Bengali fish curry – Macher Jhol

October 6, 2009

It’s official. Home cooked Indian equals free babysitting volunteers.

Front row London Fashion Week: Curry.

Birthday party in neighbourhood local: Curry.

When sis offered her services for an old friend’s shock wedding I knew I had to pull the stops out.

I made for the farmer’s market. Followed by lunch in a Polish caf with mini Basu, the man, his crazy younger bro and friends.  Then made a pit stop into a boutique to buy an entire outfit for the evening. While mini Basu slobbered on the season’s latest polyester offerings. The bro offered unsolicited fashion advice and the man faked a fainting spell.

Luckily, the recipe wasn’t going to finish me off altogether. Durga Puja, the annual Bengali religious calendar event was on. The dish was going to an old family favourite – Maacher Jhol – the famous Bengali fish curry.

Aromatic and light, it didn’t render me fishy. Sis said it made her teary – with happiness. Bro declared it was the best fish he had ever tasted. Both offered endless nights of babysitting.

It pays to cook Indian. Quite.



Feeds 2:

  • 350gm meaty white fish (I used Rock fish)
  • Half tsp panch phoron
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • 4 green chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil


Slice the fish into one inch thick slices and rub in half a teaspoon of salt and half the turmeric. Bring the oil to heat on high in a large frying pan and fry the fish slices for a minute on either side to seal.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and chuck in the bay leaf and panch phoron. As they sizzle up, mix the spice powders into a mug of hot water and pour into the pan. Let this bubble up and then cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Next, gently lower the fish pieces into the curry. Slit the green chillies and add them along with salt to your taste. Cover for about five minutes until the fish is cooked through. Serve with hot steamed rice or an easy dal like I did for simple pleasure.



16 Responses to “Bengali fish curry – Macher Jhol”

  1. Dharambir Says:

    June 29th, 2017 at 7:03 am

    nice and interesting recipe.. thanks for sharing!

  2. Event Roundup - Tried and Tasted Recipes | Cook like a Bong Says:

    March 24th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    […] Fish Curry in Bengali style […]

  3. Fish Curry in Bengali Style | Sunshine & Smile Says:

    January 19th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    […] are freshwater fishes used in a typical Bengali fish curries). I have adapted the recipe from Mallika’s Quick Indian Cooking for the event guest host by Cook Like  a Bong, original event Kitchen […]

  4. anthony Says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    looks like i am back home and having my favourite maacher curry prepared by my mom.

  5. hemangini Says:

    February 2nd, 2010 at 11:48 am

    we want mallika BACK already!

  6. Elisabeth Says:

    October 14th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    This sounds delicious. I like the idea of sealing the fish. And three cheers for farmers’ markets!

  7. Christie @ Fig&Cherry Says:

    October 12th, 2009 at 5:16 am

    All I need now is a baby and some Indian spices 😉

    Glad you’ve got a hoard of helpers, lucky girl!

  8. bumba Says:

    October 10th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    it looks nice but have to taste before making a comment.

  9. Mallika Says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Ekhono somoy achhey . Shubho Bijoya Namesake !

  10. Sudeshna Says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    That sounds yum :). Never came across this rock fish, does it taste like rohu?
    I hope you had a good Durga Puja season.

  11. notyet100 Says:

    October 8th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    ummm yum it looks,..:-)

  12. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen Says:

    October 7th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    You are so funny! Way to go!

  13. Srivalli Says:

    October 7th, 2009 at 4:38 am

    ha!..thats very nice..and needless to say the dish looks delish!..

  14. dollybasu Says:

    October 7th, 2009 at 3:02 am

    thats really funny . back home u refused to touch the families favourite macher jhole and now ur cooking it for your little sister . ha ha ha ha . looks amazing. i suppose i dont have to rush back home missing my fish curry

  15. Ritika Says:

    October 6th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    am a bong…but somehow just can’t get the perfect fish curry. 🙁 this should do the trick.

    on a completely different note, how is it getting back to work?

  16. indosungod Says:

    October 6th, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Spot On Mallika. That is one delicious fish curry and if it brings all the babysitting services that seems a ‘just’ price.

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