Back from a long vacation and my mach pagla Bangali mon (fish loving Bengali mind) started craving for some fish, some rice and some spices. As I can’t think of staying away from my kitchen and from fish for so long, a 10 days long vacation without fish is obviously little too much for me 😛 So, today morning I rushed to the local market and bought some fresh Rohu fish. By afternoon, I again wore my apron and entered kitchen like a Knight in Shinning Armour 😀 and then what – I prepared the dish where I could use exactly the three things I was craving for – fish, rice and spices. I prepared the quintessential Bengali mishmash with fish head, rice and spices and we the Bengalis call it “Muri Ghonto”.
The word muri came from Muro, which means Head and Ghonto means a Mishmash Curry. This dish also reminds me of a North Indian friend of mine who asked me once – Tum log machli ka seer bhi khate ho? (you guys eat the fish head also?) and I proudly replied – Seer se leke punch, kuch bhi nehi chorte hum (from head to tail, we don’t spare a single part of it). Bengalis love their fish and eat every part of it – from head to tail and Muri Ghonto is an age old preparation and a hot favourite of every Bengali non-vegetarian kitchen. Usually, it is cooked with the aromatic Gobindobhog rice, but if that is not available you can replace it with Basmati rice as well.
Here’s how I cook Muri Ghonto at my kitchen. The recipe is as follows:
- 1 medium sized fish head
- 3/4 cup gobindobhog rice (or basmati rice)
- 1 big sized potato, diced
- 1 big sized onion, finely chopped
- 5-6 green chillies, slit for middle
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 table-spoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 cinnamon sticks (1 inch approx)
- 5 green cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seeds
- 2 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2 + 1/2)
- 1 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder (or as per your tolerance)
- 1/2 tea=spoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 tea-spoon sugar
- salt (according to taste)
- 3 table-spoon mustard oil (2 + 1)
- 3 table-spoon ghee (1 + 2)
- 1.5 cup warm water
- Heat a pan and dry roast cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves and star anise. Crush them and keep aside.
- Rub the fish head with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and some salt. Heat 2 table-spoon oil and fry the fish head until brownish on both sides. Remove and keep aside.
- Rub the potato pieces with 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder and some salt. Heat 1 table-spoon oil and shallow fry the pieces. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat 1 table-spoon ghee in a pan and lightly fry the rice for around1 minute. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat remaining ghee in the same pan and temper with cumin seeds, roasted crushed spices, dried red chillies and bay leaves. Allow the spices to splutter.
- Now, add the chopped onion and sautè until translucent.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and stir until raw smell goes off completely
- Add chopped tomato, cumin powder, coriander powder, remaining turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt. Sprinkle little water and stir for a few seconds over low flame until oil starts separating.
- Now, add the fish head and mix very well with the spices. Stir cook the head with the spices by crushing it with spatula.
- Add rice and potato and give a quick mix.
- Now, add warm water, mix well and cover the lid.
- Cook it on low to medium flame for 10 minutes or until the rice and potato get cooked well. Check the salt, if it is less, you can add now.
- After 10 minutes, check if it is well cooked. If not, you can add some more water and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Once the rice is well cooked and the water gets absorbed, add sugar and mix well.
- Turn off the flame, cover the lid and let it set for 5 minutes. Your Muri Ghonto is ready to be served now.
Serve it with hot steamed rice to enjoy a complete authentic Bong meal. While eating, you can add little ghee if you want – this will enhance the taste further, but it is completely optional. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.