I still remember the first time I had the taste of this special fish curry. It was when I had joined my husband in his Regiment in the Army. I had a warm welcome and the ladies in the Unit tried to make me feel at home. The senior officers and wives sent us lunch and dinner and mind you, that is something. That’s how I had my first Bengali Fish Curry aka Maccher Jhol.
Hailing from the South, I wasn’t accustomed to the strong flavor of mustard and my husband had warned me before taking the first bite. Yes, it was different but I had loved it. It was new and my palette had welcomed the refreshingly variant taste.
Just like Keralites, Bengalis are also extremely fond of fish. Okay. Excluding the vegetarians. Deny us our staple of fish for lunch, and face the wrath forever! Ever since that first jolt and bang of the Bong curry, I had been wanting to try cooking it. But I never got that perfect recipe or the courage to make. Until..
Maccher Jhol is a classic. Maccher Jhol means Fish (macch) in curry/gravy (jhol). It has few ingredients and they play an important part. The strong flavor of mustard and the hotness of green chillies makes the dish terrific and different from other fish curries. You might find it spicy, but oh yeah, you can’t stop eating! Use fishes like Rohu (a kind of fresh water carp), Sea Bass or Tilapia for preparing this dish.
Cooking with Mustard Oil:
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. You can pan fry like I did or deep fry. There are many different ways to making this dish. I had tried a few before which in the end turned out to be a catastrophe. Yeah, I have one of those days as well. That’s when I saw an Insta post on Mustard fish by one of my favorite bloggers, Nabanita who blogs at Nom Nom with Naba and Random Thoughts – Naba. She had generously given me her mother’s special recipe and man, it was good.
Here’s how I prepared the Bengali Mustard Fish with little twists of my own:
|Marinate the fish pieces in turmeric and salt. Blend tomatoes, garlic, green chillies and powdered mustard seeds and add to the pan with mustard oil.|
|Cook till excess water is evaporated and oil is released.|
|Add water and simmer. Pan fry the marinated fish pieces.|
|Fry on both sides and add to mustard gravy.|
Bengali Fish Curry Recipe:
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