Fried Anchovies

There is a lot of similarity between Kerala and West Bengal – both of them being the predominant Communist states, also known for their infamous bandhs or hartals. Food also seems to have a common point – starting with rice, coconut, banana, fish, and non-vegetarian cuisine. In Bengal traditionally they wear white dhoties, while in Kerala, they wear white mundu. But there is yet another similarity that I found during my stay in Kerala.

I have traveled through Kerala mostly by road as that gives me a deeper perspective about the state I have lived in for some years. The small thatakaddas (like what in North India we call thela walas) are small shanties that sell banana fritters, vadas and chaya (tea), while some bigger or better looking eateries, offer beef fry and porota, or biryani – that are made to perfection. These are the kind of places one should stop if you’re on a road trip traveling across Kerala.

Anchovies is known as Puti Maach in West Bengal and Podimeen in Kerala. I have noticed that here, they remove the head and clean the fish, while in Bengal the fish is usually fried as a whole.

Once cleaned, apply salt and turmeric as in the Bengali way, and if making it in the Keralite style, add a dash of red chilli powder. Heat mustard, refined or coconut oil as you wish and deep fry the marinated fish and serve hot with masoor daal and rice combination. It is one of the most heavenly comfort foods from Bengal that I find relishing in Kerala.

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