This is not an everyday recipe. A Bengali household can relish Macher jhol everyday with gorom gorom (hot) bhaat (plain rice). And when the whole Rui (rohu) mach (fish) is brought home, carefully the Ginni (lady of the house) cleans the fish, separates the daily quota and puts the fish head in the deep freezer along with the remaining packets. On a Friday night, before sleep engulfs her, she chalks out her menu for the next day. She thinks of cooking mur(d)i-ghanto for the Saturday lunch, when everyone in the house is together for a sumptuous meal with some finger-licking dishes. She takes utmost care to cook her mur(d)i-ghanto and happy with the compliments that come her way.
The ‘she’ in me is no way less interested. Last Saturday I cooked mur(d)i-ghanto.
Speaking of mur(d)i ghanto, the ‘d’ sound has its own effect in it. Not a tongue twister but the tongue helps in bringing the two sounds together...like the Kingfisher Ad...
Cookinh Mur(d)i Ghanto is easy. For this dish we need:
Fish head – 1 big Rohu head will do. Clean it properly, wash, rub it with some haldi (turmeric) powder and salt.
1 tomato, washed and cut into tiny pieces.
In the meantime peel two big potatoes, wash and dice them.
2 onions, 4-5 fat garlic cloves, 1 inch long ginger, all go together into making a paste.
Kick start the cooking process by placing the kadhai/wok on the stove. Pour oil enough to fry the fish head. Once done, this goes into waiting.
Pour out some oil from the kadhai into a small bowl for later use. There should be about 2 tbsp oil remaining in the kadhai.
Now tip in whole garam masala – cinnamon 1 inch stick, cloves 4-5, cardamom 4-5 – don’t beat them hard but a simple crush in mortar and pestle so that they are slightly broken. Tip them in the kadhai and soon the aroma of the grand Indian spices will start spreading all around. Add 2-3 bay leaves.
Add the onion, ginger, garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Put in the tomatoes pieces. Soon the tomatoes will start breaking up and become mushy.
After having cooked for 6-7 minutes add the cubed potatoes. Cook till the oil separates from the masala.
In the meantime take 2 tbsp of raw rice and roast them in another pan. Once the rice starts hopping and popping around in the pan, pour them into the cooking kadhai.
Now break the fried fish head into smaller pieces, tip into the kadhai and stir cook for 2 minutes.
Add water (sufficient for the potatoes to cook), cover with a lid and let the curry cook over high flame.
Once the water dries up Mur(d)i Ghanto is ready to be served.
Savour this dish with plain rice or roti.
And let me know.