So many wonderful memories make up my regional food feast from cultures across India. Fish has always been a family favourite in our household and mum would try a variety of ways to cook them. Much like Bengalis in the east, Maharashtrians in the west of India bring in an abundance of seafood.
Bengali Macher Chop/ Bengali fish cutlets were always a Sunday afternoon affair. Crispy deep fried potato with a spiced fish stuffing. Traditionally raisins are added too which lends sweetness but I tend to leave them out as does mum.
A Bengali chop or cutlet can be stuffed with a varied different fillings including egg, minced lamb or even banana flower. I have used sea bass as it’s a delicate white fish which takes the flavour of spices really well. Eaten with chutney or ketchup this is definitely one to try.
- Add the fish to a small sauce pan and cover with water. Cook for 5-6 minutes on a low heat with a lid. Drain water and flake the fish and set aside. Mash the potatoes lightly and set aside while you make the filling.
- In a large frying pan heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the onions and fry for 12 minutes as they begin to change colour and go light brown. Add the chopped chilli and ginger paste frying for 30-40 seconds. Add the turmeric and chilli powder and stir well to cook out the raw flavours for a few seconds
- Now add the vinegar, sugar, crushed cumin. Stir and add the flaked fish. Mix well just heating through for 10 seconds and take it off the heat. Season and garnish with coriander
- Cool the mix before stuffing. Add the corn flour to the potato and mix well. Lay out the plan flour, eggs and bread crumb to coat the macher chop.
- Divide the potato into 8-10 equal portions. Roll the potato in the palm of your hand make a well in the centre and add 1 tablespoon of the fish filling. Bring all the corners together and cover well. If some of the filling seeps through just cover with a little more potato to coat. Roll the chop in the plain flour, followed by the egg mix and then in the breadcrumb, making sure to cover all side. Now dip it in the egg mix again finally followed by the breadcrumb
- Make a few and heat the oil in a deep sauce pan or kadhai. Add a small piece of potato to the hot oil making sure it’s the right temperature. Fry the macher chop in the kadhai until golden brown and crisp on all side. Drain on kitchen paper while you fry the remaining. You can also keep them warm in a low oven
- Serve with chutney or ketchup and some salad.