Living in a city for years and then leaving the city suddenly is weird, ain’t it! This is exactly what happened to us presently. Hubby recently has opted for an overseas assignment and I and Pasta are shifting to Kolkata now. We just have decided to celebrate our Sunday with some bong delicacy before leaving our small apartment! I ended on making some Bhetki Macher Paturi which is a family favorite.
We visited C R Park last Saturday to pick some fishes as we do at least once in a month. However, our Saturday visit was a bit special this time. It was our last visit there before shifting our base to Kolkata next week. I love to purchase fish from C R Park market though Mehebub feels things are much expensive there and he is right! A single Kola Pata (banana leaf) costs us 50 bucks! Along with Bhetki, I took some Kajori Maach which is a bit rare fish these days! I made Bhetki Macher Paturi which is a family favorite.
Coming to my Bhetki Macher Paturi; this is one of my favorite fish preparation and is a signature Bengali fish dish where Bhetki Maach along with a paste of Mustard and Coconut wrapped in banana leaf and cooked in slow flame and the end result is melting in mouth Bhetki Macher Paturi.
Recipe for this quintessential Bengali dish varies very little in different Bong families, however, there are few tricks that I learned from the Rannar Thakur (traditional Bengali professional cook) who prepared this dish during our Housewarming party in Kolkata. He told me that 2 stage marination played an important role in making makhoner moto norom (as soft as butter) Bhetki Macher Paturi! Level one is to marinate fish chunks with lemon juice and salt for 1 hour and here I modified normal lemon juice with Gondhoraj Lebu (lime) for a prominent taste and then level two is to marinade the fish chunks with the paste of Mustard-Coconut and some spices for around 6 hours or preferably overnight.
This dish can be prepared either in a flat pan or a Microwave oven can also be used to cook it, however, I prefer to use a pan to slow cook Paturi. Though commonly Banana leaf is used to wrap fish chunks for making Paturi. However, Gourd leaves or Lau Pata also give an amazing result. If Paturi is prepared using Gourd leaves then that leave or Saag is also eaten along with the fish chunk. I took some Gourd leaves yesterday from Market and wrapped half of the fishes in Banana Leaves and rest in guard leaves. Surprisingly, the taste was different in two variations of Paturi!
- Bhetki Fish: 750 g (boneless; cut into 10 pieces)
- Black Mustard Seed: 3 Tbsp.
- Grated Coconut: 5 Tbsp.
- Green Chili: 8-10
- Mustard Oil: 4 Tbsp.
- Lemon Juice: 2 Tbsp.
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Banana Leaf: 1 (big)
- Gourd Leaf: 3-4 (optional)
- Thread: as required (toothpick can also be used)
- Wash Bhetki fish chunks and rub Lemon Juice and half of the salt to fish pieces and leave those for 1 hour.
- Make a thick paste of Mustard Seed by adding a little salt.
- Strain that paste through a strainer and discard husk.
- Make a paste of Green Chilies..
- In a bowl take Mustard Paste, grated Coconut, Green Chili paste, salt, Turmeric Powder and Mustard Oil.
- Mix those using a spoon.
- Marinade fish chunks with this paste and give those an overnight stand (5-6 hours). This step is important to get super soft Paturi.
- Take the bowl full of marinated fish out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking.
- Take Banana Leaf and cut it into 6”/6” pieces.
- Now brush little Mustard Oil on the glossy side of Banana Leaf pieces.
- Lightly roast those over low flame for 30 seconds.
- Now take a piece of Banana Leaf and put 1 spoon of the marinade on the middle of the leaf.
- Place a fish chunk on the top of the marinade and finally put some marinade to cover the fish from the top.
- Close the Banana Leaf from four sides to make a close parcel.
- Tie it using a thread as shown in the picture.
- In case the thread is not available or you find this process a bit fussy then just close it using a toothpick.
- Following the process make a parcel of rest of the fish chunks.
- I was not available with sufficient banana leaf and used guard leaf to make the parcel for few pieces.
- Now put some Mustard Oil in a flat pan and place fish parcels over the oil and cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
- Flip all the fish parcels after 10 minutes and cook from the other side by covering the pan with a lid for 10 more minutes.
- Take all the Fish Parcels or Bhetki Macher Paturi and store those in a closed container to enable those to get cooked in own heat.
Serving Suggestion: Hot Steamed Rice goes best with Bhetki Macher Paturi!
Few more Fish recipes apart from Bhetki Macher Paturi from Debjanir Rannaghar: