Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Macher Matha Diye Moong Dal / Macher Matha Diye Bhaja Muger Dal / Bengali style Mung dal with fish head

I always like controversial characters. Clean characters are so plain and dull. And they are always the perfect, beautiful and most importantly favoured. But if you pick up the villains or the scandalous ones, you will be able to see a real character. They have a flair for their passion, they are versatile, they are virtuous at one second and completely ransacked in the other. And what I love most is that they have these different layers of character, which is interesting and full of real human emotions. Their story tells up rising up from the ashes, being neglected and finally turning villainous after being rejected from their deserving share of success. A lot of drama and infinitely more twisting emotions. I just love them. If you can see properly then you will understand that it is them who makes a story all going...and interesting. Without them everything looses their charm. Without them their is no one to be defeated. There is simply no purpose.

how to cook macher matha diye muger dal  recipe

I think we all are a little villainous in a way. There are times when we become rebel and break the ground rules. Well....I like to think it as venting away our frustrations.  What say??
But the main reason I became so fascinated with these complex characters are because I was re-reading The Palace of Illusions and started reading: Meghnad Bodh Kabyo.  I have always thought Panchali as very proud lady, but the book helped me to look into her own story, where she is not a side character, but the royal lady of her own drama. In Mahabharata Draupadi’s actions are depicted, but this particular book made all sense. Her anger, her pride, her frustration...everything made total and perfect sense. The reasons for her actions were there. The same thing applied for Indrajit, Ravan’s son, who was killed by Laxman. All those tricks and politics, which were so meaningful in Ramayana, became a top notch conspiracy in this book to win the war in a completely wrong way.

how to cook macher matha diye bhaja muger dal recipe

bengali style macher matha diye bhaja muger dal

Macher Matha diye Muger Dal or Moong Dal with Fish head is a very popular lentil dish among the Bengalis. It is a must in any elaborate lunch occasion. This dal goes perfectly well with some julienned fried potatoes. Also pick a fish head of a large fish, so that the head will have more flesh and fat in it. This is what makes the dal tastier and more tastilicious. In my maternal uncle’s home, macher matha diye mug dal is a must during Poila Boisakh i.e the Bengali New Year. Also, if you are looking for some Bengali delicacies, macher matha die moong dal / Macher Matha Diye Bhaja Muger Dal / yellow lentils with fish head is a must in the menu. 

how to cook bengali style lentils with fish heads recipe

how to cook yellow lentils with fish heads recipe

I don’t know if any other state has such a delicious dish with fish heads, but hands down in this case, even if they exist they can never be better than this. Bengalis rock in fish. And with fish heads, they can do wonders. Simplistic majestic transformations. Mug/ moong dal itself is a very flavourful lentil and its flavours almost double up when we dry roast this. Then paired this with fish head, lentils simply does not remain just lentil...they become something more....they become....super lentils!!! So go ahead and try this Macher Matha Diye Moong Dal / Macher Matha Diye Bhaja Muger Dal / Yellow Lentils with Fish heads, to have a perfect traditional Bengali meal. There are some other dishes with Fish heads also. Try Muri Ghonto, Macher Matha Diye Kumror Torkari  and Macher Matha Diye Badha Kopir Torkari.

how to cook macher matha diye mug dal easily

Macher Matha Diye Bhaja Muger Dal
Serves 4
bengali style roasted lentils with fish heads recipe

1 large fish head – sliced from the middle
¾ cup of yellow split mung dal / mug dal
1 medium onion – sliced
3-4 garlic cloves
1 inch stick of ginger
2 green chillies – chopped
1 medium stick of cinnamon
3-4 green cardamom
3-4 cloves
1 and ½ tbsp mustard oil
2 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
A pinch of sugar
2 tsp melted ghee (optional)

Rub 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt on the fish head and keep aside.
Wash the dal until clean water runs through and then drain the water. Heat up a frying pan and dry roast the dal until they become slightly golden brown. Do not over fry and make them brown. Also stir continuously while frying, otherwise the dals can stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once done put them in a pressure cooker with 2 and ½ cups of water, rest of the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Cook the dal until the cooker blows 4-5 whistles. After that, let the steam come out of the cooker naturally and then open the lid.
Heat the oil in a kadai / pan and fry the fish head until they are golden from both the sides and almost cooked. Once done keep aside.
In the same oil put the whole garam masalas, cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamom. Stir until the oil becomes fragrant.
Now put in the sliced onions and minced garlic and ginger. Sauté till the raw flavour of the garlic is gone and the onions have become translucent.
Add some salt and sugar in it. Give a quick stir and pour in the cooked dal. Put cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. If you like the dal to be all mashed up whisk it with a wire whisk.
Then add in the fried fish heads and cover again. Simmer on medium for 5-7 more minutes or until the fish is cooked. If you feel the dal has become thick add in more water in the process, because the mung dal tends to thicken up once it cools down.
Once the fish is cooked up all through, taste and adjust the seasoning. You can keep the fish heads intact, or can break them by pressing with the back of a spatula.
Simmer until the dal reaches your desired consistency.
Sprinkle the garam masala powder and put off the flame. Before serving drizzle the melted ghee from the top. It enhances a beautiful aroma. I also sprinkle a little bhaja mosla which gives a smoky flavour to the dish.

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