Yes !! It is Fishy.
I love fish and whenever I get a chance, I would love to have it and would love to try different variations. Now don’t ask me which fish. I don’t know. I can’t tell the difference between Basa and others. I can’t tell the difference between river fish and fresh water fish. I don’t have the skill to buy fresh raw fish. I know I could be laughed on by many a foodies, particularly Bengalis, but that’s a fact. Actually, I love the preparation and the taste of the meat. And that’s what matters to me. Let me bring to you some of my Fishy Experiences.
Saas Ni Machhi
Though I have been in love with the fish for long. But this particular Parsi Fish dish stands out. I had this in Soda Bottle Opener Wala, BKC Mumbai. This Saas Ni Machhi landed on the table in a beautiful fish shaped serving dish. The first look was of a runny sauce, however, a closer look revealed a full pomfret drenched in a pale white runny sauce interspersed with green coriander and cherry tomatoes. It was a sight to admire. You can’t resist the aroma coming out of the dish. A spoonful of the sauce in your mouth would give you a burst of flavours on your palate. First a whiff of seafood fills you up which is quickly followed by the flavour of spices, sourness of vinegar, tang of lemon and finally, as an after taste it would give you a hint of sweetness. The chopped onions, coriander, green chilies and cherry tomatoes provide the texture and the punch to the whole flavour. The fish is very soft and fresh and is full of flavours. A fish curry which is light, easy to cook has a blend of many flavours which one can decipher and enjoy one by one. I had earlier written a blogpost on the complete Parsi Lunch experience here.
One more style I like in Mumbai is the local favorite, Bombil Fry. This small sized fish has thread like bones. It is normally rava fried. I love this one as an appetizer. It is must whenever I have Malvani meals. These small fish are served on a banana leaf which has a crust of crunchy rava and a silky meat inside. Has a strong whiff of sea with almost nil seasoning. One enjoys the flavor of meat more than anything else. Details of my full Malvani meals I had in Jaihind Lunch Home, Bandra, could be found her – https://www.facebook.com/100000052014159/posts/1865849006760148/
Orriya Pomphret Fry
On a recent trip to Bhubaneswar, had Orriya Thali lunch in a local restaurantised Dhaba on the main highway to Cuttack. Besides the Thali, had ordered Pomphret Tawa Fry as add on. The plate comprised three, golden fried Pomphret, in their fully glory. The looks were inviting. It gave an aroma of fresh fish out of the sea with a whiff of oil and basic spices. You touch it and the outer was a crust of rava (semolina). An effortless scrape lead you to the meat. Fish was soft and silky which had a glaze on the meat. Again, you just needed the tip of your two fingers and the silky meat comes out. Oh! It is just melt-in-mouth kinds. You don’t have to chew. It tickled your taste buds with the textures of masala infused rava crust and the silky meat. Details of the Thali could be found here- https://www.facebook.com/100000052014159/posts/2074885989189781/
Bengali Fare in Gurgaon
I have been visiting Calcutta, oops Kolkata, quite frequently for work since many years. The city has a large contribution in encouraging my quest for enjoying different food. In fact, it has ‘taught’ me how to enjoy the food systematically. So, Bengali cuisine is one which I would never like to miss. So, a couple of weeks ago, when Gurgaon Foodie, a Facebook group organized a Bengali Food event in Oh! Calcutta, Cyber Hub, it was a feast for me. Besides other offerings, yes, I loved the Fish dishes. There was this Bhetki Jhol. Big sized fish meat pieces in a water like goldenish curry. This runny watery curry with spices and hint of mustard oil had Bhetki Fish which was soft and flavourful. The meat was firm yet soft and the curry did wonders on the palate with steamed rice. The other offering was Maachh Shorshey Bata. Fish morsels sitting in a golden creamy sauce which was emitting a whiff of fish with mustard. The sauce had a creamy consistency with a smooth texture with a string flavor of mustard. I suspect some coconut milk too was used to give it a creamy texture. The fish was soft and the flavors of the curry had seeped into the meat. I tried it with Luchi and was a great experience. It goes well with steamed rice too. Details of my Bengali Lunch here in north India could be found here-https://www.facebook.com/100000052014159/posts/2102639363081110/
Griddle Seared Fish in Pondicherry
Just yesterday, had this great looking and amazingly tasty fish, on a seashore restaurant just short of Pondicherry. The fish was being seared on a griddle under the supervision of a Sardarji Chef. Big morsels were being done to a golden finish and served to you. No topping up with extra masala being sprinkled. Onion slices and lemon too was on demand. The idea of the chef was to enjoy it as it is. I asked for the lemon. While handing me over a slice of it, was advised to taste it as it is. Yes, the fish had that glaze of oil on it and emitted the aroma of sea. A gentle cut by the edge of the fork sliced it was silky inside. The first morsel on the palate told you it was seasoned with basic spices. A few drops of lemon juice took it to another level. It was just the fish with minimal seasoning and one could just have that only for lunch. Nothing else was needed, no chutney, no onions, no chapati, no rice whatsoever. Details of the same could be found here-https://www.facebook.com/100000052014159/posts/2110748788936834/
This was just a glimpse of my Fishy experiences in East, West, North and South of the country. By no means, it is recommendation of the best ratings. There are many more. Each part of the country has it own distinct style and recipes. In this piece here, I have tried to bring a few of the different styles of preparations and the flavors. There are many more varieties, styles, methods etc. Yet many have to be explored. What have been your distinct experiences with fish, do let me know.
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