We Bengalis are incomplete without fish in our daily diet. A Bengali meal is incomplete without fish. We are fondly called “Maache – Bhaathe – Bangali” often, considering our relaxed demeanour and never-ending love for fish.
Some facts about Bengalis are that we are the third-largest ethnic group in the world residing in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and some parts of Assam also. Bangladesh largely holds the Bengali population of this world. We are a 240 million-strong population globally.
No matter where a Bengali goes, we make sure to find our fish first. The question might arise- why do Bengalis have such a great bond with fish? The answer is quite simple. The geographical location is responsible for this. Usually, geographical location and climatic conditions play a key role in determining the food habits of people.
Bengal, in the Ganga delta region, is covered with rivers like Ganga, Damodar, Mayurakshi, Teesta, Rupnarayan, Brahmaputra and so on. The Bay of Bengal is also in the vicinity. These rivers are home to an abundance of fishes like Rui, Katla, Pabda, Hilsa (Hilsa found in Padma river Bangladesh is considered to be the best), Koi, Tyangra, and seafood like Pomfret, Prawns, Sting Ray etc.
Fishing used to be the primary profession in earlier days due to the abundance, till date fishing is considered a very wholesome profession in the coastal areas. These reasons play a key factor in the Bengalis’ love for fish.
Today I am going to share yet another of my family’s traditional recipes. My Mom used to prepare it, she had learnt it from some distant relative of ours. It is a very delicate combination of Kancha Aam (Raw Mango) and Rui Mach (Rohu Fish). Though it can be tried with any other fish, I tried it out with Rohu. Let me take you through the recipe.
Kancha Aam diye Rui Mach -er tel jhol / Raw Mango and Rohu Fish Broth
Preparation Time :
- Rohu Fish ( cut and cleaned, medium size)
- Raw Mango ( 1, medium size, cut into medium pieces)
Ingredients to marinate the fish :
- Haldi powder (for 6 piece fish, 2 tsp)
- Salt – to taste
Ingredients to make the Jhol / Broth :
- Mustard oil (5 tbsp)
- Poppy seeds / Posto ( 2 tsp)
- Ginger ( 2 inches)
- Green chillies ( 3 – 4, as per taste)
- Whole Red Chilli (1)
- Bayleaf (1)
- Haldi powder (1 tsp)
- Jeera powder (1 tsp)
- Red chilli powder ( ½ tsp)
- Kashmiri red chilli powder ( 1 tsp) optional
- Whole cumin seeds (3 tsp)
- Salt – to taste
- Sugar – to taste
- Take the cleanly cut fish and wash it thoroughly.
- After washing, take the pieces in a bowl and marinate them with Haldi powder and salt. Set aside for 10 mins.
- Now take a pan and heat the oil, when the oil is piping hot, add the previously marinated fish pieces. Fry them well and set them aside.
To prepare the masala :
- Take Poppy seeds, whole cumin seeds ( 2 tsp), green chillies and ginger in a mixer jar and make a smooth paste.
To prepare the Jhol / Broth :
- Now in the remaining oil add the mango pieces and fry them a little. Take them out of oil and set them aside.
- In the same remaining oil add whole red chilli, whole cumin seeds (1 tsp), bay leaf. As the ingredients get fragrant add the paste. Stir a little.
- Add Haldi powder, jeera powder, dhania powder, red chilli powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, salt and sugar. Stir it well. Make sure to add little water while stirring, otherwise the masala or gravy might get burnt at the bottom.
- When the masala starts to emit oil on its sides, pour water. Cover the pan with a lid and let it boil for 7 mins.
- After 7 mins, open the lid, stir a little and add the fried mangoes and fish into the broth.
- Boil till the mangoes are soft. When done, let it cool and serve.
This fish preparation is an absolute fit for a traditional Bengali lunch served with hot rice. Do give it a try.