My Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry)

The word curry or jhol implies slow cooking with spices wherein each spice has a role to play. Few of them impart their flavour, some render their sweetness and some give the required consistency to the curries. For bengalis, macher jhol and rice combo is comfort food. In earlier times, fish was deep fried before putting into jhol which made it tastier. Nowadays keeping health factor in mind, we shallow fry or at times even grill before putting into the already simmering curry. We add vegetables as per season and availability but believe me there nothing can stop us from cooking macher jhol. If our pantry runs barren we cook it with only potatoes and dal kisses(bori). Today I have shared the recipe of aloo(potatoes), phoolkopi(cauliflower) and bori(dal kisses) jhol cooked the traditional way. Each and every household have their own recipe.

Serves 4


4 pieces of fish

2 medium sized potatoes cut into 16 wedges

12 fat florets of cauliflower

16 dal kisses (bori)

2 large ripe red tomatoes chopped finely

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

2 tbsps coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp turmeric powder (varies according to the quality)

4 Fresh green chillies slit lengthwise

Cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida

1 dry red chilli

Salt to taste.


  • Wash, clean and dry the fish and marinate it with salt, turmeric powder. Leave it aside.
  • Wash the cauliflower and pat it dry. Marinate with salt and turmeric.
  • Take oil in deep pan to deep fry fish, cauliflower and bori.
  • To fry cauliflower and fish you need to be extra careful. The oil should not be very hot, lower the flame and hold the lid in one hand to cover the pan immediately.
  • Slide the fish pieces gently into the oil. Cover it and remove the lid after two minutes. Fry till golden on both sides on high flame. Take it out.
  • Similarly fry the cauliflower.
  • Fry the boris on high flame till they turn golden brown. It takes a minute to do so.
  • Now empty the oil into a steel container and let 1 tbsp remain in the pan.
  • Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, bay leavesand a dried red chill to the oil.
  • Add potato wedges and saute. Now add all the dry spices one by one and keep frying.
  • Add tomatoes and ginger and salt and keep frying. Now after these have been added, simmer the flame and let it cook till the potatoes have been cooked through.
  • Now add the cauliflower, bori and the fish pieces. Fry to mix everything well. Now add half a litre of water or as required.
  • Cover and cook till bori and cauliflower get cooked through.
  • Take ghee or clarified butter in a small pan. As ghee gets hot, add cumin seeds, bay leaf, a pinch of asafoetida and fresh green chillies. When the seeds start spluttering and you get the aroma of spices, add it to the jhol or curry.
  • Stir well and let it rest for a while.
  • Serve with hot rice, lemon wedges and fresh green chillies.

4 thoughts on “My Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry)

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