Paneer Paturi

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Most foodies may know about the famous ilish maach paturi from the Indian Bengali cuisine. Fish fillets are marinated in a paste of mustard, green chillies, parcelled in banana leaves,and then steamed or fried in mustard oil. Hmm.. sounded exotic no doubt. My husband could not stop his nostalgic ramblings after having some of it a social gathering in Kolkata! I made a mental note to check it out the following weekend. Now what you may not know, is that I am a staunch vegetarian and have a poor tolerance for any creeping, crawling, walking, flying, creatures as part of my diet. I have a disdain for anything that even contains egg! This poses a challenge to say the least - married to a person who is carnivourous, and eats everything in the food chain! Well I firmly believe every great dish can surely have a vegetarian version, and not to be denied the pleasures of the great paturi, I went about making my own the following weekend. It turned out well and received accolades from hubby as well. With due respects to all the mashis, mamonis and pishis, here is my version.
1. Clean green banana leaves - 6 pieces each about 6 inches in length
2. Sliced paneer - 6 square pieces 3"x 3" with about 4 mm thickness
3. Olive oil - 6 tsps for shallow frying
4. Thread - to tie the banana leaf parcels. (I prefer white, so that the colour does not run!!)
For Mustard paste marinade
1. Mustard 1/2 cup
3. Green Chillies - 2 (3 if you like it hot)
4. turmeric - a pinch
5. salt - to taste
6. 2 -3 tsp extra virgin oilve oil
1. Grind the mustard and chillies bit by bit, adding just a little water to get a paste. Blend in turmeric and salt and olive oil until you have a smooth paste. Using a mixer will spoil the taste. Its best to grind using a stone mortar and pestle. Sheel and nora are what are used in Bengali homes.
2. Marinate the paneer pieces in the mustard paste for 1/2 hour.
3. Take a piece of banana leaf, place a piece of paneer in the middle.
4. Spread a generous quantity of paste all around the paneer.
5. Fold the banana leaf from all sides, and fasten with thread. This is slightly tricky, as the leaf would tear if not carefully handled, or thread tied too tightly. You should have six parcels or paturis ready now.
6. Heat a shallow frying pan, with a 6tsp of olive oil
7. Arrange all the 6 paturis on the frying pan.
8. Cover with a lid and fry for few minutes. When the leaf starts charring, turn the paturis over to the other side.
9. Fry for some more time until banana leaf has changed colour and slightly charring.
10. Serve parcels with hot white rice.
READ MORE - Paneer Paturi