If the word ‘fish eggs’ makes you think of those shiny red pearls called caviar then think twice. The fish eggs am talking about here is not that uber expensive luxury ingredient. I or for that matter most Bengalis must not have tasted it and most probably don’t crave it much either. The fish eggs that makes us salivate is the common sweet water fish eggs mostly rohu or carp. These are the unprocessed, basic egg that comes right out of the fish without any kind of curing. Whereas caviar is the processed and salt cured fish eggs of salmon or sturgeon which is said to be a rare type of delicacy and mostly served as a spread or garnish.
These sweet water fish eggs like Rohu or carp is very common and affordable by common people during monsoon. Go to any fish market and you will get many varieties of fresh fish with eggs in them. Monsoon is the time when they hatch and for this reason in many communities Shravan is observed as the month when only pure vegetarian food is eaten. But in Bengal there’s no such practice. No one Can part Bengalis and their prized catch of Hilsa roe during monsoon. On their morning market visit if they get good hilsa filled with eggs they would get all dreamy eyed and would even consider taking a CL to enjoy that in leisure. Other fish eggs don’t enjoy such iconic status but when served as fritter with regular dal-chawal, it takes the meal to a different level.
This monsoon is notable for my little one as food wise he is tasting many things for the first time. He loved his first taste of Hilsa last week and now his lunchtime has increased from 1 hour to almost 1 and half. He waits patiently for his mom to fish out all the bones before he gets his mouthful of hilsa. Fish egg is another thing that he developed a special liking for. Every time I cook it he sneaks in the kitchen to steal some.
Macher Dimer Bora (Fish egg fritters)
(makes 20-22 pieces)
Fresh fish egg: 1 cup (I used Rohu eggs)
Onion: 1 big
Garlic: 1 fat clove (optional but recommended helps to get rid of the fishy smell)
Chickpea flour (besan): ¼ cup (see the note below)
Green chilies: 2 or as per preference
Chili powder: ½ tsp
oil for shallow frying (I used a mix of mustard and white il)
Wash the fish raw under running water. Drain all the water and place in a big bowl.
Very finely chop the onion, chili and the garlic. Place in the bowl with the eggs. Add salt, turmeric, turmeric, chili powder and chickpea flour. Using your hand mix to get a homogenous mixture. The batter would be thick so please adjust the amount of chickpea flour.
Heat oil in a frying pan and place a spoon full of this mixture little apart from each other. Fry on low for a minute and then turn. Using the spatula press it down a little. Fry till golden on all sides. Drain and soak the excess oil on kitchen paper.
Serve hot with rice and lentil or as a tea-time snack with tomato ketchup.
save some fritters for my upcoming recipe :-)
A Homemaker’s Notes:
The final bora mixture would be like thick cake batter. Depending on the freshness of the fish eggs adjust the amount of chickpea flour.
While mixing do not squish the eggs rather mix gently to separate the eggs from the thin membrane and mix with other ingredients.
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