This way of cooking the tiny fish with a watery finish and sour taste may be found only in Berampur and the adjoining areas of Odisha. The unique thing about this recipe is that lemon juice is used to lend a sour taste to the fish.
50 gm very tiny fish (chuna machha)
2 teaspoon mustard (sorisha)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
5 cloves of garlic (rasuna)
3 teaspoon mustard oil (sorisha tela)
juice of half a lemon (lembu rasa)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haladi gunda)
1 teaspoon chili powder (lanka gunda)
4 curry leaves (bhursunga patra)
½ teaspoon panch phootan mixture
(panch phooutan: cumin+ mustard+ nigella+ fenugreek+ aniseed )
salt to taste
Wash the fish thoroughly by taking out their tails. Also clean the insides by removing the gall bladder and intestine etc. This is done to avoid any possible bitter taste. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt to it for marinating. Make a fine paste of mustard, cumin seeds and garlic. Now heat mustard oil in a pan and add curry leaves and panchafutana to it. When the futana starts cracking add the mustard+cumin+garlic paste. Add water to the pan. Then add the remaining turmeric powder and chili powder. Once the water starts boiling put the marinated fish into it and add salt to taste. When the curry starts boiling add lemon juice and keep the pan on the flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Now the 'chuna machha thukuthuka' is ready to be served hot and relished by all. This item is very popular in Berhampur.