Fish Kabiraji

Fish fillet nestled within a fine, delicate, airy, crunchy web—a classic from the cabins of Kolkata

  • Cooking time
    2.5 hours
  • Calories
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Kabiraji cutlet is a dish unique to Kolkata. It is served in cafe-style restaurants called 'cabins'. The cooked fish, chicken, or mutton cutlet is covered in a fluffy, crispy web of beaten egg batter to form a kabiraji cutlet. There can be two different styles of this crispy outer covering. The first, simpler style involves dipping the cutlet in the egg batter lowering it in hot oil, followed by pouring the remaining egg batter onto the cutlet while turning it. This produces a style of kabiraji that you may see at Apanjan, Rashbehari. The second style—the one we have used in this recipe—takes a little more practice, and produces a more flamboyant-looking kabiraji cutlet. In this style, you dip your fingertips in the batter and swing your wrists over a large pan to form thin strands of the egg batter that slowly form an airy, crunchy carpet as they hit the hot oil. The cooked cutlet is then placed at one end of this carpet and turned and rolled so that the web cocoons the cutlet and forms an impressive looking 'coverage'. This style of kabiraji is served at places like Mitra Cafe, Sobhabazar.

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3 cutlets

Fish cutlet

Egg covering

  • 200 g eggs (for the batter, plus 2 extra eggs for an egg wash)
  • 8 g maida (plain flour)
  • 8 g cornstarch
  • 10 g green chillies
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 10 pcs pepper corn
  • 5 g coriander leaves
  • 1 pinch jowan (carom seeds)
  • vegetable oil for frying


Making the fish cutlet

  1. The process of marinating the fish fillet for kabiraji is similar to that of fish fry. So, follow the steps outlined in our fish fry recipe up to the breading stage.
  2. While breading, give the fish cutlet only a single layer of breadcrumb coating. We don't want a thick crust for kabiraji.
  3. Once you've breaded the cutlet, fry it on medium-high heat (oil temp.: ~190°C). Remove from the oil, once brown.

For the covering

  1. Using a mortar-pestle, make a paste of green chillies and pepper corns with ¼ tsp salt.
  2. Beat 200 g eggs with 4 g of the salt-pepper-chilli paste made above.
  3. Rest the beaten eggs for 15 minutes. The eggs will darken in colour and turn watery.
  4. Take maida and cornflour in a small bowl. Add 4–5 tablespoons of the beaten egg mixture to it. Once smooth and lump-free, add this mixture back to the remaining eggs. This is to avoid the formation of lumps caused by adding flour directly to the eggs. (We will refer to this as the 'egg batter' from now on.)
  5. Now, beat two eggs separately in a different bowl and set aside. (We will refer to this as the 'beaten eggs' from now on.)
  6. Heat the largest flat frying pan you possess on medium-high heat. A large pan will allow you to create a larger covering, and hence more layers.
  7. Add vegetable oil at least 3 cm deep.
  8. When the oil is moderately hot (~180°C), dip your fingers in the egg batter and swing your wrists over the pan (keeping your fingers straight) to form thin strands of fried egg. Do this repeatedly, until an airy, crunchy carpet forms. Don't rush! Let the web form slowly, in layers.
  9. Sprinkle coriander and a pinch of jowan (carom seeds) over the web of fried egg.
  10. Dip a fish cutlet in the beaten eggs. Remember this is not the same as the kabiraji batter.
  11. Place the cutlet on one end of the egg covering. Turn and roll the cutlet, so that the egg covering envelopes it in several layers.
  12. Remove from the oil and drain the excess fat on paper towels for a minute. Don't let it sit too long, or the covering will turn soggy; serve while it's still hot and crispy.

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