Sabji Diye Macher Jhol

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Some years back, I had gone to Shimla with my parents and younger sister, who had just got promoted to first standard. 3 days we stayed at the Hotel Oberoi Cecil in Shimla. The gorgeous hotel with its lavish spread, I was in love with the hotel. But, from the second day onwards my kid sister started craving for ma-er macher jhol (fish curry – mom’s style). So much so that on the second day she entered the kitchen and went to the chef asking to prepare a fish curry with potatoes. And, there from the Oberoi kitchen came out, which nobody expected – a fish curry similar to what mom always cooks at home.

I later reasoned that she asked for that non spicy fish curry which was familiar. This happens to almost all of us. A Bengali staying in New York will surely know the address of the nearest Bengali restaurant.

At home, back in Kolkata, a summer lunch always consist of shukto, dal and fries, a vegetable curry and of course a non vegetarian gravy dish that might include fish, egg or meat, but preferably fish. The fish in most days is prepared with the minimum amount of spices keeping in mind the hot and humid weather of the Tropics.

The mom made fish curry is something that can’t be matched with anything on earth. Whether you visit one of the finest fine-dining or the neighborhood restaurant, I have never found any restaurant providing with the typical daily meals.

I have visited Bengali restaurants in Bangalore from Oh! Calcutta, St. Mark’s Road to Bangaliana, Koramangala just in search of that typical rui mahcer jhol (rohu curry) with lots of vegetables. But, never did I find it. So, here am back to my kitchen trying to reproduce mom’s style fish curry. Click on this link for more such authentic Bengali recipe.

sServes 4
Preparation time 10min
Cooking time 12-15 min


  • 4 fillets of rohu or catla (fresh water fishes)
  • 1 six-inch ridge gourd
  • 1 medium potato
  • 4-5 florets of cauliflower
  • 2-3 pointed gourd
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Few sprigs of coriander leaves (optional)


  • Cut all the vegetables longitudinally, wash, mix with little turmeric powder and salt
  • Heat about 2 tablespoon of oil in a wok and toss the vegetables till lightly fried, keep aside
  • Wash the fish fillets well, and mix them with turmeric and salt. Drain out the extra water
  • Pour in another 2 tablespoon of oil in the wok and as the oil get piping hot fry the fish fillets till the fish is soft and tender
  • Add all the spices except nigella in a bowl and mix with water to make a smooth mixture
  • Take in 1 tablespoon of fresh mustard oil in the wok, throw in the nigella and bay leaves
  • As the spices start sputtering pour in the spice mixture and little water
  • Stir well till the oil separates
  • Add the vegetables and mix with the spices
  • Toss for a little while (1-2 mins) and pour in about 2 cups of water
  • As the vegetables get almost cooked add the fried fishes and  cook till the gravy sips inside the fish
  • Serve garnished with coriander with warm white rice

Hot Tips – You can use bhetki instead of rohu or catla for the same preparation. The shape of vegetables has a good percentage in deciding the taste and texture of this fish curry. So, while chopping the veggies keep in mind to slice them to almost same sizes.

I have used four different vegetables in this rohu curry, if you don’t get all of these you can just use a combination of any of the four.

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Guest Post – Doi Ilish

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We at Cook Like a Bong love to see that our readers are so eager to share our recipes and so every month you try to include a couple of guest posts to our blog. This guest post is shared by a very nice Bengali couple – Anindita and Shantanu.

Asked to describe their passion for food, they said – “Both of us love to eat and also share the passion of cooking. We spent some good quality time in the kitchen, experimenting and trying many different recipes. Our blog name ‘Bhalo Khabo’ says it all ‘Let’s cook something good to eat‘.


  • Ilish or Hilsa
  • ½  cup Yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • ½  tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard Oil  (Preferred, otherwise any other oil would even do)
  • ½  tsp Kalo Jeera (Kalonji Seeds)
  • 3-4 Green Chillies
  • Chopped Cilantro


  • Clean the hilsa pieces and pat dry them. Season them with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok, and slowly put the fish pieces one by one and fry them lightly
  • In a bowl mix the yogurt and the mustard paste, add the turmeric powder. Remove the fish pieces after they are fried and keep the oil aside. (We Bengali’s love this oil with plain rice.)
  • Add some fresh oil to the wok and temper with the Kalo Jeera seeds and let them splutter.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt and mustard paste and  the green chillies.
  • As the oil starts separating, add the fish, salt and a cup of water, cover and cook for sometime. Serve with hot Basmati Rice.
  • Garnish with a few drops of fresh mustard oil and chopped cilantro and enjoy the Bengali Delicacy.

Further Reading – Ilish Bhapa

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Pui Dana Diye Chingri

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Bengal had always been the land of invasions. Dutch, Portuguese, Muslims and the British – everybody had ruled over this state at one point of time or the other. These invasions had a great impact in the social and economic arena of the state. The culinary field was not left behind. The indigenous Bengali cuisine had been influenced by these invaders. In spite of these influences there are some recipes which can always be called as authentic Bengali recipe. One such is the pui-er dana diye chingri maach (Malabar spinach seeds with shrimps).

This recipe is a typical Bangal style recipe and is cooked with a concoction of few spices to retain the green and fresh smell of the seeds. I have used fresh shrimps to prepare this recipe, but you can also use chingri shutki (dried shrimps) too. While using the dried shrimps, fry it similarly as when using the fresh shrimps.


  • 1 cup Malabar spinach (Pui) seeds
  • ½ cup small shrimps
  • ½ cup thinly sliced potatoes
  • ½ cup thinly sliced pumpkin
  • 1 medium sized onion, julienne
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  • De-vein and clean the shrimps
  • Heat 1 ½ tablespoon of mustard oil in a wok, as it turns piping hot, add the shrimps and stir fry till they turn a little hard, keep aside
  • Pour in the extra oil and sauté onions, add the garlic paste
  • Drop in the potatoes and pumpkin as the onions turn translucent, cook for sometime
  • Season with the spices and salt
  • Add the pui seeds and cook till they soften
  • Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes more
  • Take out of flame and serve hot with warm white rice

Hot Tips – It is very essential to clean the shrimps properly. While frying the shrimps, just don’t let the shrimps turn too hard, else the shrimps will turn chewy.

Further Reading – Chanchra, Lutiya Shutki

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Macher Jhol

Fish had always been my love at the dining table. Fish of all types and fish of all kinds does always bring that extra smile to my face. This is the reason why I am just enjoying my stay here in Bengal. I feel that it is for all Bengalis wherever they are, fish is the best way to end the meal. My mom used to cook a very simple but the most delicious fish curry, when I used to go to school. I still like that fish curry. Here it is for all you readers. To tell you one simple trick to make this curry a bit more spicy, cook it with any kind of fresh fish brought from the market that same day.


Fish (Maach): 4 pieces

Potato (Aalu): 2 , cut like finger chips

Onion (Peyaj): 1small, chopped finely

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): 1/2 teaspoon

Chilli powder (Sukno lankar guro): 1 teaspoon

Cumin powder (jira guro): 1 teaspoon

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 2 tablespoons

Bay leaf (Tej pata): 2

Salt to taste


  • Half fry the fish pieces, potatoes separately and keep aside.
  • Take oil in a wok and sauté the onions, and the bay leaves.
  • Add all the spices to the sautéd onions and fry a bit.
  • Add 2 cups of water and to it add the fried potatoes.
  • Cook the broth till it starts boiling and then add the fish pieces, take care so that those do not break.
  • Cook till the potatoes get fully cooked.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy eating.

I prepared this dish with Rohu (rui maach), you can do the same with any fleshy fish.

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