Bengal is a fish loving part of India, with hundreds of ponds and rivers and where you get various types of fish, so Bengalis acquired another name “Maanch-e Bhat-e Bangali” which means Bengali by fish and rice.
In Bengal you will get hundred of variety of fish and all of them are cooked in different delicious ways. Pabda manch the english name given in the wiki is pabo catfish while it’s scientific name is ompok pabo.
Pabda maanch is a soft delicious one bone fresh water fish with slightly slippery body but firm to touch, this fish when cooked with spices and shrimp paste become a super exotic dish worth trying.
It is one of the exotic preparations that is often made when people comes together for celebration of various festivals. I am sure; rest of the world will also love the traditional tastes of Bengal.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
- 5 Pabda Fish [Indian butter fish] (Fried with a pinch of salt and layered with turmeric powder)
- 5 tbsp of shrimp paste ( fry the shrimp in mustard oil then grind to make a smooth paste)
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- 1 /2 tsp of mustard paste
- 1 tsp of poppy seed paste
- 3 tbsp of yogurt
- 1 tbsp of tomato puree
- 1 tbsp of cashew raisin paste
- 1 tsp of green chili paste or to taste
- ¼ cup of mustard oil
- A pinch of sugar
- A pinch of garam masala powder
- Salt to taste
Marinate the pabda fish with salt, turmeric powder and a spoonful of oil, this will help you while you fry the fish.
The challenging part of cooking pabda maanch is frying the fish. Pabda maanch is slippery with no scales so one has to be very careful while frying it because when the skin touches the hot oil they starts getting blisters and this oil filled blister when burst they splutter oil far. If you are not careful it can cause serious burn. So the thumb rule of frying the fish as soon as the fish slip in hot oil cover it with a lid and make the flame low, when one side is done turn and cover and make sure the fish is well cooked in both sides.
Cook them in batches.
Keep aside the fried fish.
In this hot oil add little more oil if needed.
Meanwhile take a small bowl and mix mustard paste, poppy seed paste, green chili paste, turmeric powder, yogurt, salt and sugar with 4 tbsp of water.
Add it to the pan and stir well.
Add the tomato paste and shrimp paste. Stir and cook for a minute when you get the smell of cooked spices.
Add cashew raisin paste. Mix well.
Add 3 cups of water when it comes to boil add the fried fish.
Add the fish in such way so that it submerged in the gravy.
Cook it in high flame for 5 to 6 minutes.
When the gravy thickens add a pinch of garam masala. Put off the flame. Cover with a lid and give 5 to 6 minutes standing time.
This fish became too soft after cooking so use soft hands while serving otherwise it may break.
Serve with steamed hot plain basmati rice.