Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fish egg balls

I have never understood the hullabaloo over caviar. Of course part of the reason was when I was little I used to think caviar was black ant eggs, and we had plenty of them around! Still, even as a grown up, I didn't go over the moon, when I at last had caviar daintily garnishing graduate celebratory parties (yes, they always used to be on the canapes at the bash thrown by a student completing his Ph.D. A VERY WORTHY cause for celebration!). Fish roe are middle class fare in Bengal, that riverine country where fish is staple at most tables. They are delicacies of course, more so because they are strictly seasonal. Come monsoon and the mating season, and once in a while we would be lucky to get a fat fish rich with roe. However, after seeing a programme featuring a $1000 pizza showcasing four different varieties of caviar, I felt I had been doing injustice to the homely fare!
I had about 300 gm roe from "katla" (silver carp) stocked in my freezer. Generally, it is used to make "bora" as called in Bengal or kofta. One can just leave it fried or make it into a gravy dish.

300 gm fish roe, roughly chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
3 Tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 and half teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
3-5 Tablespoon Bengal gram flour
Mustard Oil to fry

For the gravy
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato or 3 Tablespoon paste
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon curd, mixed with another tablespoon water

Chop the roe and drain it well. Finely mince garlic, chilli, onion, coriander. In a large bowl put the dry ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Add the minced ingredients. Finally put the roe and mix it in. Everything should be by hand, since we don't want the components blitzed. The mixture should hold its shape when made into balls.
Heat oil in a kadai. Add the balls, frying them golden. Drain.

For a gravy, I usually make a simple paste with onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. The paste is cooked in a few tablespoon of oil until the oil separates. Beat a few tablespoon of yoghurt and add it to the onion mixture. Add the fried balls/bora/kofta, add salt to taste and cook covered for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

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