The Kolkata Fish Fry

The Kolkata (then Calcutta) Fish Fry was developed during the British rule in India when Kolkata was the capital of the country. While working with local, fresh produce to prepare delicacies for the British officers, the Indian cooks often instructed to replicate European food (or British country food) which were favourites among the British. Indian produce and the available ingredients were not enough to bring out the same western taste, so, the Bawarchees (cooks) started to mixing, twisting and seasoning the western recipes according to their understanding and experience with cooking. Some popular and legendary food like Chop, Kobiraji and Fish Fry born in this way. Lately, cafes played a significant role to make such delicacies popular among the mass. Old, heritage cafes/restaurants like Dilkusha Cabin, Mitra Café, Indian Coffee House, Nizam’s to name a few in Kolkata still serve these snacks on their menu.

Crispy, crumb coated Fish Fry is traditionally made with sweet water fish Barramundi, locally known as Bhetki. Fleshy, fewer bones and distinct taste has made this fish a common choice for Fish Fry. A salad is usually served as a side to Fish Fry which would consist of julienned cucumber, beetroots, and thin slices of onions with a dash of lemon and of course Bengal’s favourite Mustard sauce Kasundi. 🙂

Kolkata Fish Fry
Kolkata Fish Fry

Kolkata Fish Fry

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • Fish fillets- 500g
  • Vegetable oil for frying- 300ml

For Marination

  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Coriander leaves- 150g
  • Green chillies- 4-5
  • Garlic cloves- 10-12
  • Green chilli sauce- 1 tbsp

For Coating

  • Breadcrumbs or powdered Rusk
  • Eggs- 4

Method

Marinate the fish fillets with salt and lemon juice for 20 minutes. Now make the second marinade.

Marinated Fish fillets with salt & lemon juice
Marinated Fish fillets with salt & lemon juice

In a food processor add coriander leaves, chilli sauce, green chillies, and garlic cloves, blitz until smooth.

Ingredients for second marinade
Ingredients for the second marinade

Add this mixture to the fish fillets and marinate further for 1 hour.

Marinated Fish fillets with second marination
Marinated Fish fillets with second marination

Arrange Breadcrumbs in a plate.

For egg wash break the eggs in a bowl, whisk well, and keep aside.

Now dip a marinated fish fillet first in whisked egg, then coat it with breadcrumbs. Repeat the steps again. That means each fish fillet need to be coated twice with egg wash and breadcrumbs. Do the coating of the fish fillets for one at a time. While coating with breadcrumbs use your fingers to give a neat shape to every fish fillet.

Coated fish fillet before frying
Coated fish fillet before frying

Heat oil in a deep frying pan, start frying the coated fish fillets over medium heat. Fry them until nicely browned from all the sides. Remove from the pan, serve Fish Fry immediately with some onion rings and mustard sauce/kasundi on the side.

The Kolkata Fish Fry

Kolkata Fish Fry has its root in history. Crisp, crumb coated Bhetki Fish fillets taste addictive on every bite, serve hot with Kasundi.

Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 1 hour 47 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 17 minutes
Servings 6
Author Chandrima

Ingredients

  • 500 grams- Fish fillets
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For Marination

  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 150 grams- Coriander leaves
  • 4-5- Green chillies (adjust as per your tolerance)
  • 10-12- Garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp- Green chilli sauce

For Coating

  • Breadcrumbs or powdered Rusk
  • 4 Eggs

Instructions

  1. Marinate the fish fillets with salt and lemon juice for 20 minutes. Now make the second marinade.

  2. In a food processor add coriander leaves, chilli sauce, green chillies, and garlic cloves, blitz until smooth. Add this mixture to the fish fillets and marinate further for 1 hour.

  3. Arrange Breadcrumbs in a plate. 

  4. For egg wash break the eggs in a bowl, whisk well, and keep aside.

  5. Now dip a marinated fish fillet first in whisked egg, then coat it with breadcrumbs. Repeat the steps again. That means each fish fillet need to be coated twice with egg wash and breadcrumbs. Do the coating of the fish fillets for one at a time. While coating with breadcrumbs use your fingers to give a neat shape to every fish fillet.

  6. Heat oil in a deep frying pan, start frying the coated fish fillets over medium heat. Fry them until nicely browned from all the sides. Remove from the pan, serve Fish Fry immediately with some onion rings and mustard sauce/kasundi on the side.

Kolkata Fish Fry
Kolkata Fish Fry

This Kolkata Fish Fry recipe got published in a UK based magazine The Supper Club.

Kolkata Fish Fry
Kolkata Fish Fry
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