Maacher chop, or fish croquettes, are a classic Bengali snack or starter and I think they’ll be a great addition to your festive feasting repertoire.
My aunt makes these tasty bites with a biscuit crumb coating, instead of breadcrumbs.
She ate maacher chop prepared that way while she was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and it is a delicious alternative.
Rich Tea biscuits are a good option. This is because they are quite dry and not very sweet, so they work well when fried.
I’ve simplified this recipe by adding tinned tuna instead of fresh fish.
Also, don’t be alarmed by the cornflakes in the ingredients list. They give the coating extra crunch and a golden shell, as well as a lovely flavour.
The maacher chop are really good served with a generous squeeze of lime juice and dipped in a spicy Asian ketchup, or sweet chilli sauce.
Ingredients (makes 16)
2 medium-large potatoes
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp panch phoron (Bengali five spice)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
300g tuna (two cans in brine, drained)
2 tbsp chopped coriander
12 Rich Tea biscuits
100g plain flour
2 large eggs
Oil, to deep fry
First rinse the potatoes, peel and cut them into large chunks and boil until tender. Remove from the water and drain in a colander. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mash thoroughly.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the panch phoron. Stir for a few seconds until the spices pop and then add the garlic, ginger, chopped chilli, onion and salt.
Mix until the onions are soft and translucent, for around two minutes, and then add the ground spices. Stir through for a minute and add the tuna and chopped coriander and cook for a few minutes more until everything is well combined.
Add the tuna mixture to the bowl with the potato and mix together until well combined and smooth. Check the seasoning at this point, then leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare the coating mixture by blitzing together the biscuits and cornflakes until you have fine crumbs and transfer to a plate.
Next, whisk the eggs in a wide bowl for dipping and place the flour on a separate plate. Line these up and begin to assemble your croquettes.
To make the croquettes divide your mixture into 16 even portions and roll each into a croquette shape.
Dip each croquette into flour, shake off any excess and dip into the egg, ensuring you have coated the croquette all over, then roll in the biscuit and cornflake crumbs.
Heat up oil in a karahi (cooking pan) or wok over medium-high heat.
Drop a piece of bread into the oil to check if it’s hot. If the bread browns and rises to the surface within several seconds, it’s ready.
Carefully slide a few croquettes at a time into the oil and fry for two to three minutes, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to drain onto kitchen paper.
Serve hot with wedges of lime and ketchup or chilli sauce, if you like.
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