Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Koi Macher Paturi (Climbing Perch Wrap)

Koi Macher Paturi

After almost half a year I am back to Kolkata for a vacation. It feels so much good. No office deadlines, no waking up early, no cooking dinner or doing the dishes, only having pure rest and lot's of food. Kolkata means dedar adda and jomie bhuribhojon. The mecca of Rasta food (Street food) Kolkata never disappoints me in its lip smacking egg chicken rolls, tangy fuchkas and spicy jhalmuris. But above all I look forward to indulge in myriad delectable fish preparations on each day of my stay. In the first week of my stay at my in-laws home my father-in-law made sure that we had a different type of fish everyday knowing well my love for it. In the following week my mom is making sure the same trend continues. Everyday there is a baina (request) from me and she happily obliges every time. i had a craving for Koi paturi from long so ma decided to make it today.

Paturi is a cooking process in which raw fish slathered in spice paste is wrapped in a particular kind of leaf and steamed together. Usually if you search on net the only paturi that you would come across is fish in mustard-poppy paste and wrapped in banana leaves, which is more of a Ghoti Cuisine. But the Bangal way of making a paturi has some variations. Koi paturi is made by wrapping the fish (smeared in Jeera paste) in a lau pata (Bottle gourd leaves). My maternal forefathers belonged to Faridpur in Bangladesh. This recipe of  Koi Paturi has been handed down through generations in our family and it still much in vogue.

My Dadu (grandpa) was a connoisseur of Traditional Bengali cooking. He knew his food well and loved everything that my Dida (grandma) made.  During Holidays when me and my cousin visited Dadur Bari, Dadu used to literally stuff us with so much food that it would usually lead to a tummy upset but yet he would never let us miss the pathar mangsho, Bhaja illish and Koi paturi. Food would be cooked in huge pots and pans and the entire family of 9 people would sit down together to eat. It was no less than a big picnic everyday during lunch and dinner. As the lids were taken off the amazing aromas would simply captivate us.Gone are those days of big family luncheon, but the recipes are still much alive within our family.

Note: The Koi I am referring to here is not to be confused with its Japanese namesake.

The first and most important step towards making this piquant recipe is getting the right kind of fish and leaves to wrap. The fishes should be as fresh as they can be and the lau pata needs to be tender enough.
Fresh Produce

Here is the secret recipe from our Kitchen.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes (includes cleaning the fish)

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


Cuisine: Bengali

  • Koi Mach - 4
  • Tender Lau Leaves (Bottle gourd leaves) -  8 (2 Big leaves  per fish)
  • Fresh Jeera Paste (Cumin Paste) -  4 tbsp
  • Green Chilli - 4 (withing the paturi) + 1 (in Jeera Paste)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Mustard oil - 3 tsp

1. Clean the fish. Make two 2" thin cuts into each side of the fish. This is for the spices to enter into the fish properly.

2. Marinate the fish with turmeric, salt and sugar for 10 minutes

Marinated Koi Mach

3. Wash the leaves and cut from nodes.

Fresh Lau Pata
4. Make a uniform paste of Jeera and 1 green chillies using shil nora or mixer.

Jeera paste 
 You can add poppy paste also along with the Jeera Paste. Reduce the amount of Jeera Paste according to the amount of poppy paste that you are adding. In total it should be 4 tbsp. 

5. Smear the Jeera paste on the fishes uniformly. Adjust the salt. Keep it for about 5 mins

6. Drizzle the mustard oil on the fish and mix well

Fishes lathered in spices
7. Take 2 leaves at a time and place one on the other in opposite direction ( Suppose the first leaf tip faces you so when you place the next one it should face away from you.

8. Place the fish in the middle along with some spice paste

Wrapping the fish

9. Place a green chilli in the middle of the fish

Watch the Wrapping Process video 

10. Wrap the fish well so that no part remains exposed. Tie it well with a thread. Prepare the other fishes in the same way.

When this was prepared at Dadu's home, chillies were not placed inside the paturis meant for children. To distinguish between the paturies, different colored threads were uses.e.g. for paturies without chillies red thread was used and for the others white ones were used.  This made it more interesting because we children thought we were getting the special ones among the lot.
The wrapped Fishes
11. This preparation is served with rice so wash and clean the rice and place it in the cooker. Add necessary water for the rice to get cooked. Place the wrapped fishes one by one on the rice bed. Close the lid and pressure cook for two whistles or as required for the rice to get cooked properly.

