Chital machh (Clown Knife fish) is one of the favorite fishes of Bengal. Bengalis usually prepare two very popular dishes with this fish. The upper half of the fish is used for the dish ‘Kalia’ and the back side used to make ‘Muitha’ or dumplings.
This is a very traditional recipe and one that fills me with Nostalgia. Many of you might be completely unfamiliar with some of these steps so I have added pictures to guide you all through the way. If you follow the instructions carefully I’m sure you’ll be able to recreate this culinary legend. So let’s get started!
- Scooped flesh of Clown Knife fish without bones 500 gms
- Potatoes 2 (boiled & mashed)
- Potatoes 2 (cubed & fried) **optional
- Onion 1, small (minced)
- Onion 3, large (paste)
- Ginger 1 tbl spn + 1 tsp (paste)
- Garlic 1 tbl spn + 1 tsp ( paste)
- Green chili 2 (minced)
- Egg 1
- Salt as required
- Coconut milk 1 cup (thick)
- Turmeric powder 1 tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder 1.5 tsp
- Coriander powder 2 tsp
- Tomato 2 (medium, paste)
- Curd 4tbl spn
- Cinnamon 1 (2″ stick)
- Green cardamom 4
- Cloves 5-6
- Bay leaf 1
- Oil to fry + 3tbl spn
- Ghee 1tbl spn
If peeled flesh of the Clown Fish is available to you then that is great and reduces a few steps for you, but if not then follow the given steps:
Flatten the (back)portion of the fish which you need to peel (as it is full of bones).
Take a metal spoon and move your hand from back to front,in the direction of the bones, to scoop the flesh of the fish. Scoop in the direction of the bones to avoid getting any bones in the scooped flesh.
When you’re done peeling, this is what the fish should look like
In a bowl, assemble the boneless fish flesh, 2 mashed potatoes,1 minced onion,1 tsp ginger,1 tsp garlic, minced green chili, salt and 1 beaten egg.
Mix all these ingredients with a wooden spoon evenly.
Now in a deep vessel, boil 5-6 cups of water.
Put the dumplings into the boiling water and let it cook for 3 minutes.
When they start coming up near the surface,they’re done.
Take them out and cut into the desired shape as they cool down. Do not drain the broth as we’ll use it in the gravy. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder to these dumplings to give them that bright color.
Now deep fry your dumplings and keep them aside.
****Potatoes are only optional in this dish. But if you would like to add them, add turmeric and salt to cubed potatoes, deep fry and keep them aside.
For the gravy, add 3 tbl of oil in a hot wok and add onion paste to fry till pink. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till brown. Mix half tsp turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and tomato paste with curd and add it to the wok. Fry till you observe oil on the surface.
Add a cup of thick coconut milk and 3 cups of fish broth into this and boil. As it starts boiling add the fried potatoes and fish dumplings to this. Boil till the gravy thickens to desired consistency and then remove from heat.
In a grinder make a powder of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and keep aside. Add this powder to the gravy and cover it with a lid for 5 minutes. Sprinkle Ghee on top for that lovely finish.
Chital machher muitha is ready so enjoy with piping hot basmati rice.
This being a traditional recipe has a few details but trust me the final dish is completely worth it. I hope you all give it a try soon and send me your feedbacks.
Have a good time, happy cooking 🙂