Friday, 12 September 2008

Ilisher Muro Diye Chenchra / Mixed vegetables with fish head

This dish has mixed vegetables and a leafy vegetable to give it some body. It may or may not be made with fish head .... a Bengali delicacy. Called the Chorchori / Charchari in Bengali, I am used to the word Chenchra / Chencheda (in Oriya) too. My part upbringing in Orissa is responsible for this ... I often mix up Oriya and Bengali words ... not knowing which is which actually. :-)

Usually made with the Pui/ Poi shag, the good old palak can also be used as a substitue. But of course, the taste will differ greatly.

I would give my right arm happily today just to get even one small bunch of Poi. The last time I had it was last year .... when I was in Delhi. Jiju had got some fresh bunches of this beautiful leaf and I had made the vegetarian chorchori. Everybody loved it .... yes .... their teen daughter too .... which may speak volumes about the dish. :-)

Out here I don't get it. :-(
I have heard it is available easily in Mumbai .... but not here.

I had got Ilish this time .... and was in a dilema with what to do with the head. Considering I get this fish only once in a year .... I will have to be very,very,very lucky to get it twice .... and so many types of dishes that can be made with it .... I was in a fix.
So went on a trip down memory lane and found out that I miss the chenchra more than the Ambol ( sour dish ). So decided to make it.
Of course it doesn't taste the same without the poi. :-(
Again, this dish does not have too many masalas and the taste is greatly from the vegetables and the fish head.

The vegetarian version can have mungaudi / sun dried lentil dumplings added to it.

Need : Fish head (marinated with salt and tumeric and fried well), palak / spinach ( or whichever leafy vegetable you are using) washed and chopped coarsely, paanch phoron, whole red chillies, vegetables (pumpkin,brinjal,potato, etc) cut into cubes, grated ginger, haldi powder, mustard oil / any cooking oil and salt to taste.

How to : Heat oil. Add the paanch phoron and red chillies. Add the vegetables and fry for some time.
Add the haldi powder, ginger and palak. Then add the fish head. Stir well.
Add salt ( remember ... the fish head has salt .... and palak too is slightly salty).
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done. Add a little water if necessary.
It should be mushy and well done and the fish head will be all broken up and blended well into the dish.
Goes best when served hot with steamed rice and dal.


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