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Bhetki Macher Bahaar

Prep Time: 20-25 mins I Soaking Time : 2 hr. I Marinating Time: 1 hr. I Cooking Time: 45-50 mins I Serve: 3 - 4

Bhetki Macher Bahaar is one of the rich fish curry that is favorite among the Bengalis. It is popular and is mostly prepared during special occasions like marriages, Jamai Shosti or pujo. The Bhetki fish/sea bass fillets are marinated and later fried golden. The use of mace and nutmeg powder along with the other spice powders not only make the curry aromatic but also gives a rich taste making it completely delicious in taste. The curry base is typically cooked in mustard oil which is favorite of all Bengalis where the poppy seeds and cashew nut paste gives a nutty texture to the curry and also helps in making a perfect base for the gravy. Serve this velvety textured fish curry with a simple boiled rice, some fried potatoes and brinjals (Beguni) for a weekend lunch or dinner.

Ingredients :-

For Soaking :-

½ cup/75 g. (approx.) Cashew Nuts

1.5 tbsp./15 g. (approx.) Posto /Poppy Seeds

Hot Water (enough for soaking)

For Marinating :-

1 kg/2.2 lb. Bhetki/Sea Bass (wash thoroughly and pat dry)

1 tsp. Turmeric Powder

1 tsp. Salt

⅛ tsp. Nutmeg Powder

3 tsp. Cornstarch/Corn flour

2 tsp. Lime Juice

1 Egg

For Cashew Nut & Posto/Poppy Seed Paste :-

Soaked Cashew Nuts & poppy Seeds

¼ cup/60 ml. Water

For Frying :-

80 ml. Vegetable/Mustard Oil (pref.)

For Curry :-

8-10 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1 inch Fresh Ginger (grated)

2 Onions, large (grind to paste)

2 Tomatoes, med-sized (grind to purée)

2-3 Green Chilies (stems removed & cut into half) OPTIONAL

½ tsp. Turmeric Powder

1 tsp. Red Chili Powder

⅛ tsp. Nutmeg Powder

½ tsp. Cumin Powder

½ tsp. Coriander Powder

Salt to taste

Cashew Nut & Poppy Seed Paste (prepared earlier)

1.5 cups/350 ml. Hot Water

3-4 Sprigs/1 tbsp Fresh Coriander (finely chopped for garnishing)

¼ tsp. Garam Masala Powder

Process :-

For Soaking :-

Add all the ingredients mentioned under the soaking list ingredients to the bowl one by one. Cover it and soak for at least 2 hrs.

For Marinating :-

Add all the ingredients mentioned under the marinating list ingredients to the bowl one by one. Rub and coat the fish evenly, cover it and set aside to marinate for 1 hr.

For Cashew & Posto/Poppy Seed Paste :-

Discard the water and add the soaked cashew nuts & poppy seeds + water to the grinder jar. Close the lid of the jar tightly and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside for later use

For Curry :-

Heat the oil on a low-medium flame. Once hot, slide the marinated fish pieces slowly to the pan and fry in batches for 2-3 mins on low-medium flame. Flip over to cook the other side for another 2-3 mins. Keep changing sides gently till the outer layer of fish turns to light golden brown in colour

Once done lower down the flame, dish out the fried fish gently and set aside

Similarly, fry all the remaining fish and set aside covered

To the remaining oil add minced garlic cloves + grated ginger to the pan and stir for 1-2 mins on low-medium flame

Next, add the onion paste to the pan and stir continuously for next 7-8 mins on low-medium flame until the onion colour changes to light golden brown

To the pan add tomato purée + green chilies and sauté for 4-5 minutes on low medium flame

Add turmeric powder + red chili powder + nutmeg powder + cumin powder + coriander powder + salt to the pan. Mix well and stir for 4-5 mins on low- medium flame

Next, add the cashew nut & poppy seeds/posto paste to the pan and stir continuously for next 8-10 mins on low-medium flame until the oil gets released from the masala

Add hot water to the pan and mix well. Cover and cook for 8-10 mins on low flame until gravy thickens

After 10 mins remove the lid and check if the gravy has thickened enough or not? If yes, lower down the flame and add the fried fish to the pan

Cover again and cook for another 4-5 mins on low flame. After 5 mins remove the lid and give it a stir. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander + garam masala powder and switch off the gas

Adjust the salt level as per your taste

Time to Taste:)

Serve with steamed rice, aloo bhaja/fried potatoes, narkol chana dal etc

Tip: Gently stir the fish while cooking or else it will break:)



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