Fish fry (yes, a pretty basic recipe on offer today) is as much a staple in the Pathare Prabhu diet as is rice or chapati. Fried fish or fried prawns are served along with most meals. You almost don’t notice it – until it is missing, that is. All hell breaks loose and the table has a lot of grumpy faces, most noticeable during the monsoons (read why here).
This, therefore, is less a post about how to fry fish and more about what I associate with it. It’s to do with how we were taught to respect people for who they are, rather than their status in society.
My grandfather couldn’t eat a single meal without fish in some form. His was one of the grumpiest faces during the monsoon. On the other hand, he was happiest when he was out shopping in the fish market. He would stride into the market, looking around for the freshest fish and the best bargains. He had his set of regular sellers who would all woo him with their wares. The banter and the bargaining were part of the friendly fire that was exchanged. He was their best customer and they offered him a few hours of fun every week of his retired life. (He knew their families, often extending to 2-3 generations.) When mobile phones first made their appearance, they would call my grandfather on our old landline to update him on the latest catch!
More importantly, their relationship went beyond the fish market. In an era when social status was defined in a rather old-fashioned way, ‘regular’ folk couldn’t be caught dead hobnobbing with vendors. But my grandfather didn’t seem to know, or care. He would invite the fisher folk to our home every Ganpati to celebrate with the family. They, in turn, would invite him for every one of the weddings in their community. I remember asking him once why he never turned down a single invitation. His response was simple – they were his friends, not just fish sellers.
Of course, I didn’t understand the import of what he said then. But I’m glad I do now.
150 -200 grams of fish (cod or any other firm fish)
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
salt to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
4-5 tablespoons rice flour
oil to fry
1. Marinate the fish with the ginger-garlic paste, salt and spices for about 15 -20 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a deep pan.
3. Dredge the pieces of fish in the rice flour and fry them in the hot oil, turning often.
4. When cooked, drain them on a paper towel and serve hot.
1. I normally serve these as a side with rice and curry. This time, our son wanted fish and chips so he got a fusion meal. 🙂
2. The fish is dredged in rice flour to give it a crispy coating.