Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pabda Curry

Ask a bengali about his / her's favorite dish and more often than not, the answer would be: Mach-bhat (Fish and rice). And yet, we (A and I) don't eat fish all that regularly. Not because we don't like it all that much, rather we haven't got a fixed schedule for shopping or even a menu plan. Whenever we happen to be in the vicinity of the three good fish shops (aren't they called fish mongers?), we might pick up some. I had picked up some pabda from David's in E Block Market in Gurgaon. And now that our water supply was back to normal (after four harrowing days without), I felt brave enough to cook the pabda!

There are many other ways of cooking pabda, but this is the only one I know. So here goes. (This is how I make it. There will be slight variations from person to person. This is just in case there are people out there, who like me, in my early days, thought each recipe learnt was the ONLY way to make it. Anything else was not the correct way)!!

You will need:
Pabda: 1/2 kilo or 4 fish
Brinjal / Aubergine: 1
Kalonji / Kalo jeera: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 3-4 tsp
Fresh coriander: a handful
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

How to:

  1. Wash the fish, pat them dry and smear well with turmeric and salt. Keep aside.
  2. Slice the brinjals lengthwise into 1 to 1&1/2" strips. Wash the pieces, smear with turmeric and salt.
  3. Heat oil in a pan (about 2 tablespoon) and lightly fry the brinjals. They don't have to be deep fried. Remove the brinjals.
  4. Heat oil to smoking in a pan. Then add the fish. If they are big in size, fry them on or two at a time. Warning: Stand well away from the pan. The pabda's splatter hot oil, everywhere! I solved the problem by holding the lid of the pan in front of me like a shield!!
  5. Each piece takes about 2-3 minutes frying on each side. Remove the fried fish.
  6. You can make the curry in the same pan, but I like to use a kadai for the curry or 'jhol'.
  7. Mix 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric in a small bowl of water. Stir well to ensure that the turmeric is dissolved and there are no lumps.
  8. Add 1/2 tsp oil in the kadai. Add the kalonji and wait till it splutters (about 30 secs).
  9. Add the turmeric water into the kadai.
  10. Stir briskly, on high flame till the water dries up.
  11. Add half cup water and repeat the process at least two more times.
  12. Then add water for the curry: about 500 ml or half of a normal mineral water bottle. Bring to a boil.
  13. If you don't mind chillies, add couple of green chillies and 1 tbsp grated ginger to the curry.
  14. Add the brinjals.
  15. Add the fish.
  16. Let it boil along with the curry for 3-4 minutes.
  17. Lower flame and cover. Let the curry cook for another 7-10 minutes.
  18. Uncover, add the chopped coriander.
  19. Remove from flame and serve hot with rice.

Note: Having enjoyed your meal of pabda and rice, don't forget to clean the splattered oil. The turmeric in the oil leaves dreadful stains! But I am sure you will agree, that's a small price to pay! Bon Appetit!


Anonymous said...

You are the dunkiest in the whole wide world...... Swa

Sukanya M said...

Dunkies of the world unite...altho' dont know where the third one U?