Lunch Special: This Chicken Paturi Is A Lovely Spin To An Iconic Bengali Fish Recipe, Can You Guess?
Image Credit: Ayandrali Dutta

Bengali cuisine is emerging as a global sensation now, but the understanding of the cuisine remains skewed. It is true that the region boasts of many fish preparations, but the way it is marinated, cooked, and served, also differs from region to region. There is a great degree of variance in the choice of fish too. For instance, the ‘East Bengalis’ or the natives of present-day Bangladesh, who migrated to India post-partition are traditionally known to be very fond of river water fish, whereas the ‘Ghotis’ native of West Bengals, have their own set of choices when it comes to fish, they are also notorious for their love for prawns or chingri.

There is a difference in the condiments used as well; in Ghoti cuisine you will see pronounced use of jaiphal, javitri and posto or poppy seeds. While 'Bangal' cuisine is both famous and infamous for being hot and fiery due to the use of mustard and chillies.

One of the most beloved fish delicacies of ‘Bangals’ is Ilish Macher Paturi. It is nothing like your regular fish curry. Hilsa or Ilish is the national fish of Bangladesh, even the ‘Bangals’ who migrated to other parts of the country or the world are very particular about their Ilish Maach (or Hilsa fish). Since it is one of the most expensive fishes in the world, it deserves all the tender, love and care too.  The word ‘Paturi’ is derived from the word ‘Pata’ which means a leaf. Paturi is a pocket made by a leaf, more often than not a banana leaf. In this banana leaf, fish coated in mustard and poppy seeds is wrapped with a  chilli and steamed until it is nice and tender. Ilish macher paturi is served hot with rice.

Now the method of preparation is so interesting here that there is no harm in trying to steam different types of fish, or chicken this way. One of our Slurrp Community members Debasree Sarkar has given the iconic fish preparation her own spin by replacing fish with chicken. That’s right, in this recipe, the chicken is marinated with a paste made of mustard, poppy seeds, coconut and whipped yogurt for close to an hour. Then it is wrapped with leaves and tied with a thread. Then the chicken along with the banana leaves are fried on medium flame and served hot.  

It is so much easier to make than you think. Here's the recipe.