Graduated in Comparative Literature, sold computers and software education, transformed…
It is Women’s day on the 8th of March. Time for a celebration, what could be better than treating the woman of your life with this amazing recipe by Sumita Ganguli – the fish Kachuri.
Photographs by Ishan Ganguli
What unifies the Kolkata diaspora? – The ‘Kochuri’ is perhaps one of the highest common factors that bring people from all races.
The Bengali Kochuri is a deep-fried, puffy bread, stuffed with a filling of mildly spiced, hing-infused green peas or ‘koraishti’. Does it just stop there? Wait a minute,
Bengali’s have gone an extra mile with this and in their Chemistry Lab called Kitchen, they innovated another variation of stuffing made from mince of pure Bhekti fish and rolled along with the whitest of flour to whip up a delectable delicacy.
The Fish Kochuri just had to be included to satiate the Bengali love for non-vegetarian.
It is a wholesome meal by itself preferred in the evenings over an adda with family and friends.
Heritage walks in North Calcutta, are never complete without fish kochuris.
MOU’s CUISIGNE– My Cloud Kitchen in Kolkata added FISH KOCHURI to the repertoire and Walla!!! It tickled the taste buds and the precious memories.
I like to make them with Bhekti fish as they are boneless, but it can be made with other fishes too like the Rohu, Aar fish or anything that is less bony. But Bhekti definitely is a notch above.
I am not a conventional cook who measures by the spoon and prepares a dish. I prefer to add a little of this and a dash of that with my hand as that mixes my love to the dish with RD Burman in the background. I am blessed to have a foodie husband and a son who start with their comments the moment they get a whiff of the stuffing.
Preparing the stuffing is fairly easy. Steam the boneless fish with salt and turmeric and once done mash it after draining it from the water. Chop onions and make a paste of ginger and garlic. You can make the dish hot. Control is with you. I use mustard oil for the stuffing.
In a fry pan put mustard oil and once it is piping hot add onions and sauté. When the onions are translucent add the ginger and garlic paste with some chopped chilies. Fry them till it is done and add the mashed fish. Add salt and sugar to taste and when the stuffing is done add sprinkle some Garam masala. Put it in a bowl and let it cool.
Now it’s time for the dough. Add baking soda, salt and two tbsp melted ghee in flour. Knead it to make the dough, measure water carefully so that it does not become very soft. Cover it and set aside for an hour or so. Divide the dough in equal portions and add the fish stuffing and make a ball.
Once all the sections are filled with fish stuffing roll it in rice flour and regular all-purpose flour mix. The rolling must be done very carefully so that the stuffing does not come out.Now time to deep fry the rolled out kochuris.
In a Kadai heat up oil in generous quantity and deep fry the rolledout Kachoris. It gives an adrenalin rush to see each kochuri getting a full bloom. Serve it with Alu Dom or even simple Tomato ketchup. Pure Bliss!!
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Graduated in Comparative Literature, sold computers and software education, transformed into a hobby chef and evolved into a restaurateur-entrepreneur. Loves to research the culinary influences on the huge repertoire from the Bengal peninsula. Sumita lives in Kolkata with business connections across the world.