“Learning never exhausts the mind”. These were the words of the famous Italian painter Leonardo Da Vinci and I think it’s very very apt. After all, life becomes a tedious affair without new learnings every now and then. Well, apart from other things, what keeps me intrigued and hooked to cooking is, learning and trying out new recipes. It sort of makes me feel accomplished in my own teeny-weeny way because when you learn to cook dishes of different varieties, you get to know about new flavours that enriches your cooking style.
Bengali Cuisine is something that I am getting to know up, close and personal after my marriage and keep experimenting with. The outcome of this experimentation was “Kopi Katla Jhol”.
Kopi Katla Jhol
“Kopi diye Bhetki Machher Jhol” is a classic Bengali dish prepared with “Bhetki Machh” / “Barramundi Fish” that predominantly used to be a winter dish……primarily because of the availability of cauliflowers (Kopi) during winters. I got to relish this dish for the first time ever when my father-in-law cooked it for all of us. It tasted lip smackingly delicious to me, all the more because of his subtle flavouring which made the dish supremely piquant. Needless to say, I got hooked to the flavour and love his version of “Kopi Bhetki”. However, I made this classic dish using “Katla Fish”.
Katla Fish is a variant of Rohu fish and I find it very flavoursome. The pieces of big fish are usually fleshy which acts as a flavour enhancer. Going by my cooking instincts and following my FIL’s recipe, I somehow knew the flavour of this fish will gel well with cauliflower. Out of that thought “Kopi Katla” was born which turned out to be very delectable and inviting.
Read on for the full recipe!
- Katla / Rohu Fish – 5 pieces ( We prefer fish with less or no bones and accordingly get the pieces)
- Cauliflower – 1/2 of a medium-sized cauliflower
- Potato – 3 medium-sized
- Onion Paste / grated onion – 2 medium-sized
- Chopped Green Chillies – 2-3 (Depends on how spicy you want to make it)
- Mustard Oil – 3-4 tablespoons
- Bay Leaf – 1
- Grated ginger – 1.5 teaspoons
- Tomato Puree – 1 big sized
- Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
- Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon (Optional)
- Salt to taste
- Sugar – 2-3 teaspoons
- Chopped Coriander Leaves for garnishing
- Wash the fish pieces properly and marinate it with a bit of salt, turmeric powder and a we bit of red chilli powder. In a non-stick pan, put 1 tablespoon of mustard oil and pan fry the fish pieces. Once they turn light brown from each side, take out and keep aside.
- Take cauliflower florets (medium size) and stir fry them in the same pan. Once done, take out.
- Cut potatoes in the wedge shape (The way potato wedges are made) and stir fry them a bit too.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil in the same or another pan. Put bay leaf in it. Add grated ginger and let it turn a little brown in colour. Add chopped green chillies and onion paste in it and cook it for about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato puree, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt in the mixture and give it a nice mix.
- Add sugar and mix well (Most of the Bengali curries have a hint of sweetness to it).
- Once the oil comes out of the masala/ mixture, add a little bit of water, potato wedges, cauliflower florets and fish pieces in it. Mix well, put on the lid and let it cook for about 7-10 minutes so that all the flavour blends nicely. Be careful not to over cook.
- Take the lid out, mix everything nicely and carefully and cook it for another 5 minutes before turning off the flame.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.
(Always be extra careful while flipping the pieces of fish as they are soft and can break easily)
Kopi Katla was a successful experiment but a very calculated one as I was more or less aware about the fantabulous outcome. The curry was very sumptuous with the flavour of the fish and cauliflower combined, added with a touch of sweetness. It simply was mind-blowing. The Katla / Rohu fish was fresh and fleshy which created magic with cauliflower. I think my Bong husband didn’t even miss having Bhetki Machh in the curry and relished “Kopi Katla” immensely with rice….And that my friend is an accomplishment for me. On my next visit to Kolkata, I intend to make it for my in-laws. After all it’s predominantly father-in-law’s dish.
When are you making this dish? Do let me know in the comment section your feedback on the dish and post in general. I would love to hear from you.
Till then, Happy Munching & Keep Smiling! 🙂