LEVTA (Mudfish) WITH KHICHDI

by Jenifer Petigara Mistry

Growing up in Surat and that too the old part of the city, at 10-12 years of age Makar-Sankranti was a day full of loud music blaring from the rooftops, “Kaipo Chhe” or “Kaipoch” or”aye peli peeli gayi ” or “Laali ni pi” sounds. In the narrow streets, there would be people standing on the most precarious perches on the roofs, convoluted Roman athletes with arms to the sky waving frantically(coz you can’t see the thread they were holding from afar), shouting to each other from one building to another,.. literally a city that existed on the roofs rather than the roads that day !! My friend and I would also climb up to the water tanks.. a rather steep, dangerous climb to be done only once in a year, stand or sit on minute spaces between the roof tiles, munching at the Til-Laddu and Fafda-Jalebi!!

Growing up, for all my bravado I was an introvert so I could never ask anyone to let me fly the kite or teach. Besides Dad said money was too scarce to throw away on glassed thread and paper !! But once in a while someone would be nice to let me hold on to the string for a while .. that would be my highlight for the week .. until another little joy caught my fancy .. small joys .. small little tidbits of innocence.. every little second crammed with a ton-full of life .. that’s what I remember even today .

That is – that and food that grandmom would cook. For her special days had to have special menus. So Makarsankranti was khichdi, Bangan Bharatu (what she called Bharat) and Levta (mudfish). So in remembrance of her and all those childhood memories today I decided to cook khichdi and Levta. I skipped the bharatu mainly because I am not a great fan of the veggies 😃😃

LEVTA IN FRESH GARLIC, SPRING ONIONS AND CORIANDER

250 g mudfish (you can substitute with fish fillet or prawns) – cleaned
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup chopped coriander
3-4 green chilies chopped
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp mango ginger (amba haldi-optional)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt
Oil
For Marination : Marinate fish for 60 minutes in ..
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp red chillies powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp dhansak masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt

Slightly heat oil in a pan and add the pastes. Sauté for 30 seconds and add chopped garlic, green chillies and spring onions. Sauté till they start slightly wilting. Add the dry spices and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the chopped coriander, salt and mix. Add the fish. Cover with the masala. Reduce to simmer and cook closed about 2 minutes on each side. This is a delicate fish and hence do not turn it too often or too roughly. Enjoy with khichdi and spring onions !!

Special Meal .. Special people to remember ..

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