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Fish Recipes

Five hilsa alternatives that’ll tide you over till prices calm down

Gurjali fish fingers or ‘shol maacher dhoka’ could be your new go-to Sunday staple

Pooja Mitra | Published 23.07.22, 04:36 PM
Maachh, recipes and more…

Maachh, recipes and more…

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There’s no topping the slick, oily ilish fry it, smoke it or slather it with mustard — the queen of fish will never let you down. However, the soaring prices have made it difficult for most Kolkatans to indulge in their favourite monsoon afternoon ritual of savouring a hilsa lunch. 

If you too crave a taste of ilish every other day, but can’t make peace with the spike in prices, there are plenty of other fish in the sea… and river. Here are five fish recipes that are just as tasty, so you can reserve the pricey ilish bhaja for the special occasions.

Silver carp bhapa

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Representational Image

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Much like the hilsa, the carp too is a freshwater fish that shares hilsa’s oily texture. It is also a source of good fatty acids. The silver carp is easy to cook and full of flavour. You can try every technique, be it bhapa, rosha, kosha, jhol or jhal

This 20-minute bhapa (steam) recipe is ideal for days when your heart is craving ilish, but your pocket says no. 

Ingredients

  • Silver carp: 7-8 pieces
  • Yellow mustard: 2 tablespoons
  • Poppy seed paste: 2 tablespoons
  • Slit green chillies: 5-6
  • Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon (Optional)
  • Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Lime juice: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
  • Mustard oil

Recipe

  • Marinate the fish pieces with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder
  • Soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds for 10-15 minutes and make a fine paste. Add a pinch of salt, one green chilli and lime juice while making the paste
  • Marinate the fish with the spice paste
  • Grease a tiffin box or steaming container of your choice with a dollop of mustard oil. Place the pieces and pour any spice paste remaining. Add the slit green chillies and drizzle some mustard oil on the top
  • Heat water in a kadhai and place the tiffin box in it (the container should be half-submerged in water)
  • Steam for 15-20 minutes, check seasoning, drizzle some more mustard oil and serve piping hot.

Shol maacher dhoka

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Representational Image

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Looking for a cheat-day recipe? Get your hands on some shol. The striped snakehead is a popular item in Bengali households. You can try to make a tel kosha or go for the humble and savoury shol dhoka.

Ingredients

  • Shol fish: 500 gm
  • Potatoes: 2-3 cut into medium dices
  • Onions: 2 large finely chopped
  • Tomato: 1 large chopped into dices
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tablespoon
  • Green chilli paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 3-4 slit
  • Cumin powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder: 1 and ½ tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Whole garam masala spices: 1 teaspoon
  • Garam masala powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilli: 2
  • Ghee: 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard oil

Recipe

  • Cut the fish into small cubes and marinate with one tablespoon, each of ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste. Add ½ teaspoon each of coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and red chilli powder. Add salt and mustard oil and keep aside for a minimum of 15-20 minutes
  • In a non-stick pan, shallow fry the fish, and then the potatoes
  • Add bay leaf, dry red chilli and garam masala, and let the spices temper
  • Add chopped onion and saute till golden and translucent. Next goes the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli paste. Fry for about two minutes before adding the dry powdered spices — coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chilli and a pinch of salt
  • Add the green chillies and tomatoes. Sauté till oil leave the surface of the spice mix
  • Add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the fish pieces. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes
  • Add water, salt and sugar. Cook till the potatoes and fish are cooked (it should take about 20 minutes)
  • Sprinkle garam masala powder and ghee. Serve hot with some hot steamed rice

