Thursday, 5 December 2013

An ode to Calcutta's Continental Cuisine

In the 90s, and I am a 90s kid, typical Calcuttan knew three kinds of cuisines, Indian, Chinese and Continental. Global cuisine, world cuisine, etc were terms yet to enter the culinary fabric of Calcutta, and specialty cuisines like Japanese and Italian were nowhere in the vicinity. And the typical Calcuttan khadyoroshik was pretty happy with the situation. Of course Chinese food ruled the roster, and the ubiquitous chilli-chicken-fried-rice said in one breadth was a perennial favourite and of course the Chow, hakka and gravy (not Cantonese style, but gravy). 

Now coming to Continental cuisine — Chicken roast and prawn cocktail definitely topped the charts, some wopuld say, while others would vouch for the steaks and sizzlers. And Continental Cusine had within its fold everything from the American Tetrazini to the Russian Stroganoff. There seemed to have been a general belief  (except among those who loved it) that Continental food was either bland or had too much cream and cheese. Through my childhood my favourite food was Chicken Tetrazini, and it was BECAUSE of the cream and cheese. 

Anyway, this dish, is my ode to Continental Cuisine of Calcutta. I made it with fish last night, you could do it with chicken too, while sipping on a glass of rum and coke. It had been a tiring day and I wanted to whip up something simple, and was itching to use the block of Parmesan I had brought home the day before.

So what you have is perfectly cooked, tender and flaky pieces of fish in a creamy sauce under a crisp, beautiful golden crust. I love it. Yet to think of a name for this one.


Bekti (fillet, cut in 2 inch cubes) - 1kg
Plain flour - 1 tsp 
Garlic paste - 1 tsp 
Fresh cream - 100g
Parmesan cheese (grated)- 1/2 + 1/2 cup 
Fresh chopped parsley - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Fresh coursely ground pepper - 2 tbsp
Bread crumbs - 2 tbsp (approx)


Season the fish well and line them the pieces to cover the bottom of your baking tray.

In a bowl, mix together the fresh cream, grated Parmesan (one part), garlic paste, flour, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley (leave a little for garnish). Pour the mixture on to the fish so that it covers the fish.

In the meantime preheat oven at 170 degree centigrade. 

Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top so that it covers the dish more or less evenly. Do the same with the rest of the Parmesan.

Bake the fish at 170 degree centigrade for 20 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and eat it piping hot. Yes I said eat and not serve.

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