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Photo of Bengali Macher Jhol (Fish curry) by Antara Navin at BetterButter

Bengali Macher Jhol (Fish curry)

Antara Navin
30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
3 People
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ABOUT Bengali Macher Jhol (Fish curry) RECIPE

This is an authentic Bengali cuisine prepared in every household of Kolkata, fish prepared in tomato and yogurt based curry and infused with the flavors of mustard oil and Bengali panch phoron masala (nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.) This is a healthy dish and considered auspicious. Inspiration for this dish is my mom. Traditionally it is made with Ruhi (Rohu), but fishes like tilapia, swai, pomfret or butterfish also taste good in this curry.

Recipe Tags

  • Non-veg
  • Easy
  • Everyday
  • West Bengal
  • Boiling
  • Frying
  • Sauteeing
  • Side Dishes
  • Healthy

Ingredients Serving: 3

  1. For the marinade:
  2. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  3. 1 tsp mustard oil
  4. salt as per taste
  5. Other Ingredients:
  6. 5-6 medium size fish pieces
  7. 1/2 cup chopped onions
  8. 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp hung unsweetened yogurt
  10. 1 knob ginger finely chopped/ grated
  11. 4 garlic cloves finely chopped/grated
  12. 4 green chillies, slit vertically
  13. 1/4 tsp nigella seeds(kalonji)
  14. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  15. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  16. 3-5 fenugreek or methi seeds
  17. 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  18. 1 bay leaf
  19. 2 dry red chillies
  20. 3 cardamon pods
  21. Dash of hing or asaefoetida
  22. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  23. 1 tsp kashmiri mirch powder
  24. 1/2 tsp cayenne (you can reduce it to 1/4 tsp as per your taste buds)
  25. 2 tsp coriander powder
  26. 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  27. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (optional)
  28. 4 tbsp mustard oil
  29. salt as per taste


  1. Wash the fish well and pat it dry with a kitchen paper towel. Lay it in a flat dish.
  2. Sprinkle mustard oil, turmeric powder and salt to marinate the fish. Set it aside for 30 minutes.
  3. In a flat bottomed pan, add 4 tbsp of mustard oil. When it is smoking hot, pan fry the fish pieces till both the sides are golden. Take out the fried fish and drain excess oil on a kitchen paper towel or any absorbment material.
  4. Add potatoes in the same oil and shallow fry them. Take them out and drain the excess oil on a kitchen paper towel.
  5. In the same pan, add hing, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, methi, fennel seeds and cumin seeds . When the seeds stop to crackle, add bay leaf, dry red chillies, cardamon pods and the slit green chillies. Saute on a low flame for for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the onions along with ginger and garlic and saute till the onion turns brown and translucent. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, Kashmiri mirch powder, cayenne, coriander powder, cumin powder, ground black pepper(optional) and salt as per taste.
  7. Cover and cook on a low medium flame till the tomatoes become soft and mushy for 10 minutes. Add yogurt and saute till the oil separates.
  8. Add the potatoes and fish and then add 1-1.5 cups of water. Bring the curry to a boil and let it simmer on low flame for another 5 minutes.
  9. Turn off the gas. Transfer the fish curry into a serving bowl and serve it hot garnished with coriander along with rice.

Reviews (1)  

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Sheeba Bedi
Sheeba Bedi   May-03-2016

Wonderful dish and recipe dear, cant wait to try!

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