I still find it hard to believe that I have had puti fishes here in a foreign land whereas during the two years stay in Bangalore in my own country, any tiny fish, say puti or morola were untraceable. So you can imagine the overwhelming joy we felt upon discovering the fish market that sells a big range of fishes from katla to shor puti, from boyal to loita. It is almost synonymous with the feeling of hitting a jackpot. Seriously!!
It might have been over three years that I didn’t eat puti. Just as my eyes read the tag 'puti' written on the shelve I could not suppress the mixed emotions of surprise and delight at catching hold of something very extraordinary, unthinkable. Unexpected things always invoke a great amount of pleasure and I was enraptured with pure joy. The next day of our fish shopping, I made a call to my mother and enquired about the possible ways to cook puti. This recipe that I extracted from my mother upon implementation at home drew couple of rare veritable words of appreciation from my worst critic, my husband.
Ingredients: Cooking time: 30 minutes
ü 500 gm puti mach
ü 1 onion (chopped)
ü 1 tsp ginger paste
ü 1/2 tsp garlic paste
ü 1 tsp turmeric powder
ü 1 tsp cumin powder
ü 1 tsp red chilli powder
ü 1 tsp coriander powder
ü 5-6 green chillies
ü Salt to taste
ü 3-4 tbsp of sugar
ü 1 tsp concentrated tamarind extract
ü Mustard oil for cooking
ü 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
ü 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
ü 2 dry red chilies
1) Toss the fishes in salt and turmeric powder. Then deep fry them in smoking hot mustard oil. Take them off the flame and keep aside.
2) Now into the same oil, add the ingredients for sauté and allow them to sputter.
3) Then add onion and caramelize.
4) Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Sauté till spices are well incorporated.
5) Dilute the tamarind extract in 1/2 cup of water and pour that into the curry being cooked on oven. Add water as per your need for gravy.
6) Mix in green chilies, salt and sugar. The gravy must taste sour, sweet and hot at the same time. So combine the ingredients accordingly. (If the sour taste predominates over others, add more sugar to balance out the taste but take care not to let the sweetness taking over.)
7) When the gravy comes to a boil, slide in the fried fishes. Stir in gently and keep it on flame for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat off.
8) Serve hot with steaming rice.