When one thinks of macchli curry, the ingredient that comes to mind is fish. But Taruna Deepak's Kele Ki Macchli interestingly features raw banana.
"It's not only the season for baking, but also time for stirring pots of hearty curries and soups," shares the Mumbai-based food blogger.
She calls it 'vegan fish curry' because of its appearance, texture, and taste closely resembles that of a fish curry. Taruna learned this recipe from her mother-in-law during the lockdown.
The raw banana is sliced in a manner that it looks like a piece of fish and it's cooked in a similar manner to a yellow mustard-based fish curry.
It goes well with steamed rice but can be had with rotis, naans or even missi rotis.
Kele Ki Macchli
For the marinade
- 250 gm raw green bananas, unpeeled
- 1 tsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp red chilly powder
- ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
- Salt to taste, around 1 tsp
- Pinch ajwain or carom seeds
- 1 tbsp besan or chickpea flour or gram flour for shallow frying
For the paste
- ¼ tsp jeera or cumin seeds
- 10-12 black peppercorns
- 1 heaping tbsp rai or yellow mustard seeds
- 1-2 green chillies
- 1½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 100 gm tomato, pureed
For the curry
- 2½ tbsp mustard oil, preferably
- ¼ tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
- ¼ tsp methi or fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp rai or black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp dhania or coriander powder
- 1/3-½ tsp degi mirch or paprika
- ½ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
- 2 tomatoes, pureed
- Salt to taste, around ½ tsp
- 1 tsp finely chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro
- Steamed rice
- Sliced or pickled onions
- Fill a large bowl half full with water.
You will need enough water to soak the peeled and sliced bananas to prevent them from darkening.
- Prep the bananas by trimming off both the ends and then peeling off the thick outer green skin.
Wash each of them and slice each into two horizontal halves.
Place the sliced bananas on a chopping board.
Make them stand on the chopped side and slice the bananas vertically into three thick slices.
Transfer the pieces immediately into the bowl of water.
Keep them soaked for 2 minutes and then drain the water.
Transfer the slices into a mixing bowl and drizzle with the lime juice.
Rub the slices well.
Use more juice if required.
The lime juice will prevent the slices from turning black.
Keep aside while you prep the marinade.
- In a bowl, mix together the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilly powder, salt.
Mix well and rub this mixture into the banana slices.
Sprinkle the chickpea flour and the ajwain seeds.
Rub the paste onto the banana slices with your hands so that the banana slices are well coated with the marinade.
Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a shallow kadhai or frying pan.
Fry the marinated banana slices in batches till golden brown.
Drain onto a paper towel or tissue-lined paper.
For making the paste
- Grind together the yellow mustard seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and a couple of tbsp water to attain a smooth paste.
It would be easier to blend the spices to powders and then add the wet ingredients and pulse everything together.
Decant the contents in a bowl.
Ensure that the paste is not too thick or thin.
It should of the consistency of tomato sauce.
For making the curry
- Heat the mustard oil in a kadhai or frying pan.
Add the nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds.
Allow the seeds to crackle and then add the paste.
Fry the paste over medium heat, stirring continuously, to prevent it from sticking at the bottom, till golden brown.
Add 2-3 tbsp of water and again fry the paste.
Reduce the heat and add the coriander powder, degi mirch, turmeric powder, salt.
Stir well and fry for 10-15 seconds.
Add the pureed tomatoes and increase the heat to high.
Fry the paste till the tomatoes are cooked and the masala releases oil.
Reduce the heat and add ½ cup of water and stir till there are no lumps.
Add 1 cup more water and bring the contents to boil.
Add the fried banana slices and reduce heat to low.
Cover the kadhai or wok with a lid and allow the curry to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Take off heat and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
Open the lid and stir in half the chopped fresh coriander.
Garnish with the rest while serving.
Serve hot with steamed rice, sliced onions or pickled onions.
Taruna's Note: The banana slices and the paste have been seasoned, therefore go easy on salt and spice in the curry.
Also remember that there is black pepper, green chilly and red chilly added to the curry. So, adjust the heat to taste.
Taruna Deepak lives in Mumbai and is the creator of the food blog Easyfoodsmith.