AAR Tera kya hoga?? KALIA!!

The obligatory Biebarir Maacher Kalia is usually prepared with the common carps easily available, like Rohu or Catla. So, those of our friends who are not so accustomed with Bengali diet would think that this fish - eating community seldom experiments. But anyone who have been close to a Khadyo - roshik Bangali would be amazed at the diversified heterogeneity we bring into our kitchens. We have fish varieties for every taste - buds and habits. Let me give you one such instance.

 Few of us, as a child often disliked the job of deboning the fish pieces while having the regular Maacher  jhol - Bhaat for lunch, So, a doting mother would usually prefer cooking a fish with relatively fewer bones to satisfy the protein and omega 3 content for her child. Here enters the Catfish group. Aar maach a.k.a. Long whiskered catfish, commonly found in the rivers and ponds of South Asia suits the job perfectly!! These have much lesser bones but soft meat which can take up the flavours of the gravy wonderfully. Although it seldom makes its way to the luncheon plates in weddings and other such occasions, Aar maach still remains close to the hearts of the no - fuss fish loving group. 

Maacher Kalia, a gorgeous onion - tomato curry ( a combination which can never go wrong ) adorning the fish pieces look like a laborious dish to cook, only but superficially. Dig a bit deeper and you can easily break it down to just basics. Its super easy to make and tasty down to its every last drop. This dish is often cooked with Rohu or Catla but can be prepared with any fish of your choice, literally anything which you can lay your hands on. Since, last weekend after much ado I could successfully convince my husband to go visit the parar Maacher - Bazaar ( local fish market ) for some fresh supplies and he came back with this lovely Aar Maach in his checkered jhola, so this week's quota of Maacher Kalia would be fulfilled with this Catfish!!

  • Aar Maach pieces - 600 grams (approx.)

  • Onion - 1 large, roughly chopped

  • Tomato - 2 medium sized, pureed

  • Ginger - 1 inch, finely grated

  • Green chillies - 2, slit in middle
  • Garam Masala - Cardamom (2), Tejpata (2 small ), Cinnamon stick (1 inch )
  • Turmeric powder - 2 teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil - 4 tablespoon
  • Garam masala powder - a pinch
  • Salt as per taste
  • Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Clean the fish pieces properly and sprinkle them with a teaspoon of turmeric and salt. Smear them well and leave them for around 10 minutes.

  • Heat the mustard oil in a kadhai till it lets out steam. Shallow fry the fish pieces in batches of 3 -4. Be extremely careful and cover the fish with a lid after you put them in the oil as its skin splurts forcefully. Fry each side till slightly brown and take them out on a plate.

  • In the same oil drop in the garam masala and let them splutter.

  • Add the onion slices along with the green chilli and fry them for around 3-4 minutes till slightly golden.

  • Throw in the ginger and stir everything in. Continue frying them for sometime till all the raw smell goes away.

  • Its time to add the tomato puree along with the powdered spices turmeric, salt, chilli powder and cumin powder. Mix everything in and cook the gravy in high heat for at least 10 minutes. 

  • If the masala dries up, add some splashes of water and let it evaporate. This is a very important part of cooking as it leads to the characteristic rich colour of the dish.

  • Finally add in the water as per the required consistency and the fried fish pieces.

  • Bring everything to a boil but remember to keep the flame low. Add the sugar and the garam masala powder and you are good to go.

You can have Kalia with Roti, Naan, Paratha but for me the good old way of eating Maach goes best. Some warm rice to go with it and my lunch is sorted.

Doesn't that sight make you drool?

Welcome to the Fish curry, Kalia style !!


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