Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pocketful of Froggies and Fish Fry to Pacify

She was barely four, but quite aware of her surroundings and senses – including flavors and food her Mum would create. She was choosy about food and almost never ate anything which had a “health” tag attached to it necessary for children her age. Her parents would cry hoarse to the kiddie doctor they took her to. Who would in turn tell the harried parents that their child was normal.

D She wrote her Cs and Ds all mirror images of the actual letters of the alphabet in her strangely beautiful handwriting. She strung a wooden guitar quite tunelessly, she even stole sausages from the fridge while the Mum was asleep one day. She never played with dolls and kitchen sets little girls her age did. She loved to dig into hills of sand at construction sites, one time even coming back home with a piece of dried cat poop in her hand and giving it to her Mum as a present for home decoration. She once hit the family’s domestic help so hard with a steel rod, he bled from the forehead. Just because he had refused to give her atta dough to play with.

All the signs were there. The parents were bringing up a Problem Child. And they could not even put her up for adoption!

But outside of her home, the Brat was the most well-behaved little girl, who even knew her nursery rhymes and number songs. So no one really believed the parents when they told tales of the brat they had at home.

Encouraged by the sporadic good behavior of the little girl outside of home, the parents started having eat outs and dinner parties at home.

That monsoon evening a few friends of the parents were invited. The Mother was busy with cooking her signature dishes, the Father was the babysitter. Later, they cleared the clutter together, tidied the home, fluffed up the pillows, made the house smell good and dressed their daughter up in a frilly frock the Mother had stitched.

Friends came, conversations started over drinks and food. Brat got some applauds for the new poems she had learnt at  nursery school after which she was left on her own to sit on her wooden horse or play around. Sneaking out to the garden was easy for the Brat.

She returned to the living room and stood in front of the guests, waiting to be noticed. Her cheek was pinched by some “Aunty”, but no one really noticed her taking handful of little frogs from the pockets of her frock and hurling them at the guests sitting on the big couch.

Frog after frog came out of her pockets, some escaping her little hands but most made it to where they were aimed at. Shrieks and shrills echoed the living room and then a firm hand picked the Brat up and put her down on the big, rocking chair.

Silence enveloped the room and then suddenly all the adults got busy looking for hopping, jumping frogs. The Brat looked gleefully at the Mother who was glaring back at her. The largish rocking chair’s slight back and forth motion ensured that the Brat did not get off it for the next 30 minutes or so. The Mother wiped her hands and asked her if she was hungry. The Brat nodded and the Mother handed her a piece of crispy-fried Fish Fry with tomato ketchup smeared on it.

IMG_2799 The Brat licked the sauce with satisfied delight and then her tiny teeth bit into the flaky fish. She liked it, finished it in no time and reached her little hand for another! Which the Mother handed over only too eagerly. At least her four-year-old was eating something. Which meant the Mother was going to make Bhetki Maacher Fry for the Brat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Ingredients for the Mother’s Fish Fry are:

500 grams fish fillet (use any white fish, my Mum uses Bhetki {Red Snapper} in India)
Juice of two lemons or limes
2 tablespoons juice of red onion (grate an onion and extract the juice)
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
3-4 tablespoons bread crumbs
Canola oil for deep frying

Cut the fillets in smaller three inch pieces and marinate them in the lemon and onion juices, salt and pepper for about 30-40 minutes. Make sure the fish you use is fresh, else it might just start breaking when you deep fry it.

In a wok, heat oil till almost smoking.

Drain the juices from the fish and coat with cornstarch, dip in the egg batter and roll in the bread crumbs. Deep fry. The rule for “battered” deep frying is: dry-wet-dry, I learnt this from a chef and watched most follow this simple rule.

IMG_2798 Fry the fish till the crust becomes golden brown. Adjust the heat if the oil gets too hot.

IMG_2789Drain the fish on paper towels and serve immediately with onion rings, tomato ketchup and kasundi (a Bengali mustard relish).

IMG_2792 IMG_2795


GB said...

Squeal! ROFL on the froggy tale you little terror! ooodi baba!

The bethki fry looks delish-no fair you get to make all these goodies. I want some too.

The only thing you and I appear to have in common would be a penchant for construction work sand piles. I used to pick out the tiny snail shells and shiny bits of mica. Pray tell what attracted you to the cat poop?

Sayantani said...

seriously what a brat you were Pree!between my son has all the signs growing up to a brat and after reading this am scared to death. the fish fry looks delicious...I cant eat betki and use tilapia for this. and this dry0-wet-dry method is very good. that way no excess oil drips.

Sayantani said...

jeta bolte elam seta holo Bangladesh e Gobindobhog chal ke Kaijeera rice bole. oi name e khunje dekho. hayto okhaneo peye jabe.

Sulagna said...

Wow...that sure sounds like a brat :) The fish fry looks awesome !!

Satrupa said...

Enjoyed reading the write up thoroughly ........ Pree you sure were/are a Brat :) Poor lil frogies.

sulagna ™ said...

Pree the story...sounds so familiar and so "i know what you mean " kinds :)

Sulagna said...

An award for you

ishmi said...

LOL! Couldn't stop laughing..imagine the poor 'aunties' and 'uncles' after their froggy dinner! :D
You really write very well!

purplehomes said...

Your mum deserves to be awarded for bringing up this little brat so well:) I would have resigned from the post of the mother had I seen frogs jumping out of my little one's frocks :) great recipe & a hilarious post!

Nidhi said...

Pree...delurking to let u know that this Sunday we tried ur chicken soup and pomegranate raita recipe that u had posted recently along with my chicken biryani. And it turned out to be yumm!!! I'm plannign to post it on my blog with links to ur recipes. Is that ok?

Priya said...

Soo cute story..mouthwatering fish fry..

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

What a hilarious post...nice recipe!

Kamini said...

Oh my goodness me....that was too funny. You were the bratty kid we all tell our kids to stay away from :-)
Now, if you are not going to write a book on all your childhood escapades - i swear I will. I'll steal all your posts and write a book under my own name...cos I swear you should be writing and cooking. Not sure which you are better at!

Anonymous said...

Thowing frogs at guest..i mean what a super way to welcome them :) Really hilarious post.
I am a BIG fan of fried fish..but not with chips...with all those goodies in your pics..onions, lemons, chutney and rotis!

Indie.Tea said...

Haha, very cute story about the little terror/brat.
And the dish looks delicious!