How to cook with fish eggs or roe the Bengali way
I was first introduced to caviar in Iran. Whenever I was served it in a five star hotel, I was told that it was a delicacy and a highly priced one.
The fish roes used to be black in colour, very salty and almost the size of sago or sabudana. We used to spread the caviar on bread or naan and eat them up.
Though I do not want to undermine the taste of caviar, I would any day prefer the humble desi fish roe fry or Macher Dimer Bora Bhaja cooked in Bengali style.
Fish roe may not be very high in the ladder of fish aristocracy, it is still my all-time favourite.
Recipe for Fish Roe Fry or Macher Dimer Bora
200 gm fish roe of Rui (Rohu) ( can be bought separately in any shop that sells fresh fish)
2 tbsp of oil
One medium sized onion cut into small pieces
One green chilly finely chopped
A handful of besan or gram flour
1. Wash the fish roe gently. Mash it thoroughly and mix it with chopped onion and green chilli. Add a handful of besan to bind the stuff.
2. Do not put too much of it or it will become hard. Add salt to taste.
3. Next, heat oil in a wok.
4. Form fish roe mix in the shape of small pakoras and fry in oil. Reduce the heat and let them simmer for a while, turning them now and then. They should be crispy from outside and soft inside.
Serve them with hot rice and masoor daal. It is just heavenly!
Recipe for Fish Roe Curry
If you find some fish roe pakoras left from your meal, you can make a curry out of them.
1. First, make a potato curry with two pre-boiled potatoes, cut into small square pieces.
2. When the curry is almost ready, pour the left-out pakoras in the gravy and let them simmer for half a minute.
3. Sprinkle some ground garam masalas or roasted ground cumin powder over it and turn off the gas. Serve with rice.
Recipe for Hilsa Fish Roe
Hilsa roe may somewhat be compared to caviar, at least price-wise due to its exorbitant price. Fish roe of Hilsa is prepared in a bit different way as we hardly use any spice while cooking this fish and prefer its original flavour.
1. Wash the Hilsa roe gently and cut it into small pieces (3/4 th of an inch each). Smear the pieces with a pinch of turmeric, salt and a teaspoon of besan if you cannot manage without it. Fry gently on low heat.
2. Serve with rice and daal.
3. Alternatively, you can also leave the roe inside the Hilsa pieces and cook fish curry along with it. While eating, you can take out the roe from the pieces, and eat separately.
How to make fish roe with small-sized fish
So much about the big fishes. Small ones too have roes and some of them are quite tasty. For example, Parshe or Boi fish.
In case of small ones, we do not take out their roe, but let them be in the fish and prepare the fish curry along with their roes. They too taste splendid.
By the way, fish roe is not available throughout the year so we must make the most of it while it is available during the rainy season.
Fish roe fry or Macher Dimer Bora Bhaja is a comfort food, which is popularly cooked in Bengali homes. You hardly get to savour it in a restaurant.
I would, however, love to know what people from other communities do with the fish roe and how they cook it.
Rekha Karmakar is a proud mother of two sons, and having retired as a college professor, spends her time writing about her varied life experiences in her blog Tabulous Mom on her computer tablet. She started blogging in 2010 as a guest blogger on Finely Chopped. She writes mostly about her stay and travel in foreign countries and her teaching experiences.