Friday, March 31, 2017

Macher Chop (Bengali Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets)

Off late I have been really enjoying Instagram, the other social networking platform, mainly for pictures. I have been actively sharing photos and videos about what’s happening in my kitchen. The good thing about this change is that I have started using my camera more frequently. After spending more time with photography, I am getting my blogging mojo back!  Last week when I invited some of the friends over dinner I made some Fish croquettes and while I was making those, shared the photos on my Instagram story. Some of my followers-friends made a request to post the recipe of Fish Croquette on the blog.

Croquette is a small deep fried food that generally contains mashed potatoes, ground meat, fish or vegetables as stuffing. In today’s recipe that I am sharing, I have used fish filling. To make Croquettes, first, you have to prepare the filling and dip the filling in egg wash. Then roll in bread crumbs and finally deep fry them in hot oil. The Croquette is mainly oval shaped. Once fried, they become quite crispy on the outside but remains soft inside. It’s very tempting as an appetizer or a party snack, commonly served with tomato ketchup. You can also serve with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 

 Earlier I have shared a couple of similar recipes like Dimer Devil, Fish Fry, Chicken Kabiraji and the Baked version of Fish Cutlets. There are lots of Cutlets/croquettes items available in Bengali cuisine. Each variety has a distinctive taste and texture. This culture came in Bengali cooking mainly from the kitchen of old British Clubs in Kolkata.

Recipe of Macher Chop ( Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets ) for 10 to 12 pieces 


Fish fillet or boneless fish: 1 lb / 500 g
Onion: a big one, finely chopped 
Ginger paste or grated ginger: 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste or minced garlic: 1 tablespoon
Tomato: a small one chopped 
Green chilies: chopped, one teaspoon or as per your tolerance
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon 
Red chili powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Potato: 1 or 2 medium sized, boiled 
Coriander leaves: half cup ( optional ) 
Raisins: 1 tablespoon ( optional )
Green Cardamoms: 2 
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Cloves: 2 
Salt: to taste
Egg: 1 
Breadcrumbs: 1 cup 

Oil: 3 tablespoons and for deep frying 


1. Boil or bake the fish until it is cooked.  Take a big pan, add 2-3 tablespoon oil to it and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, add cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves to it. Once they are fragrant, discard them from oil.

2. Add the chopped onion to the pan, saute it till it changes the color to light brown, add ginger and garlic. Stir it, cook until the raw smell goes off. Add the chopped tomato to the pan, sprinkle some salt. Cook it till the tomato becomes soft and smashed. 

3. Add coriander powder, red chili powder, and green chilies. Stir to mix it, till oil starts separating from the sides of the pan.

4. Break the fish pieces into small chunks with a fork and add it to the pan. Mix it nicely with the spices and keep stirring for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potato or potatoes, smashed it with a spatula and mix well with fish-spice mixture. ( The potato will work here for binding the mixture. If you think the mixture is still watery or not holding the shape you can add one more potato or a cup of breadcrumbs. )

5. Give some stirs, until the mixture is well combined. Check the seasoning, add salt or chilies if needed. Add coriander leaves and raisins if you are using. Turn off the gas, now filling is ready. 

6. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal balls, give them shape like a cylinder, disk or oval. 

7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Take a flat dish and spread the breadcrumbs on it. 

8. Take a ball first dip into the egg mixture, then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it gets a nice coat all over it. Do the same process for the rest of the balls. 

9. Now take a deep frying pan, add oil and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the balls in two or three batches on medium-high heat till they are evenly golden brown on both sides. 

10. Take out them from oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Bengali Fish Croquettes / Macher Chops are ready to serve. Serve hot with Kasundi or tomato ketchup or with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake

Today’s pasta dish is one of those meals that I make at least once in a month and every time my 9-years old son would be delighted when he gets the smell. Last Thursday I made Chicken Parmesan Pasta and next day we were planning to dine out. But he didn't want to go out for dinner. We were surprised with his behavior because he always likes to eat in the restaurants. We understood the reason when he started saying that we already have good food at home. He loves pasta so much that he can eat the same meal for several days in a row.

