If you love fish, you must go to Sanghar’s popular chef Abdul Jabbar Mallah to taste his latest Koila Fish Dum Pukht dish.
Come winter and Jabbar introduces a new fish dish every year. The Koila Fish Dum Pukht is his latest for 2020. He calls it the ‘2020 Fish’.
“Twenty20 cricket nahi, 2020 Fish,” he says, explaining that the name doesn’t indicate it is South Asia’s popular cricket sport’s short version. “You may have tested Dum Pakht meat–be it mutton, beef or chicken. But you would not have tasted this sort of cooking anywhere else,” he challenged.
Dum Pukht is a Persian word where dum means to ‘breathe in’ and pukht means to ‘cook.’ It is a slow cooking technique where food in a heavy-bottomed brass or clay pot called a handi, is sealed tightly with dough and cooked over a low flame or coal.
This style of cooking can be traced back to the 18th century royal kitchens of India’s northern Awadh region. At present, besides India, this culinary technique is now used in Pakistan too.
Chef Jabbar, however, has made modified the traditional Dum Pukht cooking style and added his own touch to it. The 2020 Fish dish is all about roasting the fish.
“This recipe is my brain child. Before formally launching on the eve of New Years, I started making this dish as an experiment. With the grace of Allah, I have already got a good response,” he said.
Chef Jabbar has been in the limelight for quite some time and is famous for making over 20 different fish dishes. He has become a local celebrity chef. His business boomed because of all the media coverage and he started getting online orders from across Pakistan. This, for him, was a new experience.
Some people even take his dishes to friends abroad.
Ashraf Ali is one such foodie who frequently travels from Hyderabad to Sanghar, covering 110 kilometres to get his cooked fish orders from chef Jabbar.
“Sanghar’s fish is popular all over Pakistan. Jabbar’s sajji dish gained fame through media coverage. Now he has introduced a new fish dish,” said Ashraf, saying that like sajji, the Koila Fish Dum Pukht is also a matchless dish.
Two kilogrammes of the 2020 Fish will cost you Rs2,000 which is little expensive, but Jabbar defends it by saying that it requires a lot of time and care to prepare.
The first task is to make the masala paste, which is made of peas, green chilies, onions, tomatoes, lemons, garlic and ground spices.
Sanghar’s popular Rahu fish weighing between 1.5kg to 2kg is used. The fish is cut open and cleaned. The paste is then applied inside the fish, which is wrapped in an aluminium foil and rolled. The roll is then wrapped in a piece of cloth. This bundle is wrapped in aluminium foil for a second time and rolled.
It’s time to dig the ground now so the fish bundles can be buried underground. Once this is done, wood pieces are placed on top of the sand and the buried fish is cooked. The idea is to roast the buried fish using coal.
The fish bundles are left underground for two hours to roast. Once the roasting is done, the process is repeated.
2020 Fish is served with roti. Some like it with plain rice, but if you are a fan of fish then there is no way you won’t be able to finish it all by yourself.
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