Recipe: Amrita Banerjee, Photography: Saugata Banerjee
Bengali recipies is an all time favourite for its spicy, aromatic and mouthwatering flavours for fish. Bengali food generally consists of a variety of fish delicacies. Among these a royal famous and traditional Bengali favourite is bhetki paturi. The word ‘paturi’ comes from the bangla word ‘paata’. Marinated fish fillets wrapped in banana leaf with mustard paste and cooked in steam through slow cooking, usually reserved for very special occasions like jamai shasti. This dish has its origin in Dhaka but now has become one of the signature dishes of Bengal. Use of banana leaves is very well-known in Asian cuisine especially in Thai cuisine where they use the banana leaves to wrap the chickens and even in Caribbean cuisines. Other well-known similar dish is Parsi Patra ni Macchi.
Here I’ve tried making some of it this weekend. Give it a try and let me know friends.
Fillet: 12 Bhetki fish (sheephead fish)
1 big Banana(plantain) leaf
100gms Mustard seeds
50gms Poppy seeds or Posto
7-8 pcs. Green chilies
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
4 tbsp Mustard oil
1 teaspoon Salt
Marinate the Bhetki fillets with lemon and salt and keep it aside for half an hour.
Now prepare a rough paste of mustard seeds, poppy seeds and green chilies. Add one tbsp of mustard oil and salt to it. Now mix it well with a spoon.
Meanwhile dip the banana leaf in lukewarm water for few seconds so that it can be easily folded without tearing it down.
Now cut the banana leaves into neat rectangular parts. Then, grease each part with a dash of mustard oil.
Take one tbsp of the above mentioned paste and put it on the greased piece of banana leaf. Place a marinated fillet on the paste and put another tbsp of paste on top of it so that the fillet gets covered from all the sides.
Now fold the banana leaf to wrap the content from all the sides and tie it with a string. Repeat the process for all the fillets.
Then heat a frying pan and add a tsp of mustard oil to it. Brush the oil thoroughly all over the pan.
Place the wrapped pieces on the heated pan, 4 at a time, and roast for 6-7 minutes by covering the pan with a lid.
Take off the lid and turn the pieces with a pair of tongs. Cover it again for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and transfer the paturi to a serving dish. Unwrap the bhetki within and let the subtle flavor of mustard fill your senses. Enjoy it with steam rice!
Amrita and Saugata Banerjee, are a husband and wife duo whose common passion run into the world of food exploration. Amrita is a Special Educator by profession and a foodie by passion. Her cooking call came with her marriage two years back and she hasn’t stopped since. Saugata is a ‘Dream Chaser’ and an amazing photographer by profession. Cooking and experimenting with vegetables has become his hobby as well.