What is Kolkata style fish fry?
For those of you who are not from Kolkata, this is not the typical Bengali maach bhaja (fried fish steak) that has become a marker of authentic Bengali cuisine. This is rather the anglicized version of maach bhaja— thick fillets of fish marinated with flavorful herbs, breaded with bread crumbs and then deep-fried. It is typically served with lime wedges, raw onion slices, mustard sauce, and ketchup, although I love to serve it with this restaurant style green chutney too. This dish is strictly street/restaurant or bier bari food (wedding banquets). I mean, you will rarely find a Bengali epicure serve “fish fry” as part of a home-cooked Bengali meal. But I like to make it and serve it to guests every chance I get.
Kolkata style fish fry is traditionally made with filleted bhetki, but I have made it with all sorts of flaky white fish fillets and they all taste great. When I can’t find bhetki I prefer tilapia fillets because they are very sturdy and easy to fry.
Kolkata style fish fry
- 500 grams of white fish fillets bhetki/tilapia/cod
- 1 medium onion
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 green chilies
- a handful of chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
- a handful of mint leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- oil for deep frying
- In a food processor grind the onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, cilantro, and mint into a smooth paste.
- Pour the marinade over fish fillets; add lime juice, black pepper powder and salt. Gently stir to make sure the fillets are evenly coated. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- In shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and flour; mix well.
- In another shallow bowl, beat eggs with lime juice until well blended.
- Next dip each fish fillet first in egg mixture and then coat with bread crumb mixture.
- Refrigerate the breaded fish for 1 hour before frying (to firm them).
- Heat enough oil in a pan for deep frying.
- Cook each fillet for 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
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