Yes. As all of you've already guessed, I'm a huge fan of Chinese food! I love the Indianised Chinese food that we all grew up eating. All those MSG loaded Hakka Noodles, Fried Rices and our very own Kolkata special Chilli Chicken and Chilli Fish dishes. We Bongs have very peculiar food habits. When it comes to street food there's an amazing unity amongst all the communities. We claim that we like fish and rice but the truth is that we eat anything and everything and we simply love to eat. Period. Maybe that's the reason why Kolkata is considered to be food lover's paradise by many. No matter what kind of cuisine you are looking for you will find it there. It's because of this reason, one of the most favourite places on a food lover's 'must visit' list in Kolkata is the China Town or more popularly known as Tangra.
I'm not sure whether there is indeed any authentic Chinese dish called Chilli Chicken/Fish or even Manchurian. I asked a few Chinese friends and colleagues and everybody seemed to be at loss after hearing these names! But then why the heck should I care or even complain! We are talking about one the most popular street food in Kolkata remember? This particular dish is not only available in the Chinese restaurants but also at all the little roadside stalls and even five stars. So you can guess how much this preparation is loved by all us Bongs...well not only Bongs but all the Kolkatans as a matter of fact!
So suddenly with the KKR winning and all, I decided to make this dish as a tribute to Kolkata. It's a pretty simple dish to make, though a bit time consuming. But the end result is definitely worth the try. My 4 year old loved the fried Fish and we couldn't stop munching on them too. Perfect as starters on their own too.
Kolkata Style Chilli Fish
Prep Time - 30 minutes plus marinating time
Cooking Time - 45 minutes (Fish needs to be fried in batches)
Makes enough for 4
For the Battered Fish -
Any kind of white fish like Cod/Haddock/Barramundi - 600 gms , skinned and cubed
Onion - 1 coarsely grated
Ginger Paste - 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 2-3 minced
Salt according to taste
Cornflour - 1/4 cup
Plain Flour - 1/4 cup
Sunflower oil to fry
For the gravy -
Onion - 1 diced
Green Pepper - 1 cubed
Green Chillies - 10 halved (more if you want it hotter)
Ginger - 1/2 tsp minced
Garlic - 1 tsp minced
Rice Vinegar - 2-3 tbsp
Dark Soya Sauce - 3-4 tbsp
Green Chilli Sauce - 3-4 tbsp (use any other hot chilli sauce if this unavailable)
Tomato Sauce/Ketchup - 2-3 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Cornflour - 2 tbsp
Water - 1 cup + 1 tbsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
For the Fish -
Marinate the fish pieces with the onion, ginger, garlic and chillies for sometime, preferably 2-3 hours. Beat the egg separately and add it to the fish and mix well. Add salt and the flours and mix until all the fish pieces and coated nicely with the batter. Do not add water as the egg and water released by the fish and onion is enough for this batter.
Heat oil in a wok and deep/shallow fry the fish pieces. Try to scoop a spoonful of battered marinated fish and add them to the oil. That way the fried fish will be flavourful. Fry in batches until golden brown and remove. Keep on paper towels to remove excess oil. (* These tiny fish bites are perfect as starters!)
For the Gravy -
Heat oil in a wok and add the sugar. Let it turn dark and add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chillies and peppers and fry on high heat for a few minutes. Add all the sauces and Vinegar and mix well.
Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp of water and keep aside. Add 1 cup of water to the wok and bring to boil. Add the cornflour paste, season with salt and pepper boil till the gravy thickens. If needed add more cornflour paste to the gravy. Remove from heat and garnish with Julienned spring onions. Serve hot with your choice of noodles, fried rice or even chapatis.