Bengali Fish Bhuna(Sea Beam fish)/easy steps
Bhuna is a dry curry cooked with aromatic spices ,herbs and tomatoes. Bhuna is originally came from Bengali cuisine. In Kolkata people call it ‘kosha’ or ‘jhal’. People says that this type of combination of cooking was used for wealthy Bengali rulers .Then gradually it became a very popular dish in all over the Bengal and other parts of India.
Bhuna is basically when all the spices are fried in very hot oil , then fish or meat are added into, and cooked in their own juices without any water. Basically bhuna is supposed to be a dry spicy fish or meat dish. Bhuna has become one of the popular curry recipe in UK.
One good thing about bhuna is , you can eat it with anything, you can eat bhuna with Indian bread , any other bread, rice, with stir fry vegetables or even on its own. If you cook this dish one day ahead, it will taste even better, because all the spice mixture and flavours will penetrate right inside the fish or meat.
One of the most important spice for bhuna is Indian five spices (pachforn), which is simply mixture of five kind of aromatic seeds. 1) Cumin seeds( jeera ), 2) nigella seeds ( kalojere), 3) fenugreek seeds ,4) black mustard seeds ( kalo or sada sorshe),5) fennel seeds (mouri). We will add the five spices at the beginning ,when oil is very hot we will add the seeds mixture, it will infuse the oil with their own individual flavour. And most importantly all of these spices has got medical goodness, they are extremely good for boosting your immune system.
Fish : 3 fresh whole sea beam fish/ sea base/ any fish you like
Five spice mixture (pachforon): half table spoon
One red onion: chopped
Lemon juice: four table spoon
Garlic cloves: 3 to 4 big cloves chopped
Ginger: one big table grated spoon
One green chilli / as per your taste/add more if you like very hot
One whole red chilli
Coriander powder: one table spoon
Cumin powder: half table spoon
Turmeric powder: one table spoon for gravy and one table spoon for marination
Tomato : one chopped
Tomato puree: one table spoon
Lime leaves: I have used few dry lime leaves/ fresh if available
You can use coriander leave to garnish
Olive oil/ mustard oil: 4 table spoon
Salt to taste
Marinate the fish with lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt, little oil for half an hour.
Add oil in pan, after the oil is very hot add five spice mixture (panchforn) and crushed (by hand) red whole chilli, you will see they are crackling and dancing on the oil, then almost immediately add chopped garlic and chopped green chilli.
When the garlic is brown add onions.
Once onions are reddish-brown add ginger. Fry them for one minute.
Then add all dry spices,tomatoes ,crush the lemon leaves by your palms and add onto the pan. Add little water just to stop them burn. Water will get dry very quickly, then add little more water and continually stir them. This adding water into spices and stir them until water gets evaporated oil comes out from the edges will repeat three times.
Now add fish.
Traditionally fish is fried before it’s added to the gravy. But being health conscious ,I will not fry the fish. Cover the lid for five minutes in low heat. If you think spice will burn ,you can add little water .
After 8 minutes one side of fish would be cooked slightly , then gently turn the fish around , cook the other side in low flame for about 20 minutes, it will take around half an hour to cook for medium to large size fish.
You can use coriander leaves to garnish the fish.