Though this pasta is generally cooked with no ready-made pasta sauce, the recipe is still very simple and doesn’t take longer. When you are feeling lazy or too busy to spend time around your kitchen, but still want to impress your family, this recipe is perfect for those days.

To make this baked pasta, first I cooked a packet of Penne and then tossed it with the freshly made tomato sauce. For the Chicken Parmesan part, I put the chunks of leftover chicken. Then some garden fresh basils and lots of grated Parmesan need to be added. At the end, it turned out to be a really delicious dish. I am not a big fan of Pasta but I ended up eating some extra serving on that day.


Recipe of Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake: Serves 5 


Chopped Tomatoes: 2 cans, 400g can each
Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons 
Dried Oregano: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Black pepper (crushed): to taste
Chicken: 2 cups (cooked and chopped) 
Pasta: 500g ( I used Penne here ) 
Mozzarella Cheese: 2 cups, grated 
Parmesan Cheese: 1 cup, grated 
Fresh Basil leaves: 1/2 cup 

For Topping: grated mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup


1. Take a pan, boil water and salt. Add pasta to it and cook as per package direction. Once it is cooked, strain the excess water and set it aside. 

2. Take a sauce pan and add oil to it. Add the chopped tomato to the oil and stir it. Cook it for a couple of minutes on medium heat until tomatoes become soft. Add dried oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper. Stir to combine. 

3. Add the cooked pasta and cooked chicken to the sauce and mix it well. Turn off the gas. Set the pasta aside. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Layer the pasta with grated cheese and basil leaves in an oven-proof dish. Add the extra mozzarella cheese on the top. 

5. Bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese on the top is golden brown. 

6. Remove it from the oven and serve hot. 

Related Recipe:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Labra : Bengali Mixed Vegetable

Since I posted the recipe of “bhoger Khichuri” couple of years back, I received many requests from the readers to share the recipe of “Labra”. Labra is a Bengali mixed vegetable dish where different varieties of vegetables are cooked together with minimum spices. It's a very basic and simple Bengali vegetable dish, where the ingredients “Panchforon” (the Bengali five spices) play the magic role behind its deliciousness. On many Bengali Puja occasions, Labra is served during lunch time along with Khichuri.

The main vegetables that are used in this dish are Pumpkin, potato/ sweet potato, spinach, and eggplants. You can add more seasonal vegetables to it as much as you can. All the vegetables are cooked together until it becomes mishmash and they lose their individual identity and flavor. 

Though the name of this dish doesn’t sound good, it’s really tasty and healthy. Probably one of the very few healthy dishes in Bengali cuisine. Though Labra is associated with Puja, you can serve it on a regular day, especially on a rainy day with Kichuri. Since my hubby is a big fan of this dish, I make it quite frequently at home.   

Recipe of Labra (Bengali Mixed Vegetable)


Potato / Sweet potato: 1 cup, peeled and cut into cubes
Cauliflower florets: 1 cup
Cabbage: 1 cup, thickly chopped
Carrot: 1 cup, cut lengthwise 
Pumpkin: 1 cup, cut into cubes
Beans: 1/2 cup, cut into 1" pieces
Cauliflower stems: 1 cup (optional), cut lengthwise 
Radish: 1/3 cup, chopped 
Eggplant: 1 cup, cut into big cubes
Spinach: 1 and a half cups, chopped

Oil: 3-4 tablespoons
Dry Red Chilies: 2
Bay leaves: 2 
Panchphoron / Bengali five spices: 1 teaspoon
Ginger paste: 1tablespoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon 
Salt: to taste
Sugar: if needed 


1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom big pan. Add whole red chilies, bay leaves, and panchphoron. Once it starts to splutter add the vegetables one by one. First, add the hard vegetables like potatoes, then add pumpkin, radish, then cauliflower and cabbage. Then add carrot and beans. Saute the veggies on a medium flame. 

2. Add the ginger paste and turmeric. Mix it well together. Now add the eggplants. Stir it and cook on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach. 

