BENGALI FISH CURRY | MACCHER JHOL | MUSTARD FISH CURRY

Macher Jhol is a classic. Macher Jhol means Fish (macher) in curry/gravy (jhol). The strong flavor of mustard and the hotness of green chilies makes the dish delicious and unique from other fish curries. Bengali Fish Curry or Mustard Fish Curry is an everyday dish in the Bengali household. This easy tomato-based recipe can be made with catfish or mullet in mustard oil and boasts of the distinct flavor of mustard and nigella seeds.

 

While cooking with mustard oil, the oil is heated to a smoking point and then cooled down, before using it. This is because mustard oil contains erucic acid which gives a strong pungent smell. Heating to smoking point reduces the pungency. The Bengali Mustard Fish calls for frying the fish steaks in mustard oil before adding to the curry.

 


INGREDIENTS FOR FISH CURRY –

  • Fish Steaks – 6 -10
  • Turmeric Powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Tomatoes - medium, 3
  • Garlic cloves – 4
  • Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  • Green chilies - 5
  • Powdered Mustard seeds – 1 & 1/2 tbsp
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Mustard oil - 5 tbsp
  • Nigella seeds or kalonji - 1 & 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves - Chopped, for garnish

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INSTRUCTIONS TO COOK FISH –

  1. Marinate the fish steaks with little turmeric powder, garlic paste and salt. Keep aside for 25-30 mins.
  2. Make Powder of yellow mustard seeds to yield the required amount for curry.
  3. Blend tomatoes, garlic, 3 green chilies, powdered mustard, salt and half cup of water to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  4. Take a fry pan, add mustard oil to deep fry the fish.
  5. Once the oil is heated add the marinated fish steaks in mustard oil one by one.
  6. Fry the fish stream until it turns golden brown. Take out and keep aside.
  7. Heat mustard oil in a pan until smoking hot. Remove from fire for 30sec and then keep back.
  8. Add nigella (kalonji)  seeds and let it sizzle for about 10 sec. Add the tomato-mustard-chilli paste.
  9. Cook until the excess water is evaporated, and oil is released. This would take about 10 mins.
  10. Reduce heat and cook for another couple of minutes until it darkens a little.
  11. Add one and half cups of water, mix well and bring to a boil. Simmer for about ten minutes.
  12. Add the fish to the mustard sauce and cook for a couple of minutes more.
  13. Turn off the flame and fish curry is ready to be served.

 Garnish the fish curry with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.

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