The YouTube channel named ‘VilFood’ is now a household name. With a total of 1.62 million subscribers, the channel features Pushparani Sarkar, an octogenarian woman from a Birbhum village, whipping up long-forgotten dishes from rustic Bengal. On social media, she is usually called ‘thakuma’ and ‘dida’ (Bengali words for ‘paternal grandmother’ and ‘maternal grandmother’ respectively). This channel has grown substantially since its inception, and now each video garners close to 2 million views. Recently, one of the videos released by the channel featured Mrs Sarkar teaching viewers how to cook traditional ‘bhetki paturi’ (barramundi fish slices wrapped in banana leaves).
Here is the recipe.
Ingredients: Bhetki fish, mustard oil, turmeric powder, potatoes (cut into thin and long slices), raw chilli paste, raw chilli, salt
Method: First, marinate the raw fish with red chilli paste, salt, turmeric, and mustard oil. The same spice should be applied on the potato slices. After that, the marinated fish pieces should be arranged one by one on the banana leaves which have been smeared with mustard oil. Afterwards, place the marinated potatoes in the round empty space right in the middle. Make sure to place a few raw chillies on top.
Next, place an earthen or iron pan in the gas or oven and layer it with thick banana leaves. After that, the leaf with the fish fillets should be placed over it and all the sides should be covered properly. Cook for a while. When the oil begins to ooze out of the fish, slow down the oven and flip the fish sliced one by one using a stirring spoon. Then leave it for a while and let it simmer. Once both the sides are fully cooked, take down the fish slices and serve with hot rice.