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Amritsari fish: A gourmet irresistible

A number of eating joints within the walled city cater a wide variety of traditional cuisines, a big favourite among which is the legendary `Amritsari Fish'.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 16:22 IST

There is a very famous comment about the people of Amritsar that "Amritsarians are born hosts, and have a palate for good food".

A number of eating joints within the walled city cater a wide variety of traditional cuisines, a big favourite among which is the legendary 'Amritsari Fish'.

The fresh river fish Sole and Singhara make excellent fare for the table of Amritsarians.

Even in the chilly mornings, the city's fish market bustles with activity, as locals and restaurants make a bee-line to buy their choicest fish for evening snacks.

The speciality of the market is the availability of freshwater fish, caught in the Harike Pattan and Beas rivers.

As the evening sets in, Amritsarians are always on the hunt for their favourite eating joints. During winters, the best choice would be fried fish, a popular snack in the evenings.

Lawrence road houses `Makhan Dhaba', a decades old outlet serving the delicious `Amritsari Fish'.

Revealing the secret of what makes Amritsar's fish so famous, Makhan Singh, owner of Makhan Fish Corner, says," We purchase fresh fish from the market. Our preference has always been to buy good quality fish. We then deep-freeze the fish for almost a day to use it next day.

When asked why they deep-freeze fish for a whole day, Makhan replied, It's an art which we have learnt from our elders.

Lightly fried in a besan-and-egg white paste with dry bread crumbs, it breaks so easily in the mouth.

Dr Sodhi, a local resident says," I travelled to England and experienced a variety of sea food but, didn't find the fish quite as tasty as the fish in Amritsar".

"Amritsar is famous for its fish and Kulchas. The taste has developed over the years in the waters of the city. Here is a fish so tasty which one cannot find anywhere in the world. Today the Punjabi community is settled all over the world and whenever they return home in Doaba, Ludhiana, Jallandhar or Phagwara, a visit to Amritsar is a must to taste the delicious fish," Sodhi says.

Moreover, there are good reasons to eat more fish as it helps protect one heart complaints and stroke. Many may not be aware of the fact, as they look only to the taste or the preparation of the fish - `the Amritsari way'.

Although, Amritsari fish is also prepared elsewhere in India and even abroad, one can only get the authentic taste by visiting the city itself.

"I travelled to other parts of the state, but never have I found that taste which so unique of Amritsar. The Bengalis love fish. And when some of my Bengali relatives sampled the Amritsari fish, they could not believe it could more tasty than that cooked by Bengalis," says Prashant, a software professional.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 16:22 IST