12. Once the rice is done, let the steam sit inside the cooker for a while like 5 minutes and then open the lid. As soon as you open the lid you will be greeted with the soft aroma of Jeera. As the color of the leaves and haldi will seep into the rice, the rice will take on a pale yellow look. This nice and flavoury rice can be eaten alone as well with a pinch of salt. The fishes will be well steamed by now.

In a serving dish, serve the Fish Paturis( still wrapped) over a small bed of the flavoury rice. When you eat it you need to open the knot and take out the fish from the leaf. Mix the leaf and spices with the rice, add a pinch of salt if required and enjoy it along with the fish. This is a complete dish in itself, it doesn't need to be accompanied by a daal or jhol (gravy). But if you are not used to eating dry, you can have it with any sides you want. But its best eaten as it is.

Serving the paturi on a bed of flavored rice

Pardon the blurring of the serving picture as it was pretty difficult to take some decent pictures with hungry people thronging me.

If you like this post, do share it with others. Also I would like to read your comments regarding this recipe.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

Narkel diye Cholar Daal ( Chana Daal)

This sweet and ravishing Bengali daal is a candidate for any special occasions or during festivals in a Bengali Household. It has a royal air about it and definitely not a everyday dish. It pairs up best with fulko luchis or motorshutir kochuri, but is also taken along with rice and vegetable fritters. The mild heat from the fragrant dried red chillies, the subtle sweetness from the assorted dry fruits, the crunchiness of the ghee fried coconut and the alluring aroma of the ghee and freshly grounded garam masala weaves a magic that makes everyone succumb to its delectable taste.  I may as well put it this way that this is the King of all Daals. Have it once and you will never forget its lip licking taste.

My mother didn't like coconut in her dishes hence whenever she used to prepare cholar daal it would be the simpler version without dry fruits and coconut. But it would also taste super and go with any of the day to day vegetables sides like chorchori or ghonto. Specially cholar daal with badhakopir ghonto was one of my hot favorites. Now a days balancing work and home becomes so tedious that to make such a lavish daal meticulously you need much time at hand. Which is why I rarely make this one. Also Cholar daal is a heavy daal because of the big list of ingredients that go into the making of it, hence cant be consumed on a daily basis especially in this age of highly health conscious people. But once in a while indulgence is allowed and much needed too.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Cuisine: Bengali

  • Chan Daal - 250 gm
  • Ginger -  2 tsp
  • Hing Powder- 1 tsp
  • Corriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Jeera Powder - 1 tsp
  • Bay Leaf- 2
  • Dried Red Chilli - 2
  • Tomato - 1 medium sized
  • Fresh coconut - Palm sized piece
  • Cardamom - 4
  • Cinnamon stick - 1  "
  • Clove - 4
  • Kismis - 8-9 
  • Turmeric powder - a small pinch
  • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Sugar - 4 tsp 
  • Refined oil - 1/2 cup
  • Ghee - 4 tsp


1. Soak the Chana daal for an hour before cooking.

2. Grate the ginger and keep it in a small bowl. Add the coriander, jeera powder and 1 tsp water and mix well.

3.  Soak the hing powder in 1 tsp water and keep aside.

4. Chop the  fresh coconut into 1/2" pieces.

5. Heat 1 tsp ghee and fry the chopped coconut pieces till they turn a dark shade of brown. Take out the coconut pieces from ghee.

6. Pressure cook the chana daal and fried coconut pieces.

7Grind the cardamom, cinnamon stick and clove coarsely in a mortar pestle.

8. Heat oil and 2 tsp ghee in a deep bottomed pan. Add the Bay leaf, red chilli, jeera, grounded spices into the oil.

9. Chop the tomato finely into small pieces.

10. When the spices are fragrant add the chopped tomatoes.

Tomato adds to the beautiful yellow hue of the chana dal.

11. Add the ginger paste made in step 2.

12. Cook till the tomato is all mushy and oil separates. 

13. Add the hing mix made in step 3. 

14. Add the Kismis into the wok. Add the pressure cooked chana daal into the wok. Add turmeric powder.

15. Adjust the salt and sugar. This daal is supposed to be more on the sweeter side so adjust the sugar accordingly. 

16. Stir well and let it cook till done.

17. Add 1 tsp of ghee and sprinkle 1 tsp of garam masala powder uniformly over the boiling dal. Stir well. Cover and remove from the heat. 

Serve it with rice with Brinjal or potato fritters as sides.


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