly boneless. The next favourite is Hilsa, for those who can overcome its numerous tiny bones. I can remember an incident over my selection of hilsa over bhetki for the fish-paturi dish, in my son's mega-scale birthday party cum family get together in India. Fish-paturi is one of my favourite dish, and in overenthusiam, I entirely missed that hilsa-fish paturi is supposed to be on bones, and not boneless; and I felt like weeping with my heart out as I struggled with the bones.
The main ingrediant of this dish is mustard paste, whose beauty is in its strong pungent flavour. However the mix of the black (which has a strong flavour) and yellow ( which has a milder flavour) mustard seeds could be altered to match the taste bud. I made this dish with white frozen fillets, which tastes wonderful. Try this dish, to have a flavour and taste of Bengal.
Preparation time: 30 mins.
Cooking time: 30 mins.
Ingredients: (serves 5)
500gm of Bhetki/white fish fillet, cut in 3 inches x 3 inches square.
3 tbsp balck mustard seeds ( you can take less of black seeds and more of yellow seeds for milder flavour)
4 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tbsp poppy seeds or 3 tbsp watermelon seeds (magaj-dana)
1/2 cup mustard oil
400 gm freshly grated coconut/ frozen coconut paste
3-4 green chillies
pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste
Banana leaves to wrap + cocktail sticks to pin the leaves/ 1 foil roll
1. Make a smooth paste of the mustard seeds and the poppy/watermelon seeds and green chillies. You can dry grind them and add water to make a paste.
2. Mix the grated coconut, oil, salt and turmeric powder to the paste and mix thoroughly.
3. Marinate the fishes in this paste for 2-3 hours, in the fridge.
4. Cut the banana leaves/ foil papers in big squares. Put one piece of the fish and a heapful of the paste in the centre of the leaf/foil, and cover it entirely so that juices cannot leak. Secure the banana leaf with the cocktail sticks.
5. Steam the wrapped fishes in a pressure cooker/ steamer in low flame for about 20 mins after the steams starts to come out.
6. Remove from the cooker/steamer, and serve with basmati rice. The wrap has to be taken off to have the delicious steamy fish.