Something sumptuous for a bengali palette, this muri ghanta is essentially fish heads cooked with some aromatic rice and spices laced with dry fruits and ghee. Bay leaf is another important spice for this dish. As we are under the lockdown state due to Corona virus and it has been extended further, we are working on our available resources judiciously and making sure that nothing is wasted. Not only that, this is not the time to get varieties of fishes as we, bengalis used to have during a normal scenario and we need to adjust with the same kind of fish, mostly Rui, Katla or Carp varieties. The fish is being cooked as ‘jhol’, ‘jhal’, or ‘bhapa’, but the fish head is being used in various other dishes. I have used it to make Machh er matha diye khichuri or the famous ‘ machh er matha diye daal‘, but this Muri Ghanta is a delicacy, which you can relish on a weekend where you donot have to go back to your laptop and continue with work from home.
My Aunt used to create a masterpiece when she was preparing this dish during my childhood days, and I still remember the taste and smell of this lovely concoction of fish head and gobindabhog rice. I have tried to recreate the same in my kitchen and I must admit, it is not bad either.
Ingredients for Muri Ghanta:
- Fish head ( preferably Katla ) – 2
- Gobindabhog rice – 1/2 cup
- Potato – 1, cubed
- Ginger paste – 1 heaped tbsp
- Onion – 1, chopped
- Curd – 1 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup – 1 tsp ( I didnot have tomato, hence used it)
- Bayleaf, Cumin seeds, Dry red chilli
- Salt, Turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, sugar
- Cashew and raisins – 2 tbsp
- Oil, Ghee
How to make Muri Ghanta:
Marinate the fish heads after removing the scale, the gill etc with some salt and turmeric. Wash and soak the gobindabhog rice for 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the marinated fish head till golden brown. Keep aside.
In the same pan, heat some more oil with a spoonful of ghee and then add bayleaf, red chilli and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
Add chopped onion with a pinch of salt and sugar and fry till golden brown.
Next add the ginger paste and fry till the raw smell is gone. Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder and mix well. You may add some red chilli powder too, if you like your heat quotient on the upper side.
Sprinkle some water if required to avoid burning of the masalas. Once done, add the curd and tomato or tomato ketchup and mix well.
Now add the soaked gobindabhog rice and mix well with the masalas. Wait till the rice turns opaque, then add the fried fish heads. Add the potato cubes too and give it a really good stir. Once the oil starts coming out, add the cashew and raisin. Then add a cup of hot water and cook for 5-7 minutes over a medium flame.
Once the rice and potatoes are cooked through and everything is incorporated together, sprinkle some sugar. The dish imparts a sweetish note , which is its USP. Remove from heat, sprinkle garam masala powder and a dollop of ghee and you are good to go.
You may make use of fish heads using these recipes too.