Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pabda Macher Jhal (Bengali Fish Curry)

Living in Kolkata has helped me in many ways , my fondness for fish grew day by day , what more Can I ask for when our local Fish Markets is loaded with fresh supply of innumerable Variety of fish every day .One Fish is Pabda from Ganges ,This fish is quite tasty to eat when its made with the coarse fresh home-made powder of cumin,Nigella seed and Black Pepper powder .This combination of spice gives this fish curry a distinct Black color , also called by My little one Kalo Macher Jhaal .I have slightly put the spice content to a higher tone to satisfy our cravings for spicy fish curry however Just lower the spice and its good for stomach specially for Pregnant Ladies and toddlers , Other fishes like , Bata ,Magur ,Tangra or sometimes Pona Mach can also be made in a similar way .This brings a great change to a normal fish curry ,Making it more edible and delectable.

Morich Kalo Jeere diye Pabda macher Jhaal (Bengali Fish Curry)
Recipe Requirements

5-6 large Pabda Mach or fish
½ tsp of red pepper powder
2-3 tsp of cumin seeds
2-3 tsp of kalo jeere/kalaunji(nigella seeds)
2 tsp of black pepper powder
½ tomato chopped
1 tsp of turmeric powder
3-4 tbs mustard oil for frying fish +2 tbs of mustard oil to make the curry
1 cup of water or vegetable stock
Marinate the fish with turmeric and salt , keep aside for half hour
Heat up a Kadai and add mustard oil , fry fish on each side for 5 mints at medium till they are turned little brown . Be Careful while frying Pabda Fish.Take out gently after they are fried .
Now grind to a coarse powder, cumin seeds , Kalo jeere or kalaunji (Nigella seeds) .Add black Pepper and red pepper powder .
Add the fried fish and the coarse powder , turmeric , salt , 1 cup of water and tomato and 2 tbs of mustard oil.Cover and cook at low for 10 mints.
Take out when the gravy is thick , serve with warm cooked rice .
If Making for Toddlers , just add more water and half the spice , quite like Patla jhol..This Jhol is good for even pregnant Ladies. I used to have it while I was expecting with my little one, quite often. This remains our easy to cook and easy to digest recipe for rainy days.
Happy Cooking Friends.


  1. Ufff...Jaya!
    You are posting just the right recipes. Exactly what I want to learn...love you!:)

  2. Thank you for sharing such typical Bengali recipe.
    I want to share another simple recipe with Pabda that my mother prepares. She says this (that I'm going to tell) is a Jessore (now in Bangladesh) recipe.

    Fry the Pabda fish lightly in oil and keep aside. In the same pan season kalonji and green chilli (halved). Add 'Bori' and diced aubergine ('begun'), turmeric powder and salt. Stir well and add water. Cover and let boil. Now add the fish, sprinkle little mustard oil over it and cook covered for few minutes. Serve hot with rice.

    I loved it very much for the awesome flavor. Hope you'll also like it.

  3. Gargi,
    thank you adding that delicious recipe notes here...I am sure going to like it :)..thanks for sharing that recipe with us..
    hugs and smiles

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  5. This is the best ever macher jhaal I have ever tasted. I am pregnant too and the combination of spices with Pabda felt like heaven! Doc has asked to include more protein like chicken in my diet and less carbs. But for some reason I hate chicken right now! Please let me know some more pregnancy fruendly recipes!

    1. Thanks for mentioning this here :-) ....this remains one of our favourite fish curries as well....While I am not sure about your eating habits - and also what doctors has specifically told you to follow like a diet regime etc.....a simple rule that helped me while I, myself was pregnant with my daughter was eating less portions but in frequent intervals...and also to avoid very spicy and foods cooked with way too much oil ...include more vegetables and fish in your diets ...buy frozen vegetables packets( in case you are tired of chopping and cutting vegetables- no worries most of the frozen vegetables are packed when the vegetables are in peak season and fresh ensuring their quality is better ) and have a steamed bowl of fresh vegetables - like carrots/green peas/broccoli / sweet corn..etc ...
      snacking on fruits is a great filler in case you have hungry pangs ....
      steamed fish with very little oil or spices.....
      you can cook a niramish jhol type with lots of vegetables thrown in and add in fish ..like pabda, pona, magur and shinghi ...last two fish are very good in case one is little anemic..not sure you get this in abroad frequently and easily as I don't here many times......So, I suggest you can try steaming or grilling salmon with minimum spices......and also mackreel if you like it ...hope you have a healthy pregnancy and a baby ...all the best ..hugs


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