Pabda Macher Jhol | Pabda macher recipe | Pabda fish curry


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Pabda Macher Jhol is a very quick and easy recipe which requires very limited and common ingredients to get prepared. As a Bong, I always feel nostalgic when I share any fish curry recipe with you because I have grown up eating these amazing Macher Jhol-Bhaat.

Since my childhood, I love eating fishes and Pabda fish is one of my favourites. Whenever I visit my native town, my Dad always brings fresh Pabda fish from the market. In fact, in my last trip to India, he bought some fresh white Pabda fishes and my mom cooked super delicious Pabda Macher patla jhol which is more than a comfort food to me. Today’s recipe is inspired from my mom’s cooking.

My native town is on the banks of Brahmaputra river which is famous not only for its hugeness and history but also for its fresh and tasty fishes. I always feel lucky and proud of that and never miss a chance to praise the taste of the fishes of Brahmaputra river.

Fish Curries are the biggest example of good cooking skills of a Bong. My mom is an exceptional cook and Fish Curries are her biggest forte. I have learnt the recipe of this comfort dish from her. Many delicious recipes are cooked with Pabda fish like Pabda Macher Bhuna, Pabda Macher Jhal, Pabda Macher Aloo-Bori Diye Jhol, Pabda Posto, Pabda Shorshe and many more.


Bengali Fish Curry

West Bengal and Bangladesh are both surrounded by many rivers. They have been a great source of fresh river fishes from ages. The availability of fishes is the key reason behind the popularity of Fish Curries in these regions. This is the secret of huge variation of Fish curries in Bengali cuisine. Our old ancestors have left behind many supreme and simple varieties of fish curry recipe for us. Bengali spices can create magic and make any fish curry taste WOW. Pabda Fish Bhuna is one of the finest examples of this.

Pabda Macher Jhol with step by step photos and instructions have been provided in the ‘Instructions’ section of the recipe. But before jumping into the recipe, let me share few interesting facts about Pabda Fish and the recipe.
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What is Pabda Fish?

Pabda Fish is one of the most popular and delicious fishes in India and Bangladesh. It is a small sized freshwater fish which is very nutritious. The main reason behind its popularity is its unique taste. It is frequently served in Bengali wedding ceremonies.


How to clean Pabda Fish?

  • The basic and important part before cooking Pabda Fish is to cut and clean the tummy of each of the fishes properly, otherwise the fishes will stink.
  • There is a pair of moustaches on their mouth. Cut those with the help of knife or scissor.
  • Pabda fish does not need to scaled and that’s the best part during cleaning.


How to perfectly cook Pabda Fish?

  • Wash the fishes gently and marinate them with Salt and Turmeric powder for at least ten minutes.
  • Always use Mustard oil for cooking these fishes. It will give you best result.
  • Fry the fishes moderately before adding into the gravy.


How to make Pabda Macher Jhol?

For the fish curry recipe, I have used potatoes which is the second hero of the dish. For any Bong, Macher Patla Jhol is incomplete without potatoes. I have used tomatoes too into the curry. It enhances the taste of the dish. I have used ginger paste and it really goes well with the recipe.

In this Pabda Fish Curry, I have used whole green chillies which gives nice flavour and light spicy kick to the gravy. I always prepare less spicy fish curry for my daughter. So, I have not used chilli powder or chilli paste for the recipe. But if you prefer spicy hot taste then you can use these accordingly.

I have only used cumin powder, coriander powder and chopped cilantros to flavour up the dish. I have used nigella seeds for the tempering of the dish. It gives a soothing flavour to the fish curry.

When the masala is done, I have added water into it and cooked the fish into the gravy.

Many Bengali recipe have already been shared in my previous posts. You can check few of them like


..And Many more…
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Ingredients:

To marinate the fish
  • 6 small Pabda fishes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)

Other ingredients for the Gravy
  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges
  • 1 large Tomato, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Paste
  • 2-3 green Chillies
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Nigella seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhania)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon Cumin powder (Jeera)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 to 1¼ cups of Water (Quantity may vary according to your desire consistency)
  • Mustard oil for cooking



Instructions:
  1. Marinate the fishes with Salt, Turmeric powder and keep them aside for 10 minutes.

  2. Add Mustard oil into the pan and wait until the oil is hot.
  3. Put the flame in low and add the marinated fishes into the pan.
  4. Fry them from both sides for 1-2 minutes in medium flame.
  5. Once the bottom side is done, turn the fishes very gently and fry another side.
  6. Once they are done keep them aside on a plate.

    Tip: Don’t overcook the fishes, otherwise they will become chewy. During the time of frying, turn the fish carefully because they are very delicate.
  7. In the same pan, if required, add some more oil and wait until the oil becomes hot.
  8. Add Nigella seeds and let them crackle.
  9. Add Potatoes and give a nice mix.
  10. Cook them in medium flame for 2 minutes.
  11. Add green Chillies and give a stir.
  12. Put the flame in low and add ginger paste into the pan.
  13. Cook them until the raw smell goes away. Stir in between.
  14. Add Tomatoes and give a nice mix.
  15. Cover the pan and cook it in medium flame for couple of minutes. Stir in between if required.
  16. Add Salt, Turmeric powder and give a nice mix.
  17. Add Cumin powder, Coriander powder and give a nice mix.
  18. Cook them in low flame for another minute.
  19. Add water and cover the pan.
  20. Put the flame in high and cook until the gravy simmers.
  21. Put the flame in low and add the fishes (Step 6).
  22. Sprinkle the chopped Cilantros into the pan.
  23. Cover the pan and cook the fishes for 2-3 minutes.
  24. Flip the fishes very gently and cook for another minute.
  25. Switch off the flame.


Serving Instruction
Transfer the Pabda Macher Jhol into a serving bowl or on a serving plate. Serve hot or warm for the best taste. Pair up the dish with steamed Basmati rice and enjoy the authenticity of Bengal.

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