Call it by any name, maccher matha diye daal, muri ghonto, daal with fish head, this is one of my favorite dishes which I prepare and have with such gusto as would give any Bengali such pleasure as a south Indian would have seeing a northie really enjoying currd rice.
Back home we rarely cook fish head except when we fry it with potatoes and peas or we put it in the fish curry since I loved to suck the fish head dipped in the thin fish gravy. Murighonto, or this dish first came across my plate when I was in guwahati during my college when I was in hostel.
Now, that there is a deep rooted antagonism between Bengalis and Assamese in parts of Assam. The feeling is mutual, so I won’t give a political judgement here. However, they share a common love for fish and murighonto is a common dish. The Assamese also love this dal-fish head concoction as much as I love it ;-) and when I was senior enough to have a say in Hostel affairs, never went a festive occasion or a hostel feast without the ubiquitous Murighonto and I ate nothing else those days.
By the I had posted it as a quick and good dish a long time back.
Parna also posted it, here.
I use a little different daal. A mix of Arhar( tur) and masuri( the red one).
Now here goes,
3 parts arhar and 1 part masuri. Total should come upto a small cup.
Wash well and keep aside with a little water lest the wet dal gets stuck in the cup.
A small Onion or half a medium onion chopped well.
5 cloves of garlic and half an inch finger of ginger ground to a paste.
And of course heeng ( Asafoetida) , Meethi( fenugreek), Jeera( fennel) powder as well as whole and dhania powder( coriander). 2 bayleaves.
Don’t forget a pinch of red chilli powder and two red chillis shredded into two pieces each.
And 2 green chillis sliced in half. ( you may or may not put this)
Last and most important.
2 large Fish Heads cut in half shallow Fried in a pan. Rohu head is the best.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker, and when hot put the bay leaves, red chilli and whole jeera.
Fry for one minute or till before they turn black.
Put the onions and fry till translucent. Add a pinch of asafetida and half tsp of meethi.
Now add the ginger garlic paste.
Fry for 1 minute and add
#1 tsp each of jeera powder and Dhania powder
#1/2 tsp each of red chilli powder and turmeric( add turmeric with your judgement-some are strong and some aren’t)
#Add the pre-fried fish head and fry for some time. Press the fish heat with the spatula so that it gives out a JEEEZZZ sound. But don’t break it altogether. It is just to mix well.
Add 2 tomatoes finely chopped.
Fry for 3-4 minutes and add the dal. Add salt to taste.
Add water to your measurement-say 2.5 to 3 cups for 1 cup water, and cover the pressure cooker.
Three whistles should do. Put down the cooker from fire after three whistles and wait for it to cool down.
When just cooled, open the cooker and heat again.
Let the dal thicken.
Garnish with coriander.
There you go.
My other daal recipes, here.