While in Bangalore, my hubby once bought a pack of koi fishes from the nearby Bengali Hal Market. I don't know what blocked his sense of smell that he failed to sniff the stench descending from the fishes and bought them unmindfully. The same thing that temporarily incapacitated his olfactory organ seemed to have its way with me too because until I began to cook, I didn't find anything amiss with the fishes. I presume the fish seller coated the fishes with something to suppress the stink and hence the smell didn't strike us strong enough. As I went about frying them, a strong foul odor hit my nose sharply and I started wondering where the smell was coming from, hopeful that the fishes were fresh. I cooked Sorshe Koi, appetizing to look at with a layer of raw mustard oil floating nicely on top.
Finally when the cooking was over and lunch time approached, I set the bowls and plates on table gearing myself up for a wonderful Sunday afternoon meal with Sorshe Koi, Butter Masoor Dal, Begun Bhaja and rice. Just as I served the fishes in our respective plates and my hubby took a mouthful of rice with a tiny morsel of fish mixed into it, he spit it off immediately saying the fish tasted awful. Eventually, it dawned on us that my hubby was deceived with a shoal of rotten stale fishes. It has been a year since that incident that we didn't try buying Koi from anywhere, fearful that we may be duped again.
This time when I visited the Bangladeshi Grocery Store and laid eyes on a packet of frozen kois lying upon the shelf of a giant refrigerator, I couldn't repress my appetite and grabbed them at once. A single bad incident cannot spoil our eternal bond with Koi, a fish so lovingly cooked by my mother and delightfully savoured by all in our family. Oh yes, this time the fishes were well-preserved and in good condition. Here is a Tel Koi for you:
Ingredients: Cooking time: 30 minutes
ü 6 koi fishes
ü 1 tbsp ginger paste
ü 1 tsp kashmiri red mirch
ü 1 tsp turmeric powder
ü 1 tsp cumin powder
ü 1 tsp coriander powder
ü 3 tbsp yogurt, beaten
ü 4-5 green chillies (ground into paste or split in half)
ü Salt to taste
ü Mustard oil for cooking
1) Wash the fishes under running water cleanly. Pat them dry and rub them with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder.
2) Heat oil in a wok. When oil turns piping hot, toss in the fishes and fry them till golden brown in color, on medium heat. (Please be careful that the oil doesnot burn and become black in color.)
3) Meanwhile, in a small container, mix in turmeric powder, kashmiri red mirch, ginger paste, cumin powder, coriander powder and green chilli paste. Add few drops of water into the mixture and stir well.
4) When the fishes are browned on all sides, pour the above spice mixture into the wok. Stir once and cook covered for 2-3 minutes.
5) Add 1/4 cup of water, salt and yogurt. Again cook covered for few minutes till the fishes are tender.
6) Serve hot with rice.