Boal kalia

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Also known as helicopter catfish or wallago catfish, boal is an underrated gem in the fish family. It’s best cooked with a tangy gravy or as a rich, flavourful kalia. The boal kalia can be made in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Boal fish: 500 gm
  • Onion: 2 large finely chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 and ½ tablespoon
  • Tomato
  • Whole dry red chilli
  • Red chilli powder paste: 2 tablespoon
  • Whole cumin-coriander seed paste: 2 tablespoon
  • Green chilli paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 2-3 slit
  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Whole garam masala: 1 teaspoon
  • Whole dry red chilli: 2
  • Garam masala paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Lime juice: ½ teaspoon
  • Potatoes: 2 large cut into medium dices
  • Tomatoes: 1 large and 1 medium cut into medium dices
  • Salt 
  • Sugar
  • Mustard oil
  • Ghee

Recipe

  • Marinate fish with salt and turmeric. Shallow fry till golden brown and keep aside
  • Fry the potatoes till golden brown
  • Saute bay leaf, dry red chilli and whole garam masala in oil
  • Add the chopped onions, a pinch of salt and sugar and cover cook till the finely chopped pieces are golden brown and soft
  • Add the ginger-garlic, tomato, whole-dried red chilli, whole cumin coriander seed paste and green chilli paste one after the another at a gap of 3-4 minutes, allowing each spice mix well and leave traces of oil. Sprinkle some water and cook the spice base well
  • Put in turmeric, a pinch of salt and sugar, lime juice, Kashmiri red chilli powder and cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and mix well, cook for about 4-5 minutes
  • Add water and cook till the potatoes are almost ready. Put the fried fish pieces in the curry and give a good boil with the lid on for 5 minutes
  • Sprinkle some ghee and add the garam masala paste, give a good 30-second stir and cook and switch off the flame.

Gurjali fish finger

Representational image

Representational image

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Rainy day fish fingers are well and good, but how about a little twist? Make crunchy finger bites with fillets of gurjali, which is also knowns as the Indian salmon. Pair this crispy number with a steaming cuppa.

Ingredients

  • Gurjali fillet: 300 gm cut into fish finger size
  • Onion-ginger-garlic-green chilli paste: 1 and ½ tablespoon
  • Lime juice: 1 tablespoon
  • Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilli: 1-2 finely chopped
  • Coriander powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Bread crumbs: 200gm approx
  • Eggs: 2
  • Salt
  • Sugar: A small pinch
  • Vegetable oil

Recipe

  • Marinate the fillets with all the spices and leave aside for a minimum of 20 minutes
  • Beat the eggs till they are light and fluffy, with a pinch of salt
  • Heat oil, coat the fillets in breadcrumbs and egg and deep fry till golden brown

Serve hot with a dollop of kasundi on the sides

Aar kosha

Representational image

Representational image

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The fatty Aar/Aor or ​​Seenghala is a popular fish and a rich source of calcium and protein. The aar kosha is the perfect recipe for a monsoon lunch!

Ingredients

  • Aar fish: 500 gm
  • Onion: 2 large finely chopped
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 and ½ tablespoons
  • Tomato-green chilli-lime juice paste: 2 tablespoons
  • Green chilli: 3-4 slit
  • Turmeric: 1 tablespoon
  • Dry red chilli: 1 tablespoon
  • Kashmiri red chilli powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Whole cumin: 1 tablespoon
  • Whole coriander: 1 tablespoon each
  • Whole garam masala paste: 1 and ½ teaspoons
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Whole cumin- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
  • Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil
  • Ghee

Recipe

  • Marinate the pieces with salt and turmeric powder and shallow fry
  • Add bay leaf and whole cumin in hot oil and temper in medium flame till the cumin seeds are light brown
  • Fry the onion in two parts - a) while half of it will be golden brown, b) the other half will be good and smooth beresta. Take out the beresta part and store for later
  • In the fried onion, add ginger-garlic paste, tomato paste and the dry spice paste (within a gap of 3-4 minutes). Cook well till oil leaves the surface and add the green chillies
  • Add ½ teaspoon garam masala paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Now, add the beresta and cook for 4-5 minutes

Add water and make the gravy. Add the fish pieces and boil for about 6-8 minutes before adding the remaining garam masala powder and ghee. Serve piping hot and dig in with warm rice and a slice of lemon

Last updated on 23.07.22, 04:40 PM
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