If you have been on an Amritsari culinary trail, Makhan Machhi is one dish you could not have missed. Much like its chole kulche, makhan machhi finds takers almost everywhere in the city of food lovers. Every restaurant in the city too has introduced it in its menu, adding their twist and variations to its recipe. But makhan machhi, which is a fried sole fish, is no longer limited to the borders of Punjab but has found lovers many thousand miles away.
Chef Prabhjeet Singh, Chef De cuisine, Zeera, Conrad Pune, who hails from Amritsar says that their traditional preparation of the fish has made it very popular among Pune folks as one would find many Punjabis living in Pune. For making makhan machhi, the chef shares that sole fish is used, which is easily found in Pune as well and the best season to have makhan machhi is during the monsoons or the winters. “We have a lot of Punjabi visitors at the restaurant who know the taste of the Amritsari makhan machhi, that is why we have kept the original taste and recipe intact,” he says. Makhan machhi is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Chopped ginger, green chillies, gram flour, coriander, and corn flour is used in the preparation and it is fried in mustard oil and served with pickle, onions and chutney.
The chef recalls having makhan machhi in Amritsari when he would go on fishing trips as a child. Apart from his fish, the chef proudly calls his butter chicken the ‘best in the country’ but also says that it is a misconception that Amritsar and Punjabis only love non-vegetarian food. “We have a wide range of vegetarian food as well which we serve at the restaurant. These include paneer tikka masala, paneer makhani, pindi chole, Amritsari chole with kulchas and exotic vegetables.
The Indian grill fine dining restaurant Zeera at Conrad Pune which serves north Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines has a 65 per cent menu inspired from Lucknow and the rest 35 per cent from Amritsar. There are a variety of North Indian and Punjabi cuisines to explore as the city finds many dwellers from the northern region of the country.