Macher paturi on the couch

Mallika Basu - Macher paturi on the couch

Posted 9th October 2007

macher-paturi.jpgLost under an oversized “Dont Mess with Texas” T-shirt, I sank into our black, P Diddy-esque leather couch.

Sundays are the only time I’m quiet , reflective. Recovering from the ravages of Saturday night. Quietly freaking out about looming deadlines. Uncle Roy’s impending charity Indian ball. Christmas. Anything, really.

Hubby sits beside me having a crap movie fest, cherishing the rare silence. As my father-in-law tactfully put it, the only time the Basu sisters are quiet is when they are hungry or asleep.

How true. For I was craving something super healthy. But, far too fagged out to stir onions.

I remembered the banana leaves in the freezer. In a fit of total idiocy, I bought a massive pack when I really needed two leaves. Leaving no room in the drawer for essentials like frozen parathas and ice cream.

It was time to put them to good use with macher paturi, fish smothered in mustard, coriander and chilli, wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. It’s served on special occasions like weddings in West Bengal.

Wrenching myself away from the riveting Holloywood blockbuster that is Elektra, I returned 20 minutes later with a full plate and smug smile. I was going to be ready for that deep, meaningful conversation soon.

This recipe serves 2:

2 boneless and preferably skinless cod fillets

60 gm fresh coriander leaves

4 tsp wholegrain mustard

4 tsp mustard oil

4 small green finger chillies

2 green banana leaves

Salt to taste

Bring the kettle to boil with two cups of water. In a blender, puree all the ingredients with a teaspoon of water to get a light, grainy paste. Add enough salt to make it a strong marinade.

Smother the surface of each cod fillet with this paste and place on a washed banana leaf. Make a parcel, folding the leaf over each fillet evenly.

Place in a steamer (I used a covered colander over a pot) and steam for about 12 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

I served this with traditional wedding delicacy ghee bhat, 75 gm rice cooked with a teaspoon of ghee and some salt, and steamed broccoli, for no particular reason. A delicious combination.

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