Thursday, 9 October 2014

Baked Bori Bekti

Ahhh! Finally back after a long break! But it was a much needed break, and such a fun break it was. I made a conscious effort to stay away from the kitchen these twelve days! I only feasted on food cooked by others. The four days of Durga Puja was madness, between pandal-hopping and eating and meeting friends and making merry in general, and the fun continued even after. Finally I have regained some composure, my mind is brimming with ideas and I haven't felt as rested in a long time. So, today I entered the kitchen with renewed vigour and tossed up another innovation. Super hit is the verdict at home!

Now I have made my love for bori (dried lentil dumplings Bengali style) amply clear when I posted about my grandmother's favourtie Borir Jhaal. Once again, Bori is the star of this recipe Baked Bori Bekti. Now traditional Bengali cuisine offers quite a few ways of cooking fish with bori. At home we make a Machher Jhol (a runny fish stew of sorts) with ginger and cumin paste, a host of vegetables like raw banana, brinjal, potatoes, etc to which we add fried whole boris. I remember during my childhood, this was the customary lunch the day after a feast/party at home. I ate it only for the bori. Besides we make a Pabda Jhaal  (cooked with mustard paste) with bori, and a sspicy Katla Kalia with cauliflower, potatoes and bori! There are numerous other examples, the point is fish and bori make for a delicious combination. I took this awesome twosome and gave it a delicious twist.

What we have here is thick fish fillets, baked, with a garlicky-mustard-y bori crust and smattering of deep crushed bori for an extra crunch. This dish is nothing like anything I have had, yet comfortingly familiar. The crunch from the bori, the fiery zing of the mustard and chilies and the aroma of garlic, together they give the Bekti a brilliant makeover. For this recipe I have used asafoetida flavoured bori, you could use any mildly flavoured bori, ideally a Bengali variety, since other regional versions of the bori are usually spicy and there might be a clash of flavours.


Thick fillets of Bekti (no skin) - 6
Bori - 100 g
Garlic - 12 cloves
Green chilies - 5-6
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Juice of 2-3 limes
Mustard oil - 2 tbsp + for greasing
Deep fried mini boris, onions, tomatoes and lime wedges for garnish.


Generously smear salt and lime juice on the fish fillets into which you have made three incisions so that the salt and lime juice would penetrate deep. Keep aside for 15 minutes.

Make a paste with the 3/4 of the bori/vadi, garlic cloves, green chilies and mustard, with a pinch of salt.

Lightly crush the remaining bori with a pestle, breaking them down into small grains, but not into powder.

Now on a baking tray greased with mustard oil, line the fish pieces, keeping a little space between each fillet.

With a spoon generously, but evenly, spread the bori-garlic-chili paste on each fillet, the sides too.

Sprinkle the crushed bori on top of each fillet. Drizzle mustard oil.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 35 minutes. Adjust oven settings so as to heat from above for the last 5 minutes.

The fish sould be cooked through with a crusty bori layer and the golden brown crushed bori for that irresistible crunch.

Serve with fresh and grilled tomatoes and onions, lime wedges and a smattering of deep fried mini boris.

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