At Above Sea Level restaurant, Tamoghna Chakraborty the executive chef at The Raintree Hotel, St Mary’s Road, is demonstrating through a ‘Fish Bazaar’ some of the most unique marinades, cooking styles and cutting styles of over 40 varieties of seafood.
Tamoghna shares the trade secrets to identifying whether the fish is fresh and choosing the right marinade for different fish variants. “One must always check for the eyes of the fish while buying it. If the fish is very fresh, the eyes will be bright and glossy, and the scales will appear bright and shiny. The skin will be slippery, with a stiff belly in a fresh fish. One can also remember that a fresh fish will not smell too fishy,” he remarks.
While marinating the fish at home, Tamoghna urges people to explore different cooking styles from across the country. “There’s the Gujarati masala, a Konkan Malwani spice, Goan spices, Kerala-style masala fry, Tamil Nadu-style meen kuzhambu, Andhra’s Nellore fish curry and Bengali paturi cooking from each of the country’s coastal states. If the fish is a pomfret variant, one of the easiest ways to cook it is in Kerala-style meen moilee. Simply marinate the fish in salt, lemon and pepper, and prepare a gravy of coconut milk and turmeric. Cook the fish in it for just 5-7 minutes,” he says.
Hailing from West Bengal, the chef also suggests every fish lover to attempt the Bengali fish paturi, in which the marinated fish is wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked on steam or on a tawa. “Pick any less bony fish like hilsa, sea bass or red snapper, and marinate it in a mixture of soaked mustard seeds, poppy seeds, onion, green chillies, fresh coriander and salt. Also add a paste of green mango and cumin. Simply wrap the fish and the marinade in a banana leaf — steam it or grill it,” adds Tamoghna.
Alternatively, one can also try using any one or a mixture of herbs like thyme, basil, rosemary, chilli flakes and garlic, and create a marinade with olive oil. Tamoghna says the marinated fish can simply be grilled using some butter and served with a side of mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. If using shell fish, remember to never remove the shell while cooking, he warns.
The annual Fish Bazaar will be on till February 16, where one can try the chef’s seafood creations.