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Monday, January 30, 2012

Winters in Delhi & Recipe for Fish Amritsari....

Winters in Delhi....
  • bitter cold with howling winds, occasional rains, grey swirling mists and a watery sun being no help at all...
  • profusion of winter caps and sweaters adding bits of colour to the grey days....
  • overcrowding in the roadside tea stalls for a hot milky glass of chai to will away the winter blues....
  • stray bonfires warming people up....
  • cigarette smoke merging into the mist and after a while the only thing visible is the glowing red tip...
  • desperately trying to snuggle into a cosy corner while the auto rushes by with its radio blaring on at top volume...
  • dipping a morsel of the soft tandoori roti into the yogurt-y gravy of lamb yakhni while sipping a kahwah in the Kashmiri stall in Dilli Haat after an exhaustive bout of shopping....
  • eating ice cream while your teeth clatters and your bones freeze under the benevolent gaze of  the India Gate and the inky blue midnight sky....
  • peanut vendors doing a brisk trade selling  peanuts in their ochre shells, roasted in warm sand...
  •  the markets overflowing with fresh vegetables-- cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots, peas, radishes, broad beans, spinach, tomatoes...a profusion of colours and smells....ah the Indian bazars....
  • not to forget the winter fruits....primarily the oranges....the sweet, strong smell of oranges lingering long after you finished eating it....
  • various paranthas peeking out of lunch boxes.... the taste of homemade aloo, mooli, methi, peyaz paranthas with the pickles adding the necessary sour quotient....
  • a terrace party with the hookah doing rounds and kababs are being grilled while people discuss politics, a little tipsy....
  •  little food stalls selling dal pokori with  fresh mooli and mint chutney on top.....
  • smell of ghee and mewa wafting from the gajar ka halwa being cooked in large vats in the mithai ka dukan...... 
  • a heap of fresh vegetables, mostly carrots and radishes, chopped into edible pieces, in a crooked steel plate which spins madly, along with some green chillies and lime, a salad, compliments from the dhaba while they cook your order of mater paneer and chicken tandoori......
  • gajak overflowing the markets....
  • pipping hot chole batures, kauchoris with aloo ki sabzi, sarso ka saag and maki ki roti, and last but not the least Fish Amritsari....

For the  fish loving Bengali me, Fish Amritsari was perhaps the best discovery during Delhi winters. This dish originated in Amritsar, hence the name. During winters which is when Punjabis eat fish, it is widely found in Delhi as well. Be it the lawns of Gymkhana Club or roadside dhabas, this fish is on the menu everywhere, but sadly only during the winter months. This is usually eaten as a starter.
While browsing through a food blog aptly named The Good Life, I stumbled across the recipe of Fish Amritsari and I knew I had to try it. Now I keep making this fish dish. This dish is best enjoyed with friends.
I tweaked the recipe a little (mainly the batter), relying on the innumerable plates of this fish that I have devoured during my years in Delhi. You can find the original recipe here.



This is how I prepare Fish Amtirsari....this is basically in two stages marinating the fish and then dipping it in batter and deep frying.

First we marinate the fish for which we need:
800 gms to 1 kg of fillet of any fish with firm, white flesh [bhetki would be good, I use Cod here, skin off and cut into about 1 inch pieces (smaller pieces make it easier to fry), from 800 gms of fish you will easily get approx 20 pieces ]
1 table spoon of ginger and garlic paste each
1 tea spoon of red chilly powder or according to your taste
Juice of one lime
Marinate the fish fillets and refrigerate for an hour to two hours (remember fish flesh is soft so prolonged marination can result in flaking of the fish)

For making the batter we need:
1 cup of besan/gram flour
1/2 cup of plain thick yogurt (I usually use Greek Yogurt)
1 tea spoon of ajwain/carom seeds
1 tea spoon of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda (I skip the usual egg here because egg in the batter makes the oil bubble up while frying)
Salt to taste
2 to 3 green chillies finely sliced
A handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
I also add the juice of the marinade into the batter as well when I dip the fishes into the batter
Mix all of this into a lump free paste, add a little water if the batter is too thick. Make this batter half an hour  or so before frying and let it sit for a while.



Dip the fishes into the marinade. Meanwhile heat about a cup of oil in a large pan, wait till it is pipping hot with fumes and all, reduce the heat to a medium low,  shake off the excess marinade and  fry the  pieces of the fish till  crisp and golden brown. Drain the excess oil on a paper napkin.

For garnishing sprinkle some chat masala, coriander leaves and lime juice and serve hot. It disappears within seconds!

5 comments:

  1. Yummmy...I have got to try this now...Aruna.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh please do try this...it is super yummy and the weather is perfect for it....:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. ha ha . Quite perfect description of Delhi's Winters Suchi. Am also from Delhi and staying in the UK currently.. Feels the same :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did my bachelors as well as masters in Delhi......your post made me quite nostalgic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks yummy:) will surely try it, Happy Blogging:) following your Blog

    ReplyDelete

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