It’s funny how so many fish types I know from Bangladesh are also found here in Cambodia-I also noticed many in Thailand. This small fish is a delicacy in Bangladesh. To me it tastes the same as many other small fish. The bones are a pain because they are small and you can either crunch through them if they’ve been deep fried (most bengalis have been practicing this art since they were kids) or you can peel off the flesh and take out the back-bone (is that what you call it in a fish??)
Anyway, I made this dish over 2 months ago now. That’s how behind I am with posting my recipes. But the method is similar for most Bengali fried fish dishes-the ingredients can differ slightly sometimes but the basics are the same. The most important ingredients are garlic, turmeric and of course salt and chilli.
The fish is called ‘Tengra’ in Bengali and ‘Trey Ka’choh’ in Khmer!!
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Fried Small Fish – Tengra Mas Biran (the Bengali name of the fish)
⅓ kilo of small fish (size of my finger)
½ bulb of garlic crushed with my knife
5 Thai chillies (whole with stalk cut off)
1 ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
½ teaspoon chilli flakes or chilli powder
½ teaspoon paprika powder
⅓ mexican pepper cut into thin 1 inch pieces or strips, spring onions roughly chopped and a small sprinkle of fresh coriander to garnish
1. De-gut the fish! This step is a right pain up the bum if you don’t have 15 helping hands (there are usually at least that many in Bangladesh) as with all small fish it takes ages!! Luckily here the women in the market do it for you at lightning speed and with the grace of a stork (does that sound offensive? I don’t mean it like that!!)
2. At home (in London) my mum will soak the fish in salted water for at least half an hour. This is apparently to get rid of a certain fish smell. I have no translation of the word she uses in any language. When you buy these fish in Bengali food shops in London they come in frozen blocks so they need to be soaked anyway to defrost.
3. Wash and rinse the fish thoroughly making sure all the slime is off the skin. Now mix the fish together with the turmeric powder and salt.
4. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan on a medium high heat and first add the garlic whole. Let fry for a minute or two before adding the fish.
5. After about 3-4 minutes of frying add the chilli powder, lime leaves, paprika powder and whole chillies.
6. Add the strips of mexican chillies after about 7-8 minutes or until the fish are almost done.
7. After about 10-12 minutes of frying, the fish should be crispy and well done on all sides like in the last picture above!
8. Add the spring onions and the fresh coriander to garnish. (I just noticed from the picture above that I didn’t add the mexican chillies until the end only to garnish. But I think a minute or 2 earlier would’ve been better🙂 )
Enjoy with steamed rice or as a crunchy side snack.
In the very first picture there is an easy side dish added which goes very well with the fish dish. Aubergine and Bell Pepper Bazi (fried in Bengali). I’ve just realized I’ve already posted this recipe!!
Thank you for looking and have a wonderful day🙂