I felt a pang of guilt caramelizing the onions for the Maacher Chop (Bengali Fish Croquettes) today. Apparently, people in India are reeling under the sky rocketing price of onions, yet again. If it makes you feel any better, I get two pounds of onions (about a kilo) for close to six dollars.
This Maacher Chop recipe is largely Uttara Ghosh’s. I have just made some cosmetic changes to it. Uttara was quick to come to my rescue when I requested for a recipe on Facebook. I have used Sole fish fillets, though traditionally Bengali Fish Chops are made with Rui or Kaatla maach. You can even use Tilapia like Satrupa and Sandeepa have.
Ingredients for Maacher Chop are:
400 grams fish fillet (use any white fish)
3-4 medium size potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 medium red onion, slivered fine
4-5 green chilies, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, made into a paste
1 small knob of ginger, grated
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chili powder
Half teaspoon garam masala powder
Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Half cup breadcrumbs 1 bay leaf
1 black cardamom
1 small stick of cinnamon
Canola or mustard oil
In a saucepan, add the fish, bay leaf, turmeric, salt, cardamom and cinnamon. Pour enough water to cover all the ingredients. Cook this for 5-7 minutes on high, till the fish turns flaky. Discard the whole spices and drain the water. With a fork, mash the fish and keep.
In the remaining oil, add the fish, raisins, garlic paste, ginger, red chili powder, garam masala powder, half teaspoon sugar and salt to taste. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the fish mixture to the bowl of caramelized onions.
Now mash the boiled potatoes and add to the fish and onion mixture. Add chopped green chilies and coriander to it. Do a taste test before you season with salt. Pound all the ingredients well. You can start with a spoon, but end with your hand. That’s the most effective way to do it!
Take lemon-size balls of this mixture and shape into “chops” between the palms of your hands.
Heat oil in a wok, until almost smoking. Make a mixture with cornstarch and water and dip the chops in them first. Then roll each on a bed of breadcrumbs.
Uttara suggested I use slices of bread soaked in water and squeezed into the potato-fish mixture, which is a tried and tested method of “binding” chops and cutlets and prevent them from disintegrating while deep frying. But I did not have bread at home today. So I did what I have done for my Koraishuti’r Chop.