Bengali people and fish are inseparable identity. Here in Malaysia, I am being introduced to many local fishes on a regular basis. One among them is ''Belanak'' or gray mullet fish here. Belanak is a local fish and even more popular in Indonesia. These fishes are small and it reminds me of our very own ‘Puti’ and’ Morula’ fish. Although the ones I picked up are little bigger, more of size of our palms, some can even grow bigger than that as well. Any recipe with morula and puti can very well be incorporated with Belanak also.
This is our way of making belanak fish- Bengali way.Belanak fish can also be eaten if they are deep fried and goes very well with sambal belacan – a very spicy condiment served along with ‘nasi lemak’- a fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves here.
Belanak Fish curry (Gray mullet fish curry)
- About 12-15 small belanak
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes
- 3-4 Thai red chilly
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 5-6 shallots
Spices and seasonings
- 1 tsp of turmeric powder (½ tsp of stir/fry and ½ tsp for rubbing on belanak)
- 2 tsp of red pepper powder
- ½ tsp of coriander powder
- 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
- 3-4 Thai red chillies
- 5-6 tbs of mustard oil
- 1/2 tsp of Kalo jeerey/nigella seeds
- Clean, and remove scales of belanak fish. Clean the fish stomach as well.
- Rub in fish with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside.
- Heat up a fry pan, add 2 tbs of mustard oil, add in belanak fish and stir/fry them for about 2-3 mints flipping sides as well. Take out in a separate bowl.
- In that fry pan itself, add more mustard oil, add in nigella seeds, chopped garlic and Thai red chilies.
- Now add in tomato and shallots slit in between as well. Keep on stir/fry for about 5-6 mints at medium high flame.
- Now add in turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and salt. Sprinkle little bit of water and keep on stir/fry.
- Add in fried belanak fishes.
- Add in one –two cups of water depending upon the consistency of curry. Cover and cook for 7-8 mints or till fishes are cooked through well.
- Take out in a serving bowl. This goes well with warm cooked rice.
Happy cooking friends