Pulusu-type Pomfret

This is what I’d planned to post a week or two ago, but, as I shared earlier, our family has been going through a difficult time and I just didn’t feel like completing and actually posting it. But things appear to’ve started getting a bit better now, and I want to deeply thank every single person who has helped us. I love and appreciate you all beyond imagination.

I just also wanted to add, that if there is love, then it’s just there. It trusts, always, and stretches itself beyond all imagination easily and sets right all wrongs even if requiring a zillion step-by-step tutorials. Or am I being a morantic fool only? Who cares? It’s just that, love – louuww – comes to me as easily as cooking. So, here goes – to LML, because I just couldn’t wait for you to come back and try this. I was so excited, about it, really. Wish you’d just actually made it here.


I LOVE FISH. I REALLY REALLY DO. Sadly, very sadly, I never cooked any fish – except for prawns – until this winter. There’s a slightly depressing story behind why I didn’t cook fish until so recently. Which I’m going to tell anyway.

So last year sometime, I decided to cook fish at home for LML, because he-loves-fried-fish-and-I-love-him. (So what’s new?)

And it was a massive disaster. Because I was advised (well-meant advice of course) to buy rui (rohu) maach. Now that’s a bony fish. I mean, it has tons of tiny, very sharp bones. We Bengalis love it, because we are used to it. But many people don’t like its smell, and even less, it’s profusion of bones. LML didn’t either. Plus I really couldn’t and didn’t fry it right. I was always scared of and poor at frying things. Embarassment, failure, depression, and MAJOR feelings of inadequacy followed.

Then this (2010-11) winter, I craved fish. Sinking in my love-lost depression, I craved it. And, as we all know, vegetables were largely equally expensive as meat and fish for quite some time. And I challenged myself. To learn how to cook fish.

I started with Bengali preparations. But nobody in my household likes too many bones in their fish, either. And all recipes available online or otherwise asked for Rui and Katla. And then I discovered pomfret.

As a friend said a couple of days ago, “It’s a very clean fish.” It has very few bones, mainly a central bone/spine, but it’s also light and delicate like the fresh water fish usually used in Bengali and in some South Indian cooking.

Plus, frankly, it’s delicious. And definitely far more affordable than the surmais and the singharas (Indian sole) available here in Delhi. (An aside: I bought 3 small-medium size ones for about two-hundred-and-fifty rupees. Gave about 12 large pieces, having retained only 1 head. To feed about 4 adults, albeit in the Delhi-appetite-killing-heat. Most others’ appetites. Not mine.)

And then started a new love that has only grown in the last 6 months. The love of cooking pomfret. It is adaptable to most sorts of gravies, as well as frying (though one has to be careful as it is a really delicate flesh).

Plus fish is fantastic for your health, you know.

So here’s to pomfret, and summer, real home economics, and better health.

Please note, (a) I do cook ways other than the Bengali, and (b) this is only a pulusu-inspired recipe. Real cooks from Andhra would probably thumb their noses at me. I don’t care, after eating my dish. I think it’s close enough. For me. πŸ™‚

This is also for my parents – who used to love eating fish, and whom I hope to be able to feed this sometime soon. I hope this blog also helps share my daily life with them.Β 


Taranga’s Pulusu-type Pomfret (serves 4-5 people, depending on appetites):

I. Get 3 small-medium sized pomfrets cleaned and cut (Or do it yourself if you do that. I don’t. I go to the fisheries cooperative shop nearby, especially as it’s right next to the metro exit, is convenient on my office-to-home trip and is close to the latter.) How? Down the center and then in half. So 4 pieces per fish. Like this:Β 

Retain at least one fish-head, for better flavour in your curry.

II. Wash and drain the fish. Marinate in very little salt, haldi (turmeric powder) and a good dash of lemon/lime juice. Keep aside for 20-30 minutes.

III. In a kadhai/deepish vessel, heat some white oil. Sputter the spices – a stick of cinnamon, few pods of elaichi (green cardamom), 2-4 cloves (laung), and a few whole peppercorns.

IV. Add a couple of split green chillies, a couple of medium-large onions, some karipatta (12-15 curry leaves, but you could use less), 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste, 1-1.5 tsp each of dhania (coriander) powder, jeera (cumin) powder & garam masala powder, and salt (to taste). Mix and leave to fry covered for a minute.

V. Add roughly chopped tomatoes (4 small) and mix, leave to cook covered. Keep checking till they’ve begun to soften.

VI. Meanwhile, warm up about 2 teacups/1 coffee mug of water, and dissolve tamarind paste in it.

VII. Add marinated fish pieces to the cooking masala, mix and leave to cook (covered, on low heat only) for 2-3 minutes. Retain the juices left behind in the marinating dish.

VII. Mix the the tamarind water with marination liquid, and add to the fish that is already cooking. Give it all a stir and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. Be very gentle in your stirring, or the fish pieces may disintegrate.

VIII. Add some coconut milk (about o.5-1 teacup, depending on your tastes), give one more stir, and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes more.

IX. Sprinkle some chopped/torn dhaniya (leaves & stems) into the dish and turn heat off immediately.

X. Eat with rice.

This is how it turned out:

4 Responses to “Pulusu-type Pomfret”
  1. Sourajit says:

    Super! Must have turned out delish! I still remember the fish curry you cooked for lunch some time back. Will try this recipe and report. πŸ™‚

    • tarangasr says:

      Thanks! πŸ™‚ that lunch fish curry was meen moily. Mebbe my next post will be a few quick recipes like that which various friends have asked me for. Thanks again for reading! And my plants πŸ™‚

  2. Varna says:

    On a completely unrelated note, please please delete these wordpress tutorial links from your blog roll!

    • tarangasr says:

      but i used the wordpres tute and liked it 😦 will you please please help me put the picture in the blank area on my home page please?

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