Come winter and each household is almost cooking fish curry with cauliflower or mix vegetables. The tarkari diye Macher Jhol(Bengali fish curry with vegetables) is an absolute comfort for millions of Bengalis.
When Kishwar Aluwalia put the humble Macher Jhol at the gourmet platform of Masterchef Australia with her Barramundi Tomato Curry with Jeera rice and Bean Bhorta, the dish almost got an immediate international fame
Bengali food is known for it’s distinct taste and texture and yes fo the uninitiated the cuisine does see the use of lot of greens on the menu. From cooking fish, prawns with vegetables there’s a lot of variation on the menu. Come winter and each household is almost cooking fish curry with cauliflower or mix vegs. The Bengali fish curry that rather a runny one sees much contrasting texture combination of different varieties of fish that are absolutely worth trying on the table.
The tarkari diye Macher Jhol(Bengali fish curry with vegetables or the Niramish maacher jhol) is an absolute comfort. Niramish which means pure vegetarian in Bengali (amish= non-veg) may sound oxymoron when there is fish but yes it. The gravy that’s cooked with veggies with variations like eggplant potato, raw papaya and cauliflower or just cauliflower and potato or Seam, potato and tomato is cooked the veg way as the base curry is without any onion or garlic making in vegetarian. It just sees a dash of jeere-moricher and at times maybe little ginger and a light flavourful jhol is ready. Due to the assortment of vegetable the best part is you mix and match according to your choice too.
Rohu being the most synonymous fish with everyday cooking, this light curry / jhol is just very simple and a great way to eat veggies too. This one pot meal in a light soupy/brothy consistency sees the goodness of vegetables, proteins from the fish for sure ensuring that you have a happy satiating meal. Not to mention that this one is real quick and easy.
• Rohu fish: 4-5 pieces
• Pointed gourd or parwal: 5 nos
• Eggplant: 1 medium
• Ridge gourd: 5 (optional)
• Raw Papaya: half of a medium sized papaya
• (one can add potatoes, string beans or similar veggies)
• Cumin powder: 2 tsp
• Coriander powder: 2 tsp
• Green chilly: 1 no
• Paanch Phoren ½ tbsp.
• Turmeric: 2 tsp
• Dry Red chilli 2
• Mustard oil 5 tbsp
• Salt to taste
• Rub the fish pieces with turmeric and salt and fry till brown and crisp.
• Cut all vegetables longitudinally into rectangular pieces. Rub them with salt and turmeric and fry them lightly.
• Take them out from pan and then add paanch phoren and the dry red chilli.
• Make a thin paste of cumin powder, coriander powder and ginger (reserve a tsp for later) and when seeds change their color to deep brown, add it to the tampering.
• In medium flame, let the spice cook, when oil separates, then add the sautéed vegetables.
• Once the vegies are added let it cook for around 10-12 minutes or until done
• Once the veggies are cooked, add the green chilly and fried fish and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Let it rest for a while.
• Sprinkle the remaining spice before serving. Serve with hot steam rice.