Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bhetki Macher Jhaal (Bhetki Fish Curry) and Korola Kumro (Bitter Gourd Pumpkin stir/Fry )

From Bengal the Land of Tigers, mangroves, Fish and Rasogolla , Bengali culture speaks volume about itself. People from Bengal have always actively participated in India’s freedom struggle.Subhas Chandra Bose, Rabindra Nath Tagore to name a few and contributed in the overall development of India as well .Bengal is a land of rich literature and culture also .When speaking of Bengal , How could I forget to mention the Bengali cuisine .People here Love to eat and make flavorful dishes also .
This Bhetki macher jhaal and Korola and kumro chorchori is very traditional and homely meal for lunch .
However Bhetki fish is also very popular in Biye bari(marriage venue or home) where Bhetki macher Chop is served .
Korola /Kumro is another dish which my Grandmother used to prepare, from her I have seen my mom preparing this starter, little did I noticed, even I started cooking this dish also.
This recipe is very traditional , but with being experimental by nature I have incorporated the use of aamchur powder or the mixed pickle gravy , which makes it little less bitter .However my grandmother and my mom never ever used any of them .
Coming to the main entrée bhetki macher jhaal , this is prepared with onion /garlic and ginger paste , just like my earlier Pomphereter kalia here is Recipe Link ,except I have added fresh coconut paste also .Bhetki is hassle free fish as you don’t need to dig out small bones from it. This curry turns out to be thick with oodles of spice and flavor but that makes it even more flavorful.

Bhetki Macher Jhaal ( Bhetki Fish Curry)
Serves for 4-5 people
Bhetki Mach or fish roughly 8-9 pieces

2 medium size onions
1 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic
¼ cup fresh coconut small pieces
Make a smooth paste of the above ingredients in a mixer by adding little bit of butter .TIP- adding butter while preparing this makes it smooth to rotate the mixer blades and this adds to the overall flavor of curry also .

Tempering and Flavoring
1tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of salt and little bit more for marinating fish
½ tsp of sugar
1tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1tsp of coriander powder
1tomato chopped
Clean the fish pieces and marinate with turmeric powder and salt,
Heat up a kadai/heavy bottom pan, add oil and fry the fish pieces at med, batch of 4 at a time, take out and drain.
Now if required add more mustard oil Add cumin seeds, let it splutter.
Now to that oil itself, add the paste , sugar salt, red pepper powder , turmeric powder , coriander powder sauté for 7 mints at high stirring continuously , add chopped tomato sauté for another 2-4 mints .Add 1 cup of water , release the fish slowly to the gravy , and cover .
Cook for 5-7 mints, now take out in a separate vessel and serve with warm cooked rice.

Korola Kumro (Bitter gourd Pumkin vegetable medley)
Serves for 4 people
Bitter gourd 1 cut into thin cubes
Potato 2 cut into small cubes
Pumpkin 10 -12 small cubes
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp of Red pepper powder ( add less for less spice)
2 heaped tbs of mustard oil
1tsp of salt
½ tsp of sugar
½ tsp of any mixed pickle gravy or aamchur
1 tsp of panch phoron
Clean the bitter gourd pieces and marinate with turmeric powder and salt,
Heat up a kadai/heavy bottom pan, add oil and fry the bitter gourd /karela/korola pieces at med till crisp and brown, take out and drain.
Now if required add more mustard oil and add panch phoron , let it splutter .
Add potatoes and pumkin pieces and fry at med for 3- 4 mints, add salt, turmeric powder and red pepper powder, coriander powder
Add fried bitter gourd pieces also. Cover and cook for 5-7 mints till the vegetables are soft, add mixed pickle gravy or aamchur powder. TIP-This makes the chorchori less bitter, traditionally this step is not included while making korola kumro chorchori .
This makes the medley little bit tok/jhaal/teto or bitter/spicy/sour which has a very distinct taste .
Add sugar at the end, mix well with spatula/khunti and take out, and serve with garam bhaat (warm cooked rice).

This is just a glimpse to the Traditional Bengali Cooking that we love to cook in our home .

There are many more such homes where traditional meals are prepared , may be little bit different with ingredients and cooking methods .I am all eager to know those so please share your thoughts and recipes .
Readers are welcome to share their recipes and tips regarding Bengali cuisine and eating habits.
On this Great Eve of our Independence Day , I would like to wish my fellow countrymen and friends , lets work together for our Motherland and Make India more powerful and developed .
Happy Independence Day
Jai Hind


  1. This is a feast I would thoroughly enjoy!

  2. Bhetki maach nei. :-( But have korola and kumro ... shall make this chorchori tomorrow. :-)
    I love your recipes.

  3. AAh ki daaroon...
    I remember Tagores Aekla cholo aekla cholo re... jodi tor daak shune keu na aashe tobe aekla cholo re..
    Happy Independence day to you :))

  4. Cynthia,
    Thanks for your kind words , and yes we really enjoy Bhetki fish curry ..

    Kothaye thako tumi, Bhetki mach pao ni keno?
    anyways do try korola kumro and let me know how it turn out .

    You know Bengali , Thats so cool!Ya this song has a good message also .

    hugs and smiles

  5. I've eaten Bhetki, and it's quite a hassle-free fish, as you said. But the seer is even more hassle-free, if I remember right. I'm mentioning this because we mostly eat seer as The Spouse will not touch anything with bones. Anyway, I love the term 'hassle-free fish'

  6. This recipe just seems mouthwatering...its been a long time I have prepared Korola Kumro and Bhetki Maacher Jhaal, after reading your recipes I'm motivated to try them this weekend....Khuub Bhalo!

  7. Jaya...prottekta recipe daruun lagchhe, jodio ekhaane catfish chhada aami aar kichhoo hather kaachhe paai naa, kintu india gele pore aami nishchoi tomar recipes er ekta collection kore niye jaabo. whatever i couldn't make here, okhaane raandhbo!! :)

  8. Sra,
    You have tried eating Bhetki ,thats so good, seers is something new to me .Even my hubby wont touch anything with bones that includes Hilsa Fish .

    Flying Stars
    thanks for your visit , and do try making korola kumro and bhetki curry this long weekend ..Darun Bhalo Laglo tumi ele ..

    no hurry, tomaar jokhon eche hobe tokhon baniyo ...Ami jaani cat Fish chara okhane kicho khaba jaye na , even Tilapia fish fillet or white fish fillet o na bhaja hole khaba jaye na , amaar o eyirokom hoto jokhon aami US e Chilaam ...
    hugs and smiles

  9. hey jayshree, i am doing a post on bengali cooking, can i post a link to this recipe?
    let me knw at karunakhera@rediffmail.com

  10. Never cooked Vetki(Koral) fish before. Loved when my mom used to cook in India. Have been looking for Vetki recipe for a long time. Thanks for uploading. Will make vetki kalia. My choice of fish (1) Hilsha(Vapa Sorshe). (2) Rahu curry (3) Pomfret(butterfish) may be (4) Vetki.

  11. Awesome and informative blog! Thanks for your very nice recipies. I like this very much and look forward to visiting your blog in the future.
    Bhetki Fish

  12. Amal Chandra

    It is Yum! Yumm! Yummm!

  13. Nice recipe. I really like this fish. To know some technology related tips and tricks you can visit Tech n Techie


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