Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Muri ghonto...fish head curry


Traditionally in Bengal, a newly married groom is welcomed with a huge cooked fish head as the part of his first lunch at in-laws. When someone serves you a fish head as a part of the meal, do you label it 'Bizarre food'? Need to check with Andrew Zimmerman. :)  For us Bongs, it's nothing scary or extraordinary, yes, the fish head has to be cooked.

Fish being the staple diet for the Bengalis, fish head is eaten in various different ways, especially the large fish heads of Rohu, Katla, Hilsa are considered delicacies and special dishes are made out of them. Cabbage with fish head (bandhakopi-muro), bottle gourd with fish head (lau diye muro), hilsa head with colocasia stems or leaves (ilish er matha diye kochur loti / kochur saak) are only few to name. The menu for special occasions like marriage, rice-ceremonies, birthdays is not complete without muro diye dal (lentil with fish head). 

Other than the above mentioned dishes, there is one more - Muri-ghonto, a traditional and popular Bengali dish. The word 'Muri' or 'Muro' stands for head. (There is another Bengali word 'Muri' which means puffed rice but the "Muri" in muri-ghonto should not be confused with puffed rice). The muri-ghonto I have seen my mother cook is with rice. They are some other muri-ghonto recipes that involves no rice, some use flattened rice (chire or poha) or just potatoes.

Here I will share the 'Muri Ghonto'-fish head with rice recipe just the way my mother makes it. This uses a special variety of rice named Gobindibhog. Gobindobhog is a fragrant rice cultivated in West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh. Gobindobhog rice imparts a particular flavor to the dish that is impossible to recreate without that particular variety of rice. Luckily we do get Kalazira rice in the Bangladeshi store, which is equivalent to the Gobindobhog. If you can't manage to get your hand any of these two variety, use good quality Basmati rice. If you are wondering how the rice looks like, here is a glimpse for you, this is Kalazira rice.



Muri-ghonto usually taste better with large fish heads, but I get only live tilapia fish here, so I prepared it with that. If you can get Rohu or Katla fish, go ahead and use,  it will definitely taste better. I did exactly the way Ma does, with a little more rice. She keeps the rice fluffy and like pulao, so if someone does not prefer to eat the fish head they can enjoy the rice. And I do have 'someone' at home who does just that. :)

Things needed to make Muri ghonto:

  • Fish head of one fish
  • Rice: 1 cup
  • Potato: 4 small or 1 large
  • Onion: 1/2 cup
  • Garlic: 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger: 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder: 1/8 tsp
  • Shahjeera/black cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 stick
  • Green cardamom: 3-4
  • Cloves: 7-8
  • Bay leaves: 2-3
  • Dry red chili: 2-3
  • Green chili: 2-3
  • Ghee/clarified butter: 1 tbsp and extra
  • Oil: 3-4 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts: 1/4 cup
  • Golden raisins: 1/4 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste



Steps of making Muri ghonto:


1. Soak rice for 20-30 min, wash well and drain. Soak raisins in water. It is preferable to make muri-ghonto with Gobindobhog rice. The closest possible is the Kalazira rice, easily available in a Bangladeshi store. If you can't manage to get any of them, use good quality Basmati rice.

2. Smear fish head with salt and turmeric powder. Using large fish heads will bring much better result. I used tilapia fish, the only fresh fish available here. It is best advised to use the head of rohu or katla fish. Try look for buffalo fish or German carp in Asian market near you. Make sure you clean the fish head well, discard the gills.


3. Fry the fish head well, till nicely brown from all sides. Take out with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

4. Peel and wash the potato. I like using small round potatoes, or else cut large potatoes in to quarters. Fry the potato cubes and keep aside. Fry the cashew nuts to golden brown and keep aside.

5. In the same pan you used to fry the fish head, add ghee (clarified butter), when the ghee melts, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves, dry red chilies, black cumin seeds, cook  for 1 min. I do add a little oil along with the ghee.

