My princess must have inherited her love for fish from her Grandfather, Grandma would inevitably comment to Maa and Bapi. That I adored fish is an understatement and nothing would make me more grumpy than discovering a meal without fish.
I haven’t seen my Grandfather.
In fact even Bapis reminiscences of his father were hazy at the best, he was hardly four when his father, a sergeant with the police, sacrificed his life fighting a gang of bandits.
So all that I know of my Grandfather is an anthology, carefully stitched together, bit by bit, over years, from anecdotes related by Grandma on time-stop-still Sunday afternoons, on her ancient four poster, Dada and I by her side, a plaintive cuckoo cooing from the gnarled bough of the guava tree, a bevy of pretty Purple Sapphire butterflies flitting about the Rangoon creeper vine in gorgeous bloom and the ceiling fan whirring above.
Which fish was his favourite ? I interrupt Grandma, much to Dada’s chagrin.
Mourola, Puti, Kachki and of course Ilish. Grandma responds, a radiant halo of nostalgia lighting up her face.
Nothing made him more happy than a cup of chai with piping hot mourola maacher peyaji on a dark monsoon afternoon.
Well. As the nimbus do an ominous dance this afternoon and I fry some mourola maacher peyaji, cannot help but remember my Grandfather who I have never seen.
Mourala Maacher Peyaji. Mourala Maach. An overload of onions. A shock of green chillies. Fried to a gorgeous golden. Sinfully bliss!!
Mourola Maacher Peyaji
- 350 g Mourola Maach washed and drained
- 4 big onions finely sliced
- 7-8 green chillies finely chopped
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup besan or bengal gram flour
- salt to taste
- oil for deep frying
- Transfer the fish to a large mixing bowl. Now add the onions, green chillies, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside, 15 odd minutes.
- Add rice flour and besan, give it a hearty mix. No water to begin with. If it feels too dry, add just a splash of water, mix again. Take a small portion of the ‘dough’, press gently using your palm, see if it holds on its own. If it doesn’t add another splash of water, repeat.
- Heat oil for deep frying.
- Grease your palm with a little oil, take a small portion of the ‘dough’, press gently, release into the oil carefully.
- Fry on a medium flame till golden and crisp. Keep aside on a kitchen absorbent towel.
- Serve hot with kasundi.