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Google says ‘What Fish’

Google says ‘What Fish’

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Koi Mach with a plate full of rice

A vegetarian lunch for new year? No, never, what was served then? Find out in this story by Ruma Roy

Firstly, wishing a very Happy New Year to all my readers. And with this wish let me also update you on some major changes in my life. I am now a resident of Bangalore. We shifted here last month. Yes, it was difficult to leave Guwahati which had been my abode for almost 50 years, but after prolonged discussion, prediction, deduction, presumption, assumptions, and all other possible ‘tions’ finally a decision was made to relocate to Bangalore.

Why so? Well, this decision was mainly because of my granddaughter who has started a new chapter in her life. She joined an organization in Bangalore as an intern. Needless to say, we were missing her immensely for the last 4 years. She is the charm of the house and without her, the house felt lonely. So my daughter after some effort got herself a job in a school in this city. Finally, we all shifted to the garden city. 

That day was the 31st of December, new years eve, the day we are in a habit of celebrating with good food. This year too it was a day with lots of good food mostly meat as we were joined by some more guests. Indeed it was a gastronomical delight with lots of rich and spicy food. So the next day I decided to give the digestive system a break, the initial thought was of a simple veg curry and dal, but the first day of a new year and veg food is a bit of an oxymoron. Finally, I decided to cook some fish.

Checking my refrigerator I found only some chicken left, so the dilemma continued for a while until Bashir Mia came to our rescue. Bashir is a fish and meat vendor in Bannerghatta where we have rented an apartment. When my daughter called him up he informed me of the variety available with him. From the lot, the finest option we found was Koi Mach. Guess what just happened, I was trying to find an English name for the fish and checked it in Google translate. It says ‘What fish’ utterly ridiculous and funny at the same time. Well, the English name of the fish is Anabas as my husband says. 

What happened thereafter….

To my surprise Bashir Mia is efficient, he knows exactly how to cut and clean the fish. I mean the way we Bengalis want it. When we came back home it was around 11 and after another round of wash, it was time to marinate the fish with salt and a bit of turmeric. 

Meanwhile, my daughter grated one large onion and I shallow-fried the fish in oil. Note that the required quantity of oil is a bit more for this recipe. 

Once the fish was fried I took it out and kept it aside. In the same oil, I added one bay leaf and 4 to 5 cloves of grated garlic. After a while, I added the grated onion, and then what happened is a miracle. I pasted some fennel instead of cumin by mistake along with some green chilies and added it to the pan. I thought it would be a disaster but what is done is done. I fried the mix for some time till the oil separated and added the fish, added some water, and cooked it.  

I was skeptical about the outcome, so with nervous fingers as I served it to the family……

 “Wow, Maa this turned out to be amazing…”

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 “Mamaoni, this is awesome”

 Ata toh age khai ni, oshadhatron (I never made it earlier? This is so tasty)”

…were the reactions from my family. I realized any dish can be tasty with a secret ingredient called Love.

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe”

Thomas Keller

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