6. Add finely chopped onions and cook till it changes color. Add garlic paste and ginger paste, cook for 1-2 min. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, mix well. Add few teaspoons of water if needed. Add the washed rice, mix gently. Cook for 3-4 min, add hot water to the rice. The amount of water should be double the amount of rice you are using, that is for 1 cup of raw rice use 2 cups of hot water.


7. As the water boils, add salt, fried potato, cashew nuts, raisins, reduce heat and cook over medium heat for 8 min. Add the fried fish head and mix gently. Add sugar, whole green chilies, garam masala powder, cover and cook for 3-4 min over low heat. I do not like to break the fish head as the fish head I was using was not that big, if you want you can break it into small pieces.

8.  Switch off heat. Sprinkle little ghee and nutmeg powder, cover and let it rest for 10 min. Serve hot.


Print Recipe and PDFPrint Recipe

Muri-ghonto
Fish head curry with rice
(serves 3-4)
Ingredients:
Fish head of one fish
Rice: 1 cup
Potato: 4 small or 1 large
Onion: 1/2 cup
Garlic: 1/2 tsp
Ginger: 2 tsp
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Red chili powder: 1 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder: 1/8 tsp
Shahjeera/black cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick: 1 stick
Green cardamom: 3-4
Cloves: 7-8
Bay leaves: 2-3
Dry red chili: 2-3
Green chili: 2-3
Ghee/clarified butter: 1 tbsp and extra
Oil: 3-4 tbsp
Cashew nuts: 1/4 cup
Golden raisins: 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste

Procedure:
1. Soak rice for 20-30 min, wash and drain.
2. Smear salt and turmeric powder to the fish head, fry them, keep aside.
3. Fry potato cubes and cashew nuts, keep aside.
4. Heat ghee (clarified butter), add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, cloves, dry red chilies, black cumin seeds, cook  for 1 min.
4. Add chopped onions, cook till it changes color, add garlic paste, ginger paste, cook 2-3 min.
5. Add turmeric powder, cumin power, red chili powder, cook for 1 min.
6. Add soaked rice, mix gently, add hot (double the amount of dry rice), add salt, fried potato, cashew nuts, raisins, cook for 8 min.
7. Add sugar, green chilies, garam masal powder, cover and cook for 3-4 min.
8. Switch off heat, sprinkle ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg powder, cover and let it rest for 10 min. Serve hot.


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18 comments:

  1. This is so new n interesting recipe.... Bookmarking it...

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  2. Lovely Chitrangada..:-) Never tried the fish head curry which actually quite famous here in Singapore. Your picture make me drool!

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  3. wow luks yum, and such nice clicks... :)

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  4. Ahhhh love the intro.Fish head is the tastiest. I reserve the head pieces in the curry for me.Hmm... specialty rice u have made me curious. Love the pic with rice and fish in pan.Feel like digging in right away.

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  5. wish i could taste it now.. nice pics as always..

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  6. Love this recipe.....its awesome...Mudi er ghonto ta khub bhalo hoyeche.....mouthwatering

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    Replies
    1. sushmita, dear I love your Bangla :)

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  7. I don't eat fish..but dish looks so good..gorgeous clicks

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    1. Gayathri thanks a lot, generally those who don't eat fish they either ignore this kind of pic or say yeeeeaaaaaak, good to know you liked the pic.

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  8. Wow, that looks like a delicious one pot meal.. Tempting pics making me drool !!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes it's a great one pot meal, you can fish pieces too.

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    2. Its a wonderful recipe.ami age onekbar baniechi bt without cashew and raisins bt its awesome..

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    3. Chitrangada beautiful name nd beautiful dish..age ami same dish onek bar baniechi bt cashew nd raisin bt ai 2 ingredient add kore aro besi tasty mone holo.bangalorer south indian frnd ra eta vison valo base khete.its yuammiii

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  9. Gorgeous, breath-taking, jaw-dropping pictures and recipe :)

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