Magur Machher Jhol, a Bengali-style Asian Catfish Curry, is my favourite fish recipe yet! It is a beautiful dish which has extremely strong flavours and spices. This recipe combines the aromatic characteristics of mustard seeds with the tanginess of tomatoes and dry mango powder, that essentially forms the tasty curry base. This dish is originally from West Bengal but is made with different variations in other eastern Indian states as well.
The following recipe is my version of my mother’s style of making this classic recipe! Do try and let me know how you found it! 🙂
500g Asian Catfish, medium cut, washed
2 tsp salt
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp mustard oil + oil for shallow frying
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
6 tbsp mustard seed paste
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp dry mango powder
2 cups water
2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
Step 1: Mix the washed fish with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice in a bowl. Marinate for 30 minutes at least.
Step 2: Heat mustard oil for shallow frying in a large frying pan. Add the fish pieces one by one on high heat. Lower the heat and shallow fry till the fish turns slightly golden brown.
Step 3: Drain the excess oil and keep aside. Heat 4 tbsp mustard oil in the same pan and add fenugreek seeds; let it crackle.
Step 4: Add 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste. Stir it for a minute. Add mustard seed paste and stir fry for 10 minutes. Add tomato puree and mix well. Lower the heat, add 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp coriander powder and stir well.
The crux of this recipe is in this step only, where you have to stir this paste-mixture well until the oil separates.
Step 5: Add the quartered tomatoes and mix. Add water to get a slightly thin consistency. Add 1 tsp salt. Allow the curry to boil on high heat.
Step 6: Add in the fried fish pieces and give it one stir. Add dry mango powder and let it boil. Cover, lower the heat and let it cook for 5 minutes. Check seasoning. It is a slightly spicy recipe, so you may add more chilli as per your liking.
Step 7: Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and green chillies. Serve hot with plain boiled rice!