ILISH PATURI:: STEAMED SPICED HILSA FISH WRAPPED IN CABBAGE LEAF
This is a typical Bengali HILSA fish dish. PATURI means cooked in leaf (PATA). Usually, Bengali style fish paturi is a spiced fish, steamed by wrapping in banana leaf. In Northern California, banana leaf is not that easily available, so I had to choose an alternative. And I chose the cabbage leaf. When you cook fishes wrapped in banana leaf, you need to unwrap from the leaf and throw the leaf, as the banana leaf is not eatable :-). But the good thing about cooking fishes in a wrapped cabbage leaf is that you can enjoy the leaf. The cabbage leaf becomes really very yummy after cooked in fish oil (Fat) and spicy mustard sauce. The steak cut Hilsa fishes are marinated in mustard paste and other spices, wrapped in cabbage leaf individually, and steamed in the steamer. Yummm!
Prep time: 1hour 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serving: 2 - 4
4 Hilsa fish steak (2-inches thick)
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon kalonji (Black Jeera)
2 tablespoon grated coconut
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
10 green chilis
4 tablespoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon Salt or as much needed
1 cabbage head
Cotton Tread to tie the fishes
First, blanch the cabbage head lightly to take out the leaves; otherwise, the leaves will break.
Separate a few leaves from the cabbage head.
Clean the fish steaks and take out all the outer scales.
Grind mustard seeds, poppy seeds, grated coconut, and green chilies with a little bit of water.
Take this paste, salt, turmeric powder, oil, and kalonji to the plate and mix well.
Mix with fishes and marinate the fish for an hour.
Cover the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator for an hour.
Gently take a cabbage leaf and spread a teaspoon of marinated paste in the cabbage leaf center and place one piece of fish steak over the paste and cover the fish with another teaspoon of paste and then put green chili on top of it.
Fold the cabbage leaf to make a packet and tie it with a cotton thread, so that packet will not open while steaming in the steamer.
Follow the same process for all the fish pieces.
Take a deep saucepan with two cups of water and bring it to a boil.
Take a steamer and put all the tied fishes on it.
Put the steamer in the pan.
Make sure that the boiling water does not touch the fish packets.
Cover the pan and cook the fish in steam for 20 mins in medium-low heat.
After 20 mins, turn off the heat and take out the fishes and let it sit for 10 mins.
untie the packets.
Serve the paturi with steamed. rice.