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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22 thoughts on “Sabji Diye Macher Jhol

  1. With out the use of kalo jira(nigella), panch phoron, sorsay batta, kancha lanka, dhonay patta, you have not begun to cook like a Bong.

    You can add to this list Posto.

    I tried this simple recipe last night, it was loved very much by my father, I added a small spoon of sorser tel in the end.

  2. sudeshna di, i ve a query. I love river fish bt ws scared to try any recipe fearing i ll ruin it.Bt I went for rohu fish and tried shallow frying it a pan. But the pieces got stuch to the bottom and they broke. I m so upset. wat went wrong

    1. Most likely the oil in which you added the fish for frying was not hot ,it is common for the fish to stick at the bottom of the pan if the oil is not hot.

    2. try using extra salt and holud to coat the fish, make sure oil is very hot when you add the fish in the pan. I use a non stick pan and flip the fish with the tip of a knife.Also try shaking the pan a bit a min. or two of adding the fish so the fish is free of the bottom and can slide around.

  3. বাংগালি সব রান্না ইংরেজিতে। খুবই ভাল লেগেছে ব্লগটা দেখে, বিদেশে মানুষ আমাদের রান্নাগুলো করতে চাইলে এটা তাদেরকে সাহায্য করবে। আমারও একটা রেসিপি ব্লগ আছে, তবে কখনো ইংরেজিতে করার চেষ্টা করিনি। সুযোগ পেলে আমার ব্লগটার ইংরেজি ভার্সান করা যায় কিনা দেখব।

  4. Dear Sudeshna
    I cooked this for lunch yesterday. It was very nice and the aroma was bit different, as expected, from the Jeera phodon one. Great recipe!.

  5. Dear Sudeshna
    More I read your recipes more I marvel!! I have never tried a Kalo jeere+ Tejpata combo for Sombora + Jeere paste ..I can get the aroma from the photo. ( Kalyan must have done some thing so that one gets the aroma from the photo..:-).) I assume that 1 tsp turmeric is for the curry. With your permission I will put few green chili, which is not needed as such.
    Hummm , Thank God you have put coriander leave as optional. I always wonder when did the Dho-ne pata, a profound flavor spoiler, got into Bong traditional dishes!!
    I am going to make it as soon as I am finished with fish dishes stuck in the fridge.
    Have a nice day

    1. UshnishDa,
      Kalyan is enjoying his time with Sushi and Tacos, so he’s not missing that much, I believe :).
      I like coriander but not to that extent that I like to put it in every curry possible. You can try the same recipe with jeera phoron, then add a little garlic paste with it. But, then you’ll have to add the cauliflowers. Cauliflower goes well with garlic paste. Add the potol and jhinga a little later, as the garlic flavor gets inside those veggies spoiling their own inherent smell and taste.

      1. I often cook, with jeere sukno lanka tej pata sombora and jeere ada bata…never tried rosun…but this recipe is new with Kalo jeere tej pata . In fact I cooked this recipe just now and will have lunch with it. The aroma is different and distinct …

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