Parshe Macher Jhol: A Traditional Bengali-Style Fish Curry
Image Credit: Parshe Macher Jhol

You must be familiar with Bengalis’ obsession with fish. When it comes to fish, there are many options to try in Bengal - from spicy fish curries to steamed fish dishes or the soothing Macher Jhol. Whether you have tasted Bengali food or not, you are undoubtedly familiar with some of its unique flavours, textures, and characteristics. Naturally, Macher Jhol comes in first place.

For the rest of the globe, Macher Jhol is synonymous with Bengali cuisine. Bengali cuisine is a fusion of the cooking traditions of the two Bengali regions, West Bengal and East Bengal (now Bangladesh).

A delicious Macher Jhol or Bengali fish curry made with mullet fish and eggplant is called Parshe Macher Jhol or Parshe Begun Bori Jhol. This straightforward fish dish is flavorful thanks to the use of only the freshest Parshe Mach (grey mullet fish), Kalo Jeere (nigella seeds), Kancha Lonka (fresh green chillies), and coriander leaves. Of all, nothing could sharpen the gravy like our favourite Shorsher Tel (mustard oil). A delicious summertime fish dish to serve with steamed rice is Parshe Macher Tel Jhol.

Here’s the recipe for Parshe Macher Jhol.

Parshe Macher Jhol

For the marination:

    400 gms parshe machh

    20 gms mustard seeds (a mix of black and yellow mustard)

    35 gms mustard oil (1 tsp extra, for finishing)

    10 pcs dal’er bori (sun-baked lentil dumplings)

    100 gms brinjal

    ¼ tsp kalo jeere (nigella seeds)

    15 gms tomato

    5 pcs green chillies

    3 gms turmeric powder (¾ tsp extra for marinating)

    15 gms salt (¾ tsp extra for marinating)

    25 gms yoghurt

    8 gms sugar

    300 gms hot water

    8 gms coriander leaves


1.    Give mustard seeds a two-hour soak. Use the least amount of water possible as you blend them with two green chilies until they are smooth.

2.    Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder over the Parshe. While you prepare the other ingredients, leave to marinate.

3.    Slice the brinjal into 5-cm-long segments. Roughly chop the tomato. Slit green chillies. Beat yoghurt until lump-free. 

4.    In a kadai, heat the mustard oil until it begins to faintly smoke and turn a pale golden colour.

5.    Add the bori, and cook it till golden over a medium heat. Place aside.

6.    Add the brinjal at this time. to a rich brown. Keep aside.

7.    Fry the fish in batches, for 1 minute on each side. Keep aside.

8.    Temper the same oil with kalo jeere, tomatoes and green chillies.

9.    Add the mustard paste and fry on medium heat for 4 minutes.

10.    Add salt, turmeric powder, and a little water. Fry the ingredients until there is no longer a raw spice smell (about 4 minutes).

11.    Mix sugar and yoghurt together. Stir it thoroughly.

12.    For the curry, add hot water. Add the fried bori once it has boiled.

13.    Add the fried brinjal pieces and parsley after a minute or so.

14.    For five minutes, bubble on low heat.

15.    Add some chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of unrefined mustard oil to finish.