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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tilapia macher Jhal ~ A Bengali dry fish preperation

Today I'm posting a very basic fish curry recipe, which we call 'macher Jhal'. Mach is 'fish' in bengali and 'Jhal' is a type of preperation with a thick dryish gravy, mostly made with fish, shrimp or egg and cooked in a light sauce of ground chilli or mustard seasoned with mostly Panch Phoron(five spice mix) or Black cumin seed/nigella/kala jeera.
This fish curry is made regularly at bengali households as well as on special occassions as it is very beloved by bengalis. I have made this time with Tilapia, but you can use Bhetki(Sea bass), Rohu(carp) or any type of sweet water fish. It's very easy to make but tastes divine with hot rice.

You need :
Fish : cut into pieces
Mustard oil/vegetable oil : 2 tblsp.(for cooking) + frying fish
Black cumin seed/nigella : 1 tsp.
Onion : 1, thinly sliced
Ginger paste : 1 tsp.
Tomato : 1, small, chopped
Green chilli : 1(optional)
Black/yellow mustard seed : 2 tsp.
Poppy seed : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder : 3 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 1 tsp.
Fresh coriander leaves  for garnishing

How To :
  • Take fish pieces in a bowl, smear 1 tsp. turmeric powder and 1 tsp. salt on fish pieces. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Then take enough oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces well from both sides. Do not over fry them on high heat, then fish will be hard and won't taste good. In medium flame, fry them until well browned on both sides. Remove and keep aside.
  • Prepare a wet paste of mustard and poppy seed and green chilli with a pinch of salt. Always add a pinch of salt while grinding mustard seed, as they tend to taste bitter after grinding.
  • Heat 2 tblsp. oil in a pan, temper with black cumin seed. When seeds start to crackle, add onion slices, saute till onions are lightly fried, add ginger paste and chopped tomatoes. Saute for 1-2 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and mushy. 
  • Then add mustard-poppy seed paste into the pan, saute till oil seperates in medium low flame. Add a pinch of sugar at this moment. Now add 1 cup of water, when water starts to boil, add fried fish pieces and salt to taste. Add very little salt at this moment, because this will be a dry gravy, so no need to add much salt. 
  • When sauce thickens and it coats the fish pieces nicely, add fresh coriander leaves lastly.
  • Remove from heat and serve with hot rice.

Sending this to my ongoing event, "Spotlight : Raksha Bandhan",
as this is my sister's one of the favorite recipes. I don't have brother, so I used to tie Rakhi on my sister's hand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 / by / 7 Comments


  1. Hi Indirani, Tilapia fish looks amazingly delicious.And the intriguing part is that even I prepare this fish using your method.

  2. That pic with the fish looks very inviting.. A yummy authentic dish :)

  3. Fish looka so very good. I liked that it retained its shape. Looks beautiful!

  4. My...what a recipe. Trying it today.


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