Machh'er tel—the fish entrails—are arguably the tastiest part of the fish. Machh'er tel consists of a good bit of fat, the swim bladder, and the liver—the intestines and the gall bladder are usually removed. Bengali cuisine has many recipes that make use of the fish innards or offals, but tel'er bora is definitely the quickest. You can serve this as a side with dal and rice, but we like them just with plain rice. It is fatty, it is crispy, it is truly decadent.
This recipe can only be made with absolutely fresh fish—best if the fish is live when you buy it. Large carps such as Rohu or Katla which are sold live in the markets are most appropriate. When cutting the belly of the fish open, take care not to puncture the gall bladder. If the gall bladder bursts, the pith will make all of the entrail bitter and inedible. If buying just the entrail separately, check that the fatty bit is pristine white (not yellow) and the bladder is intact. If the bladder has been removed, don't buy it. Most likely, it was removed because it had burst when cutting the fish open.
- 200 g machher tel (fish fat, liver and intestine)
- 50 g onions
- 8 g green chillies
- 4 g salt
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 65 g maida (all-purpose flour)
- mustard oil for frying
- Clean the machher tel thoroughly and remove as much excess moisture as possible.
- Chop into roughly 2-cm chunks.
- Slice onions and finely chop green chillies.
- In a mixing bowl, bring together the machher tel, onions, green chillies, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and maida.
- Heat mustard oil for frying. Wait until it smoked gently and changes colour to a pale yellow.
- Fry little dollops of the batter in a single layer. Do this slowly, on medium-low heat, until the boras are very crisp.
- Serve right off the oil.