Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Green Baked Fish (Bhetki Paturi) and a lovely baby shower

This Green Fish Paturi almost came with a matching spring-like cute story, but as luck would have it, it didn't  But just to humor you, here’s what happened:

I was planning to throw my bestie a baby shower. Since it was her baby shower, I decided to call only her friends and I haven’t event met most of those. After chasing them on Facebook and spamming their mailboxes with invite , I began the task of calling them. Most of them accepted graciously even offered to bring something along, I said most, but ONE vehemently disagreed. I prodded and …

Her: “I can’t come”…pause…err..”I’m a vegetarian”
Me: “No problem at all , we will have enough vegetarian dishes”
Her : “Uhmm uhg but won’t you cook fish and rice?”
Me : "I might , but I will still cook lots of vegetarian dishes."
Her : “Do you use fish sauce in everything?”
Me: “Fish Sauce? Hell no, I’m a Bengali not Thai!!”

This went on for a few minutes more, and I think I was unsuccessful in convincing as she never showed up!

C’mon I’m amazed that people still think that we all Bengalis eat and serve only Fish and Rice and have our Rosogollas for Dessert. We continue this cycle till we are severely vitamin deficient or turn potbellied diabetic after an overdose of Rosogollas. Too bad. We have as much overload of plant based dishes as we like our fish and rice.And as a correction – Rosogolla is not the only dessert we have.

Now that the baby shower is over and my friend delivered a cute little baby girl last Saturday, I’m happy to post that this Fish dish – among many other vegetarian dishes was well liked, and I’d like to think that all's well that ends well.

 Although this is a fairly straightforward recipe: Prepare the green base with coriander , coconut, green chilies and mustard, use the mixture to feed flavor to the tender pieces of the fish. This concept of using the oven to cook the fish in this coriander, coconut mixture comes from the lack of banana leaves and time at hand and I think it’s pretty neat. It resulted in a beautifully flavored fish and a pretty presentation ( the photography does not do any justice to the dish but this is all I have). This dish is just as good as traditional Bhetki Fish paturis are supposed to be, the fish meat was delicately spiced and fell off the bone as we tunneled our forks (and hands too) however barbarously into the serving dish itself .

Green Baked Fish Paturi Recipe 


7-8 Bhetki fillets
6 tbsp Fresh grated Coconut (you can use the powdered one too)
1 tsp Ginger paste
4 tbsp Mustard oil
4-5 Green Chillies
1/2 Onion
1 Bunch fresh coriander (about 50 grams)
Salt to taste


In a mixer finely grind the ginger, onion,green chilies, coconut, mustard oil and salt.  Thoroughly, rub the green paste all over the fish fillets. Keep aside the marinated fish for about an hour or more.

If you have Banana leaves then cover the fillets in the banana leaves and tie, then steam for 8-10 minutes. If Not, then you can bake the dish in an oven for about 35 minutes at 170 C (325 F).

Once done, top it generously with fresh pungent mustard oil .

While this little stint at Friends shower got me into a cooking overdrive, I’m afraid I've already begun hibernating into that little comfortable cove of the Fish, Rice and Rosogollas. I blame you, dear vegetarian guest.

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