Chadakhai

Chadakhai is a festival in Odisha celebrated right after the day of Kartika purnima,when the people who had not eaten non veg for a complete month in Kartika Masa gets back to eating Non veg again.You can read about the importance of Kartika Masa in the life of  odia people here.  On this day of Chadakhai ,Odia family prepares some special non-veg dish to eat for the whole family.Chadakhai

Muri Ghonto is a typical bengali preparation with fish head and rice The word Muri/muro in Bengali  means fish head and Ghonto  means mixing and cooking together. This can be easily interpreted as a kind of pulao/pilaf made with fish head. Muri Ghonto  is also made with  lentils , cabbage and other vegetables. For this recipe, Gobindo bhog rice is used which has its own taste & aroma. It is grown only in West Bengal and can be compared with Basmati Rice . However, the  Gobindo bhog rice is smaller than the Basmati rice and more aromatic.

Rice is the principal main dish around which the Bengali cuisine revolves around. You can find a lot of side dishes prepared with rice also and Muri Ghonto is one such dish  served in lunch in the Bengali Marriages. I majorly prepare Muri Ghonto with Monng daal and sometimes bengal gram also. But this time for Chadakhai , decided to try this unique dish which is prepared with very little quantity of rice but  I made it as a one pot meal for our lunch.

The dish is made with a big fish head which is way more juicy and tastier than fish meat. Fish heads are rich in omega 3-fatty acids which are also called amazing brain-foods. For this recipe mainly freshwater fishes are used but I had a Bhetki (Barramundi ) Fish head with which I had made this recipe and it tastes awesome.

Ingredients

  • 1 big freshwater Fish head (cut half lengthwise) preferably Rohu, Catla
  • 1cup Gobindo Bhog Rice or any short grain aromatic rice
  • 1 no large Potato cut into cubes
  • 1 large onion finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 to 4 green cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 3 Green Chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • About 2 Cups warm Water

Instructions

  • Wash and soak the rice for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash rice under running water, drain and set aside. Wash, peel and divide potato into 8 cubes. Fry the potato cubes and keep aside.
  • Wash thoroughly the fish head. Remove and discard the gills. Smear the fish head with turmeric powder and  salt.
  • In a  heavy bottom cooking pot, heat the mustard oil.When the oil smokes, carefully place the fish head and fry  until nicely  brown from both sides. Remove from heat and coarsely break the fish head  into 3-4 chunks and keep aside.
  • In the same oil , add the cumin seeds, dry red chilies, bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom .As soon as the whole spices splutter, add the chopped onions and saute for a couple minutes until  translucent.
  • Add  slit green chilies, ginger garlic paste. Saute and stir until the raw smells disappears. Add potato,cumin powder, turmeric and red chili powder, mix well.
  • Now add the washed rice and mix and stir them all together for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups warm water and salt and allow it to comes to a boil.
  • Once it boils, turn heat to low-medium and cook covered till the rice is half done.
  • After about 8 to 10 minutes, add the fish head pieces and mix the contents once. Place the lid back again and cook the pilaf on low heat till the rice and potatoes are done.
  • Once done, open the lid to add the ghee and the garam masala powder and mix the contents nicely.Serve hot.
  • Enjoy this Muri Ghonto with some cucumber raita  on a leasurely sunday afternoon.


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Traditional Bengali Fish-head Pilaf
Instructions
  1. Wash and soak the rice for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash rice under running water, drain and set aside. Wash, peel and divide potato into 8 cubes. Fry the potato cubes and keep aside.
  2. Wash thoroughly the fish head. Remove and discard the gills. Smear the fish head with turmeric powder and  salt.
  3. In a  heavy bottom cooking pot, heat the mustard oil.When the oil smokes, carefully place the fish head and fry  until nicely  brown from both sides. Remove from heat and coarsely break the fish head  into 3-4 chunks and keep aside.
  4. In the same oil , add the cumin seeds, dry red chilies, bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom .As soon as the whole spices splutter, add the chopped onions and saute for a couple minutes until  translucent.
  5. Add  slit green chilies, ginger garlic paste. Saute and stir until the raw smells disappears. Add potato,cumin powder, turmeric and red chili powder, mix well.
  6. Now add the washed rice and mix and stir them all together for 3 to 4 minutes.Add 2 cups warm water and salt and allow it to comes to a boil.
  7. Once it boils, turn heat to low-medium and cook covered till the rice is half done.After about 8 to 10 minutes, add the fish head pieces and mix the contents once. Place the lid back again and cook the pilaf on low heat till the rice and potatoes are done.
  8. Once done, open the lid to add ghee and the garam masala powder and mix the contents nicely.Serve hot.
  9. Enjoy this Muri Ghonto with some cucumber raita  on a leasurely sunday afternoon.

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