Katla Maachh Bhaja
This recipe yields fried fish that is crunchy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside.
Katla machh bhaja is a biyebari (wedding feast) staple. The reason this dish occupies a special position on wedding menus is because the tender, flaky, pieces of sweetwater carp make for delicious and easy consumption. Biyebari’r machh bhaja is characterised by an extra-crunchy exterior, one that almost crackles when broken into. While fish fried in homes is seasoned with a sprinkling of basic salt and turmeric, caterers use ingredients such as arrowroot powder and corn flour to create an almost invisible crunchy outer layer. Deep-frying the fish (another biyebari trick) at the correct temperature allows for the development of an even, golden crust.
COOKING TIME 30 minutes
YIELDS 4 pieces
|250 g (4 large pieces)||Katla machh|
|½ tsp||Arrowroot powder|
|½ tsp||Corn flour|
|~ 100 g||Mustard oil (for deep frying)|
- Mixing bowl
- Kadai | frying pan
- Frying spoon | perforated spoon | fork
- Paper towels | napkin
- Wash the fish pieces thoroughly and pat them dry with a napkin or paper towels. Removing excess moisture from the fish will allow for the development of a crisp crust.
- Place the fish in a mixing dish, and add the salt, turmeric powder, arrowroot powder, and corn flour.
- Coat the fish pieces well. The arrowroot powder and corn flour in the marinade will absorb any remaining moisture, and allow the crust to turn golden when fried.
- Heat 4-cm-deep mustard oil in a kadai till it starts to smoke and changes colour to a pale yellow. The frying temperature for this recipe is 180°C.
- Gently lower the fish in the oil, skin side down. Make sure that the fish pieces are not piled one on top of the other, but placed side by side in oil. Also, do not overcrowd the pan (frying them two at a time should suffice), as we want the oil to freely flow around the fish.
- Once the skin-side is golden (this should take about 6 minutes), turn the fish over to its flesh side. Fry this side for another 3 minutes.
- Drain from the oil on by one, by holding the pieces against the side of the kadai for 20 seconds.