Bhetki or hilsa can be substituted for rohu, but the fish must be large. In Bengal, we call it 'paka mach', that is, mature fish.
Almonds - 10
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Rohu fish - ½ kg
Onion paste - 2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Refined oil - ½ cup
Ghee - 2tbsp
Onion - 2
Green cardamom - 3
Bay leaves - 3
Saffron - 1 pinch
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Milk - to sugar -2 tsp (optional)
1. Blanch the almonds. Pick and wash the rice.
2. Cut the fish into 10 pieces. Mix the fish with onion paste, half the garlic paste and Vi a teaspoon of salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a karahi. Gently fry the fish, 5 pieces at a time, till light brown. Take out and reserve.
4. Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed dekchi. Add chopped onions. Fry till they just turn transparent, but are still soft.
5. Add the garlic paste. Stir fry for a minute.
6. Add the almonds, cardamoms and bay leaves and stir.
7. Add the rice and ginger paste and fry for 3 minutes or till they look parched.
8. Stir in 4 cups of hot water and salt to taste. You may also add 2 teaspoons of sugar. Instead of water, chicken stock may also be used.
9. Cover the vessel. When the rice comes to a boil, lower the heat.
10. When water reduces to the level of the rice and you find holes appearing on the surface, place the fish pieces over the rice. Pour any oil left over from frying fish. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add saffron mixed with milk.
11. Put on dum. This means putting a tawa underneath the dekchi. Cook thus till the rice is done and fluffy. This should take at least 20 minutes. The pulao may be finished in an oven, too.
12. Garnish with fried potatoes, if desired.
13. Serve with any curry with gravy.
Bangla Ranna: An Introduction to Bengali Cuisine: Satarupa Banerjee
Publisher: Orient Longman