Monday, July 28, 2014

Maach er Chop - Bengali Style Fish Croquette and yes they are BAKED!



Past few  days had been cloudy and gloomy with busts of thunderstorm and flash flood warning! Now where did all the summer gorgeousness go???

A few more weeks of summer vacations is still left and the we are almost stranded indoors. In this weather all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a piping hot cup of tea and a book, but the 5 year old always has other plans!

Confessions: We are not heavily into art and crafts. 

So after our ritualistic "study time", we both head to the kitchen to create some delicious mess. Things always don't go as planned and more often then not, I loose my cool. I vow never to let him in the kitchen again, only to break it the next day.





Back home, the  Monsoon Season always meant evenings with hot tea and spicy, deep fried fritters or croquettes. This nagging wet weather makes me crave for that deep fried guilty pleasure.
I am having a crazy craving for some Maach er Chop.

Every time I have a Macher Chop er craving, I satiate it with my easy-peesy Brazilian Cod Fish Ball, mainly because its convenience. Its a lot less work than making my favorite Kolkata style Maach er Chop - the one I grew up eating; the one grew up loving.

But not today. Today I want the real thing, just the way Ma would make it. 





The Bengali word Chop is not to be confused with Meat Chops (the cut of meat cut perpendicularly to the spine, usually containing a rib). Its our version of Croquette. Every Bengali had grown up eating them especially on a lazy afternoon accompanied with a cup hot tea and a bowl of Muri (puffed rice).

Aloo r Chop (Potato Croquette) is by far the most poplar chop closely followed by Vegetable Chop (Mixed Veggies Croquette) and Dim er Chop (Egg Croquette).

Maach er Chop (Fish Croquette) and Mangsho r Chop (Lamb or goat meat Croquette) have a celebrity status and are mostly reserved for special occasions.

Then there are specialty and seasonal chops like Mocha r Chop (Banana Blossom Croquette), Tometo r Chop (Tomato Croquette) and Aam er chop (Raw Mango Croquette).

Now if I have to pick my favorite, it definitely will be Maach er Chop (Fish Croquette) followed by Mocha r Chop (Banana Blossom Croquette) and Dim er Chop (Egg Croquette).






My Ma had given me a very detailed recipe over the phone and I had promised I would follow it to the tee. But me being myself, I dared to challenge perfection, yet again!

So instead of lightly frying the fish, I poached it in an aromatic bath. I added turmeric to the fried onions. I added coriander leaves (cilantro) to the fish mixture, because I cannot imagine my food without herbs. I did not refrigerate my prepared patties nor did I double coat them. And finally instead of deep frying them in pan-full of oil, I baked them at a 400 F oven!

But even after butchering my Mom's recipe I was left with with 15 delicious, crispy Maach er Chop with were just as good.

Hope you'll love them just as much as we did.


Recipe Snapshot: Maach er Chop - Bengali Style Fish Croquette  


Makes: 15

What I used:
Any firm white fish (Hake / Cod / Tilapia/ Swai / Basa / Mahi mahi / Halibut / Catfish) - 3 standard sized fillet, cut into two or big chunks. (I use 3 standard sized Wild Caught Hake Loins from Costco)

Potato - 2 medium sized, boiled and mashed

For the aromatic bath:
Water -  2 cups or enough to just cover the fish fillet
Onion - 1/2 of a medium sized onion
Ginger - 2 thick slices
Garlic - 2 fat cloves, bruised
Whole peppercorns - 4 to 5
Bay leaf - 2
Cinnamon - 1 stick

For the Patty:
Onion - 1 medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 2, finely chopped (purely optional)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp (or less if you prefer milder or substitute Paprika)
Garam Masala - 1 tsp (I used my homemade one which had just cinnamon, cardamom and cloves)
Salt to taste
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - a handful, finely chopped

Eggs - 2, whisked with a tablespoon of water
Bread crumbs  -  1 cup
Oil spray




What I did:


1. Poach the fish in simmering water along with the ingredients under "For the aromatic bath". Alternately, you can cook the fish in microwave till fork tender. You can even shallow fry it. My mom lightly fries the turmeric and salt smeared fish in mustard oil, before deboning it and proceeding with the rest of the recipe.

2. Once the fish is fully cooked (5-6 minutes), gently removed the fish pieces with a slotted spoon and flake it with a fork and keep aside. Strain the poaching liquid to get rid of the chunky spices. The poaching liquid is a powerhouse of flavors. Use it as a base of a soup or fish curry.

3. Heat a pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the finely chopped onions and fry it till lightly golden. You can also add a pinch of sugar to help caramelize the onions. 

4. Once the onions are slightly fried, add the ginger-garlic paste, chopped chilies, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala and salt and fry till the raw smell is gone. If the masala starts to stick, add a tiny splash of water. 

5. After the spices have cooked completely, add the flaked fish and mix well with the masala.

6. Now add the mashed potatoes and mix it with the fish mixture thoroughly.

7. Switch off the heat and add a handful of finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and mix well. Now let the mixture cool till its ready to be handled by hand. 

8. While the fish-potato-spice mixture cools, its a good idea to preheat the oven to 400 F. Also line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and grease it with oil spray. 

9. Crack two eggs and a tablespoon of water and whisk it till you have nice frothy egg wash. Also pour a cup of seasoned bread crumbs in a dry plate. 

10. Once the mixture cools enough to handle, make equal sized patties out of the mix. Well... almost equal sized! I made mine round and slightly flattened. But you can make them oblong, which is the more traditional shape. 

11. Dip each patty in the egg wash and roll it in the breadcrumbs and place it on the greased aluminum covered cookie sheet. Repeat it for all the patties.

12. Once all the patties are arranged on the cookie sheet, spray them lightly with nonstick cooking spray, this will ensure a crispy golden crust. 

13. Bake them for 30-35 minutes, till they are golden and crispy.

14. Serve with condiment of choice. My favorite is coarse mustard sauce and Sriracha. The kid of course had it with load of tomato ketchup.



Notes/Tip: The patty can also be deep fried, which is definitely the more common and delicious approach. If you are deep frying it, after the crumb coat, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Take it out, dip it again in the egg wash and roll it in the breadcrumbs again. We need to do the crumb coat twice for that super crispy exterior. 

Diabetic Platter:
Hake consumed in many countries, and most of them can be purchased at a reasonable price. However, this does not mean that a food is second hand, much less. This is one of the fish with less fat there, as they hardly have a 2% lipids. Moreover, these are the omega 3, which are very beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease, strokes and some cancers.


Otherwise, this fish is very easy to digest, and that ETA made ​​a lot of water. It has no carbohydrates and is a very good source of protein, with 12%. In total, 100 grams of hake provide 64 calories.

Another important contribution of hake with important micronutrients for the operation of our organismo.Vitaminas in group B (B1, B2 and B3), and between minerals is a rich source of phosphorus.

Source: http://blog.ancavico.com/en/2011/07/beneficios-de-la-merluza/

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1 comment:

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