Shobho nababorsho everyone out in Bengal sorry Paschim Bonga and to all "probashi", living outside Bengal and even outside India.
Ideally it should have been some “mishti mukh” but this time I thought of slightly going off conventional path.So, presenting to you this paturi recipe with a phoren’er mach haddock. We have liked eating paturi with ilish, chingri and bhetki back home. But I guess I have to wait, wait for particular trip towards the other end of the city from where we live now, and then go extra mile to get back home, fresh catch of the day-read here imports from Bangladesh. Well it’s not even fresh here; all we get here is frozen fish.
Lucky me, we had a lovely fishmonger in our local supermarket here, who runs special deal offers to promote fish eating habits here in locals. Now when I do grocery shopping, I see rush in meat and poultry section, but I hardly notice any anticipated movements near the fish aisle. So, whenever I hop on towards the fishmonger, he knew he has a genuine customer who is really eager to try out many new fish, after all what Bengali if not eating fish.
It’s spring break here so my daughter accompanied me to shopping this time. That day he got in conversation with my daughter, what fish she likes to eat etc, and he praised her for trying out fish and liking it. I know there is nothing special about a fish eating Bengali kid, but is special for a kid here who is constantly adjusting in her new environment and where most of her school friends don’t like eating fish which is a big deal here; standing firm to the likings you believe in. Bless her for her courage. Even her school has some exciting fish recipes as school dinner cod bites, and fish fingers to promote healthy fish eating habits.
I got vine leaves packet from the middle-eastern grocery walah here which worked perfectly as a substitute for banana leaf. Now the only problem was the steamer part. I technically don’t have a steamer, so I created one just to steam the leaves with shorshe haddock. I put a strainer/colander over a large saucepan with water filled up to half. And let the water come to boiling. Then I placed the individual haddock leaves packet into the strainer/colander and covered the top with the saucepan lid. Steamed this way for about half an hour to 40 mints and our paturi was ready.Paturi as such should be eaten with warm cooked rice.
I don’t know the origin of paturi, but my grandmother used to make paturi who happened to be from Dhaka, if that points towards Bangal , so it be.Paturi is derived from “pata” which is a Bengali word for leaves, as the fish portions with all the “moshla” is wrapped neatly with banana leaves and then steamed. There is vegetarian paturi recipe as well. I have heard of potol paturi and mochar paturi, but I have never tried making it, so can’t get into those details (wish I had my grandmother with me to tell about these recipes, as she used to mention about these unusual recipes quite often.May be it's tale of the past now ! )
But for the time being here is Haddock Mach'er Paturi
Haddock Mach’er Paturi
2 haddock fillet or 350 gms of fish , cut into 2 inch long pieces
8-10 vine leaves
Thread to tie the packets
For the mustard paste
4-5 heaped tbs of shorshe/black mustard seeds or yellow mustard seeds
2-4 heaped posto/ white poppy seeds
1 tbs of yogurt
3-4 green chilies
½ cup of fresh coconut or desiccated coconut (optional)
½ tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
Salt as per taste
Pinch of sugar
mustard oil- 2-3 tbs
Wash the haddock fillet and pat them dry with kitchen towel.And removes fish scales if any rubbing potato peeler over the fish skin, make sure you do the strokes gently. Or better ask your fishmonger to remove the scales.
Rub holod (turmeric powder), salt (noon) generously over the fillet.
Now prepare the mustard paste
It would be better to soak- mustard seeds, cashews and white poppy seeds in enough water at least 1 hr before you start making the shorshe Bata ( mustard paste )
Many a times, poppy seeds or coconut are not added.
Blend all very well in mixer – mustard seeds, white poppy seeds, green chilies, and cashews
Adjust with salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder and about 2 tbs of mustard oil. Mix all very well.
Now take the vine leaves. Place the marinated haddock fillet and then smear about a 1-2 tsp of mustard paste over it, place half of a green chilly. Now tie thread along the vine leaves to make a parcel or small packet.
Use other fillet to make parcels in similar way. This much of quantity made about 4 parcels.
Steam the parcels for about half an hour to 40 mints.
Serve hot with warm cooked rice.
Paturi is a preparation where fish is steamed all wrapped in leaves preferably banana leaves as banana leaves are readily available in rural Bengal. In fact every house has two or four banana plants in their backyard or courtyard. Here in foreign land, I don’t have that liberty so used vine leaves as substitute.
Even these parcels can be baked in oven but in water bath just like Mishti Doi , is prepared in oven.
Salmon fillet/Cod fillet/tilapia fillet/kipper fillet/sea bass fillet can be used in place of haddock fish fillet if you wish to experiment in foreign land.And traditionally chingri ( shrimp) or golda/bagda chingri ( jumbo prawn) , bhetki ( similar to sea bass ) and ilish ( Hilsa ) can be used in India.
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Shubho Naba Borsho'er Onek Priti O Shubecha , happy cooking friends..