The Bengali Fish curry or “Macher jhol” is a simple, traditional and probably most popular Fish dish among Bengalis. As diverse as the country itself, all Indian cuisines are varied, spicy and carry unique signatures of local produce. The cuisine of Bengal is as rich and has specific signatures influenced by geography, culture & history.
The rule of Nawabs has had its share of influence on Bengali food which is a combination of subtle and fiery undertones.
The Bengali fish curry probably not one which was overwhelmingly influenced by the Mughals, but the use of spices and local produce helped define it as the signature dish of every Bengali household.
The Bengali fish curry recipe is delicious & is very different from anything you have had anywhere with fish in it. Besides the infusion of multiple spices, it has several health benefits as well. To a Bengali household – making & eating fish curry is a continuous exploration of traditions inherited over generations. Apart from the nostalgia and the pride associated with the dish, even Bengali’s would admit that it is a very simple dish to make. Its simplicity is what makes the dish repeatable day-in & day out.
It can be cooked with any river fish (and some sea fishes as well). We used Carp (Katla) however it should work with most medium to large-sized fishes. Cooked with vegetables, it is a delicacy best enjoyed with boiled rice. Check out the video recipe here.
Bengali Fish Curry Recipe
Simple Bengali Fish Curry recipe
- 500 gram Fish (Machhli)
- 2 medium Potatoes (Aloo)
- 150 gram Cauliflower (Gobhi)
- 5 Beans (Falia)
- 2 small Eggplants (Chhote Baingan)
- 1½ teaspoons Turmeric powder (Haldi powder)
- 1½ teaspoons Coriander powder (Dhania powder)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin powder (Jeera powder)
- 1½ teaspoons Red Chili powder (Lal Mirch powder)
- ½ teaspoon Nigella seeds (Kalonji / Kala Jeera)
- 1 handful Coriander leaves (Dhania Patta)
- Mustard oil (Sarson ka tel)
- Water (Paani)
- Salt – as per taste (Namak)
- Marinate fish with 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon Salt and 1 tablespoon Mustard oil. Set it aside for atleast 20 – 30 minutes.
- In a bowl with 1/3 cup water, put ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, 1½ teaspoon Red Chili powder, 1 teaspoon Cumin powder, 1 teaspoon Coriander powder, 1 teaspoon Salt and mix together. Keep it aside for later.
- Cut medium slices off 5 Beans, slice 2 Potatoes vertically into 4 pieces each, slice 2 Eggplants vertically into 4 pieces each and take out florets off a small Cauliflower.
- Place a kadai (wok) & turn on the gas, add adequate oil for frying 3 to 4 items and let it heat up.
- Once the oil turns fry the Potatoes, saute a little and take them out once they turn light brown.
- In the same way fry the Cauliflower, Beans and Eggplants. After that fry the Fish and keep all the fried items ready for the next step.
- In the same oil, add ½ teaspoon Nigella seeds (Kalonji/Kaala Jeera), add all the fried vegetables back and saute a little.
- Now, put the spice mixture we prepared in a bowl and saute for about 5 Minutes. After that add 1½ cup water and mix together.
- Add the fried fish and blend gently and let it cook for 5 minutes. After that flip the Fish pieces.
- Now put chopped Coriander leaves and mix together and allow it to cook for 5 minutes.
- Fish curry should now be ready to serve.