Monday, May 14, 2012

Ilish Maacher Paturi Photoshoot and Some Learnings

So I took this Bobby Flay-like challenge upon me to make Ilish Maacher Paturi the way it should be, wrapped in banana leaves! No steel tiffin box or microwaveable bowl came in my way this time. I had suffered enough scorn from Bengali food-e-ratis for long. It was now time for redemption.


I used one heaped tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds, one teaspoon of black mustard seeds and one teaspoon of poppy seeds along with few green chillies, and a teaspoon of turmeric to make the marinade for the paturi. Once all the ingredients were wet ground to a smooth paste, I slathered it over the fish steaks. The Ilish we get here is from a Bangladeshi store, they have the best Padma river Ilish, known for its distinct taste and buttery texture.

020The thing about Ilish is that you don’t need to wash it thoroughly. Too much washing will drain the taste out of this king of fish! Ideally, a whole fish should be un-scaled, washed and then sliced.

022To the mustard marinated fish I threw in few more slit green chillies and some salt and drizzled mustard oil. Mustard oil is one of the most essential ingredients in an Ilish Maacher Paturi, please do not substitute it with any other oil. It will be Ilish Paturi blasphemy.

I kept the marinated fish covered for about 15-20 minutes, before I transferred each individual Ilish piece (with its marinade and the mustard oil; drizzle some more if you want to) on a rectangular piece of banana leaf.

I found the banana leaves in the frozen section of a Chinese grocery store. Make sure you wash the frozen leaves with warm water before you wrap them around the fish. This way they will soften a bit and will not tear.

I used kitchen twine to make banana leaf packets for my fish. You can use bamboo cocktail picks to keep the ends of the leaves together.

044Each packet was then kept in a large baking dish and microwaved for 10 minutes. I did think of my traditional bamboo steamer for cooking the fish, but then got lazy and settled to microwave. I don’t think the end result suffered because of that.

Time the cooking process of the paturi well, so that you can serve the dish just before you are sitting down to eat your lunch or dinner.

051Snip off the twines and unwrap each leaf to keep on the plate in which your guest/you will eat.

Ilish Maacher Paturi
needs nothing else but pearly white plain rice to eat with and your deft fingers to artfully make morsels of the fish and rice and its zingy mustard sauce to transfer you into Ilish heaven. Return from there would be very difficult, because everything then will look so ordinary.



Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Pree
It couldn't have been better, I must say ..awesome!
I dont use micro for Ilish, because the fat layer burst open the flesh...I must make few more trials in micro! Taste wise I dont think it will make any difference vis a vis steaming.
Will try this !
Have a nice week

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Simply awesome and mouthwatering Pree. Paturi looks so delicious that I can almost smell the mustard right from here. Wonderfully prepared.


Patricia Torres said...

oh my.. looks super yumm.. have never tasted anything in a leaf.. :)

Priya said...

Very impressive and mouthwatering dish.

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Awesome.. heaven indeed...

Kuntala said...

phataphati byapar Pree. dekhei khetei ichchche korchhe.

Harshika said...

OOohh la la...have never cooked, only ate at friends' homes...should do it once.

Scribbler :) said...

Yum, this is one of my fav dishes. And now that you have made it sound so easy, no reason not to try (except that hubby doesn't eat fish :()