Being a Bengali, fish is part of our staple diet, a regular for lunch or dinner. But when it comes to make something different than the usual fare with fish, it sometimes becomes difficult. And I'm sure it is not only me, many of us face the same problem. Specially when we invite someone who is strictly a fishetarian. But I'm lucky to have such wonderful foodie friends, who are always there to help me. This time it was Poulami, she shared her Butter Fish recipe with me. I adapted her recipe to prepare this aromatic dish. And after tasting the creamy smooth gravy I can't help but call it Makhmali Machhi (Makhmali=velvety;Machhi=fish).
Ingredients you need to make Makhmali Machhi:
Fish (Rohu/ Bhetki/ Tilapia) scaled and cut into pieces: 4pcs
Onion (grated): 4tbsp
Garlic (paste): 1tsp
Ginger (paste): 1tsp
Cinnamon:(1inch stick) 2-3
Dry red chilies: 6-7
Nutmeg (powder): A pinch
Shah jeera(black cumin):1/4tsp
White pepper powder:1tsp
Green cardamom powder:1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Steps of making Makhmali Machhi:
1. Wash the fish and marinate the pieces with salt and little turmeric powder. If you want your dish to white in color do not add the turmeric powder. Let the fish marinate for 30min. I used tilapia fish this time. Any other fishes like Rohu or Bhetki will be a good choice, even large prawns will be also a good option.
2. In the mean time make a smooth paste of poppy seeds, cashew nuts and raisins. I used milk instead of water to make it more creamy. Keep the paste aside. The original recipe suggested Charmagaj, if you have that in your pantry use that instead of poppy seeds.
3. Take the yogurt and 1tsp sugar and mix well. Add little water to the yogurt and bit it well. Keep aside.
4. In a kadai or pan add oil(any vegetable oil) and when the oil is hot lightly fry the fish pieces, Each side for 2min. Keep aside.
5. Add 2tbsp butter to the kadai. As the butter melts add dry red chilies, bay leaves, cinnamon, green cardamom, shah jeera(black cumin), cloves. When the spices leave a nice aroma add the grated onion. Mix well. Cover and cook on a medium flame for 4-5min, keep stirring in between.
6. Add ginger and garlic paste. Mix well. Cook for 2-3min. Add the poppy-cashew-raisin paste. Add white pepper powder, green cardamom powder and coriander powder. Cook for 3-4min.
7. Reduce heat to low, add the bitten yogurt. Mix well. Cook till oil separates from the spices. Add lukewarm milk, sugar and the fried fish. Cover and cook in a medium flame for 8-10min. Check the seasoning, adjust accordingly. Switch off the heat. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg powder and a tbsp of butter. Cover the pan and wait for 5min.
8. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve hot with some pulao.