6 Bengali Fish Dishes That Perfectly Pair With Steamed Rice
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‘Mache Bhat e Bangali’ is a common saying that reflects the Bengali's habit of eating fish and rice every day. However, Bengalis don’t prepare fancy fish recipes but stick to ‘Macher Jhol’ (fish stew) for regular eating. Fancy fish recipes are often made on a lazy Sunday afternoon or any special occasion.   

Bengali cuisine boasts a rich and diverse range of fish dishes that are highly intertwined with the region’s culture and culinary heritage. Ranging from the watery stew to thick gravies, Bengalis have experimented with fish dishes that are celebrated for their unique taste and flavour. Fish dishes are mainly paired with steamed rice which makes a perfect Bengali lunch in the Bengali household. In this article, you’ll read about various fish recipes that perfectly goes with steamed rice. Take a look at some of them.  

  • Phoolkopi Diye Macher Jhol  

This is the most common fish dish that is prepared almost every day in the Bengali household. This fish stew is made with fish (rohu or katla) fillets and cauliflower (phoolkopi) and is cooked in a fragrant broth of spices. The fish is gently simmered in a mixture of turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cauliflower, and tomatoes and are cooked until tender. This light and flavourful stew is best enjoyed with steamed rice.  

  • Chitol Macher Muitha  

This traditional Bengali delicacy features minced fish that are made into bite-sized balls and are cooked in rich and spicy gravy. Here the fish balls are made from chitol fish (clown knife fish) and are seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices namely ginger, garlic, and green chillies, and are simmered in a luscious gravy made of tomatoes, onions, and yoghurt. The dish is accompanied by fluffy white rice.  

  • Tel Koi  

This is a classic Bengali fish curry that is widely enjoyed on a lazy Sunday afternoon with rice. Here koi fish (climbing perch) are marinated in a mixture of turmeric, salt, and mustard oil before they are pan-fried until golden brown. The fish is then simmered in a spicy gravy made of onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes, infused with mustard oil and aromatic spices. Tel Koi as the name suggests, makes use of ample mustard oil.  

  • Doi Mach  

Doi Mach is a Bengali dish where the fish is cooked in a creamy yogurt-based gravy. This is a creamy and tangy fish curry where first the fish (rohu or katla) is marinated in a mixture of yoghurt, turmeric, and mustard oil. The marinated fish is then cooked in a flavourful sauce of onions, ginger, garlic, and green chillies. The addition of yoghurt makes the gravy creamy and tangy which is perfect when eaten with rice.  

  • Chingri Macher Malai Curry  

This is a luxurious rich Bengali prawn curry where the prawns are cooked in a fragrant coconut-based gravy. The prawns are simmered in a creamy sauce made from coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, and aromatic spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. This rich and flavourful curry pairs beautifully with steamed rice. Chingri Malai curry is also made on special occasions and is loved because of its subtle sweet and spicy flavours.  

  • Loitte Macher Jhuri  

Bombay ducks also known as Loitte mach in Bengali is a fish that is widely made ‘jhuri’ out of it. It is a Bangladeshi preparation where the Bombay ducks are shredded and cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, and green chillies. The fish is first seasoned with a blend of spices, including turmeric, cumin, and coriander, and are later stir-fried till golden brown and crispy. This fiery dish is best enjoyed with steamed rice.