Boroli To Puti: 7 Kinds Of Fish That Are Native To North Bengal
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North Bengal being a region at the foothills of the Himalayas makes it an exclusive place in terms of nature. The southern Bengal and northern regions differ a lot in terms of climate and soil; thus, vegetation and water quality vary too. The region, with its vibrant, calm culture and natural wonders, is always on the checklist of all nature enthusiasts.  

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From the mighty Teesta River to the tranquil lakes nestled amidst verdant valleys, these aquatic habitats teem with life, offering a glimpse into the intricate web of biodiversity that flourishes in this region. These pristine waters not only sustain the livelihoods of local communities but also provide a sanctuary for a myriad of native fish species that call North Bengal home.


Renowned for its tender flesh and delicate flavour, Boroli, also known as Barred Boril, boasts a subtly sweet taste with a hint of earthiness, embodying the essence of its freshwater habitat. Its flesh, firm yet succulent, promises a satisfying texture that delights the palate. This fish is commonly found in the streams of foothills and its small size and glistening skin are its identity. These fish are often fried until crispy and served along with dal or lentil soup as a side, and sometimes to enhance the actual flavour of the dish, chorchori or mixed curry is made with it, which elevates the natural sweetness of the dish along with other light aromatics.


Renowned for its delicate yet robust taste, Bata offers a delightful balance of sweetness and earthiness, reminiscent of the freshwater streams it inhabits. Its tender and succulent flesh boasts a firm texture that lends itself perfectly to various culinary preparations. Whether grilled, steamed, or curried, bata tantalises the palate with its unique blend of flavours. Bata fish is small in size and is popularly used in curry preparation with potatoes. It is also fried and eaten as a side dish with dal and rice.


With its slender, elongated body and distinctive silver scales, Mourala or Bengali Mola Carplet, offers a delicate yet satisfying flavour profile. Its flesh is tender with a subtle sweetness complemented by a hint of earthiness, making it a culinary delight. Whether fried to perfection or cooked in traditional Bengali curries, Mourala's succulent meat provides a delightful contrast to its crispy skin. 


Renowned for its succulent flesh and delicate flavour, Rayek offers a culinary experience unlike any other. Belonging to the Mahaseer species, it is infused with the subtle nuances of its natural habitat. Rayek delights the palate with a harmonious blend of sweetness and umami. This fish is mostly used to prepare curries with vegetables like pointed gourd, eggplant, potatoes, and more.


Tatkini or Taki or Reba Carp is a native fish of North Bengal and boasts a unique culinary allure. Its tender flesh, subtly sweet with a hint of brininess, delights palates across the region. Renowned for its firm texture, it holds up well in various cooking methods, from delicate steaming to robust curries. Its flavour profile, reminiscent of freshwater delicacies, evokes a sense of nostalgia among the locals.


Also known as Dakina or Flying Barb, this sleek fish with a midnight-blue sheen and iridescent scales is a sight to behold. Renowned for its delicate yet firm flesh, Darkina offers a taste that tantalises the palate with a subtle brininess and a hint of sweetness, reminiscent of freshwater treasures. This fish is mostly used to make chorchori, a less gravy-type mixed curry, and sometimes it is steamed with spices like mustard, also known as Darkina Bhapa.


Puti, also known as Swamp Barb, is renowned for its delicate flavour and tender texture. It graces tables with its subtle sweetness and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Its light and succulent flesh carries a hint of freshwater essence, making it a prized catch for culinary enthusiasts. These fish are quite versatile and can be used to make a variety of dishes, like Puti macher tok, which features the fish and a light, tangy gravy with mustard, tamarind or raw mango. Apart from this, puti macher jhal is also quite famous. It is a spiced gravy with red chilli powder along with green chillies. Its spicy gravy goes perfectly with steamed rice.