3. Stir it well and add salt. The vegetable will release lots of water and it will get cooked in its own water. Cover the pan. Stir at a regular interval until the vegetables are well cooked. Open the cover and cook it till the water is absorbed and the veggies are coated with gravy. Check the seasoning. Add more salt if it is needed. Add 2-3 green chilies (optional). If you want, can add sugar 1/2 teaspoon. Turn off the gas and serve hot Labra with Khichuri. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Macher Paturi (Fish in Mustard paste cooked in Banana leaf parcel)

Macher Paturi is one of the favorite fish preparations to any Bengali. Unfortunately, it’s neither commonly available in restaurants nor made at home regularly. So you won’t get many chances to enjoy this dish. For me, the most memorable one is to have Ilish macher Paturi on the menu of my wedding day. Things might have changed in Bengal now, lots of high-end restaurants have come up with all traditional Bengali food. Some of them may be offering Paturi on their menu. The word Paturi came from the Bengali word 'Pata' that means leaves. Macher Paturi / Fish Paturi is a preparation where marinated fish is wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked with low flame.

For last few days, I was so craving for Paturi and so was looking for banana leaves. But here in the USA, finding tender banana leaves is not easy. Though a couple of Indian/Asian stores keep it, but most of the time the leaves are not fresh. Sometimes I get those banana leaves spending several dollars but had to throw them in the trash because of their poor quality. Last week I got some fresh tender banana leaves from one my friend's backyard garden.

In Bengal, generally Hilsha, Bhetki and Chingri (shrimp) are used to cook Paturi. Here I use Swai fillet because the taste of this fish is very close to Bhetki. The fish chunks are first marinated in mustard, coconut paste and drizzled with mustard oil. Then it is wrapped like a parcel in banana leaves and later the fish parcels are cooked in slow flame. Though Paturi is made with fish, but you can try the same recipe with Chicken, that I had posted a couple years back. Even vegetarian people can try the same recipe with vegetables and paneer.

Recipe of Macher Paturi(Fish in Mustard paste cooked in Banana leaf parcel) for 10 pieces


Fish(I have used Swai, you can use any white fish or fish fillets): 5 fillets, cut into two halves
Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Mustard paste: half cup, you can use mustard powder paste too.
Grated coconut paste: 5 tablespoons
Mustard oil: 5 to 6 tablespoons 
Green chilies: 5 to 6 or as per your tolerance 
Banana leaves: cut into 8-inch by 8-inch, 10 pieces for 10 pieces fish fillets 
kitchen twine/cotton thread: as required or you can use toothpicks also. 


1. Wash the fish pieces and gently pat it dry with paper towels. Add lemon juice and salt to the fish and rub it. Leave it for 15 minutes. 

2. If you are using mustard seeds make a thick paste with 2 green chilies. Or if you are using mustard powder make it a thick paste following package direction. 

3. Make the grated coconut paste ready. Take a bowl, add mustard - green chilies paste, coconut paste, turmeric powder. Whisk it together. 

4. Now add the paste to the marinated fish pieces. Rub it well. Add the mustard oil and mix it nicely. Keep the marinated fish into the refrigerator and let it rest for 4 to 5 hours. 

5. Take out the fish from refrigerator. Heat a pan.Take one banana leaf, brush a little oil on the glossy side. Put it on the pan and slightly roast the leaf. The leaf will become soft and it will help the leaf from cracking.

6. Place a marinated fish piece in the middle of the leaf, add one teaspoon of marinade and half of a slit green chili on the top. Wrap the banana leaves from all sides and make a parcel as you are seeing in the above picture. Tie it properly with the thread. Toothpicks also work to tie it. Follow the same process for the rest of fish pieces. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. 

7. Now add few drops of mustard oil to the pan and heat it up. Place the fish parcels and cover the pan with the lid. 

8. Cook it on medium heat for about 10 minutes each side. Serve hot Fish Paturi with hot steamed rice. Discard the banana leaves and enjoy Paturi. 

You can cook Paturi in the oven too. If you want to do it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fish parcels on a baking sheet and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is cooked.