Picture a dinner plate decked with a dome shaped jumbo scoop of white fluffy long- grained rice. A trio of vegetable fry (potato, eggplant and bitter gourd) lazing near the periphery of the rice bed serves as sentry. Basking in self-glory are seven mid-sized color coordinated bowls, stretching out to form an arc around the plate. Lentil soup with fish head, mixed vegetables, two different kinds of fish curry, and mutton drenched in gravy are heaped in order. The last two bowls nestling dry fruit chutney and rice pudding smugly await their turn to tantalize your sweet tooth.
Drooling already?! Half of the Bengali population around the globe is actually going to savor this elaborate spread today to mark the beginning of the first day of the month of Baishak or the Bengali New Year.
I belong to the other half. Gulping down dinner tucked away in the couch, eyes glued to the blaring television, will mark the end of my first day of the year.
Therefore, to add a pinch of novelty to the otherwise mundane weekly dinner spread, I decided to fry maacher chop (fish croquettes). This way I won’t be confronting guilt the day after, taunting me as to how I would have to wait another year before I get a chance to make up for my gastronomical loss.
Maacher chop happens to be one of my favorites. Making this delicacy serves three purposes. One, it automatically pushes the party button in my head, two, it helps me sweep up the peti (belly) pieces of the fish which we both otherwise dislike and three, it weaves in an aura of nostalgia.
I confess making it is not a breeze but the labor that goes into preparing this tastebud stimulating snack is worth the trouble.
Here’s my recipe just in case you feel like undertaking this adventure. Enjoy these heavenly ‘crispy outside and fishy inside’ bites!
Have a sumptuous New Year. Subho Noboborsho!!