Fish and Bones.

Fish and bones are life long partners. While eating fish, we have to take extreme care that we don’t swallow up the bones, otherwise they may get stuck inside our throat and cause us a lot of “khaa, khaa, whaa, whaaa”.

Fish is an essential food item. It is the source of iron, proteins, vitamins and other minerals which are very essential for the body. Big fishes have very fine small bones which are the main trouble makers.

The more the number of small bones, the tastier the fish is. We are Bengalis. Everyday in tiffin, lunch and dinner a Bengali must have fish. Though we don’t have fish that frequently, but we must and soon I hope that we would be able to.

My mother always tells me to chew up the bones without minding them much.

The work of eating the fish by separating the bones is extremely tedious and monotonous job. Most fishes have a back bone which can be directly removed, but it has small bones attached to it at its both sides.

 Few of the fishes are universal and are available everywhere. For example-Red snapper, Rohu, Catla catla, Hilsa, Promfret, Tuna, Prawns (small/medium and big), shrimp.

In few countires dried fish or preserved fish which are eaten with pickle and chutney have an important significance. Many African countries which have economic problems, there fish is a big source of food and protein, as they are more abundant and cheaper than eggs or chicken.

Bones are the main structure of the vertebrates. Fish is the most important, vital and abundantly available source of food available on earth. Bones often play an important role in marring our activity of having fish but man reigns supreme. He will have fish whether bones are stuck in his throat or not.

When you deep fry fish, it becomes crispy as any fried and crunchy chips and you can have it munchingly with bones with small fishes. Yesterday, I had Kajli fish, which is a small fish. Ma had made it deep fried with mustard paste and I could have it munchingly and happily.

Few famous Bengali fishes are Pabda, Golda chingdi, Ilish (Hilsa), Catla (Catla catla), Chittol, Tangra, Koi,Bhetki etc.etc.

Few fish preparations in Bengali are:- Pabada macher jhol, Illisher jhol, fish fry, fish cutlet, fish with mustard paste.

My maternal grandfather used to like Koi fish the most. This koi fish is not the same fish which is available in most countries. It’s a fresh water fish  and is very delicious to eat.

My mother is a great chef, even greater was her mother and fish tastes truly beautiful and great when Ma makes it for me.

Be happy and have fish sans bones.



Happy Basant Panchami.

Today is Basant Panchami. On this day, Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, learning and music is worshipped.  

In West Bengal, India it is celebrated on a grand scale with Basant Panchami being a state holiday.

In schools and colleges plays are done and the Goddess Saraswati is worshipped early morning in each and every house.                                 

Many musical programs beginning from early in the morning are shown on television channels.

Radio programs on Basant Panchami are held throughout the day.

“Basant” means spring and “Panchami” means the fifth. Therefore, it is celebrated every year on 5thday of Spring.

Singing and musical competitions are held throughout the day.

In lunch khichdi, chutney, a mixed vegetable and ladoos and maybe some other sweets (according to the collections) are served.

Small girls and adult women wear yellow sarees on this day.

Before the visarjan of Goddess Saraswati is done on the next day, people eat a mixture of curd and beaten rice, puffed rice mixed with sugar, banana and sandesh. It is called Dodhikarma in Bengali.

This festival is celebrated in West Bengal and Punjab (both of them are Indian states) in a grand way.

In Punjab it is the festival which welcomes spring and at this particular period of time all the mustard fields look grand and flowing in beautiful yellow colour, which associates the yellow colour with this festival. Kite flying festival also takes place in Punjab.

Happy Basant Panchami to all.


N.B. Sandesh is a Bengali sweet.