Sunday, July 8, 2012

My MIL's Fish Curry

Maache Bhate Bangali...Fish Curry and Rice: Soul Food for Bengali

Fish curry and rice is something Bengalis can not do without. The list of fishes we eat is endless. Be it fresh water sweet fishes like Rohu, Katla, Mrigel, Pabda, Tyngra, PuNti, or  salt water fish like Hilsha, Pomfret etc. Different kinds of prawns are also very popular in Bengal.
Fishes are cooked in various ways, from simple maach bhaja(fish fry) to maacher jhol(light gravy) or maacher jhal (thick dry gravy).Bengalis also make  sweet and sour chutneys(mostly with small fishes like PuNti, Mourola or the fish heads) with fishes, called maacher tok with tamarind or green mango.
Today I made a simple fish curry, Maacher Jhol, the way my mother-in-law cooks, with tomato-cumin-corriander. My MIL uses either Rohu or Pabda to make this kind of curry, but I used fresh live Tilapia today.

I got live tilapia from Chinese Supermarket. The guys there clean and cut the fish, so no hastle for me. Here is what I did:

Things needed:

  • Fish
  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Whole cumin
  • Green chilies
  • Ginger paste
  • Turmeric powder
  • Red chili powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt to taste

I washed the fish and marinated the pieces with salt and turmeric powder. I let it marinate for 30-40 min.

Fried the fish till nice golden brown. I know some people like their fishes lightly fried but I like them nicely done.

Using the same oil, I fried the potatoes. The potatoes were cut lengthwise. I do not know if there is a guideline for how potatoes should be cut for a particular type of curry. But I have seen my Ma and Mom-in-law cut the potatoes lengthwise for such light curries (Jhol) and in cubes for rich gravies (Kaliya). So I follow the tradition.

In went the stilted green chilies and whole cumin seeds. Be careful not to burn the cumin seeds, if needed remove the pan from heat.

Next I added ginger paste and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkled some salt, covered and cooked in a medium heat till the tomatoes are done.

When the tomatoes are cooked I added turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Mixed all the masalas well, cover and cook in a low medium heat for 6-7 min. Gave a stir in between. Here I must tell you, I always make the masalas at home. Other than turmeric and red chili powder all the dry masalas are home made. That makes a lot of difference in the taste.

As the oil separates from the masalas I added hot water(depending the amount of gravy you need) and let it boil. As the gravy boils I simmered the flame and added fried potatoes and fishes. Then covered and cook for another 12-15 min. At the end added a handful of chopped green coriander leaves and 2 more stilted green chilies. 

Note: You can make this simple curry for your little one also, just do not put any green chili and red chili powder, it will taste the same. I do that for my daughter, and she loves this fish curry with a dash of lime.

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  1. Hi there :) Came here via the FB message.. and you have a really lovely space out here. Being a bong myself and living far away from home, these are mouthwatering and enticing recipe.. keep up and keep going!

  2. HI

    I made this recipe yesterday for dinner and it was just awesome i tell you, the colour and the taste. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    Take Care

  3. tor ei pg tar jato sukhyati korbo kom hobe. a v good time pass and motivation to cook good food for my family.... just love everything about dis pg and you related to dis pg.... somoer ovabe amr life e ranna byapar tai sob theke neglected hoe ajkal.. YOU keep cooking happily.....


    1. Thanks re, tor comment ta pore eto bhalo lagche.