Patla machher jhol. A Bengali fish curry recipe with 1/2 a teaspoon of oil

Machher jhol bhaat or fish curry rice

One would have thought that we Bengalis, with our fish heavy diets, would be darlings of cardiologists world over.

Well, evidently not.

The thing is that we always fry our fish. Whether we have them as machh bhaja (fried fish)  or even when we have them in curries. It's very rare that that the fish is not fried first before being put into a Bengali curry.

Katla...a sight that would make any bengali happy

Sometime back I had blogged about how we grill fish in the oven these days to give it a shallow fried feel.

This method came to mind a few days back when I was making a katla carp curry or machher jhol and the brief was to make it non-spicy and with minimal oil. Which is when I thought of using the oven grill idea to cut down on the bulk of the oil.

I used Didu's recipe as the base and the curry barely needed any oil. The oil used would have been while frying and we sidestepped that.

The result was a fish curry where just half a teaspoon of oil was used.

I even used no chillies which made someone of Facebook ask me why I was posting pics of  ' rugir jhol' (curry for the ailing).

Still, the curry did turn out to be tasty and light and combined well with rice. Almost like a light soup or stew with Indian spices.

A dish which weighed light on one's conscience and heart.

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients (for 2):

1. 4, 5 pieces of katla smeared with a bit of salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, a drop of mustard oil
2. 1/2 a teaspoon mustard oil
3. 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin seeds
4. 1/2 a teaspoon fresh ginger paste
5. 1/2 a teaspoon each of turmeric, cumin powders & salt made into a paste with a tablespoon of water. You can add 1/4  teaspoon of red chilli powder if spice is not an issue
6. 1 coffee mug water


  1.  Grill the rui in a pre-heated oven for 10 min at 200 C and set aside
Grilled katla

  1. Heat a pan and put the mustard oil in it
  2. Once the oil begins to smoke add the cumin seeds. You can add a split green chilli if spice is not a problem. Add a bit of ginger paste here. I
  3. Add the spice paste. Stir a bit. (You can add some cubed boiled potatoes, or cauliflowers here to give the curry more body)
  4. Add the water

  1. Once the water comes to a boil, gently add in the fish and lower the flame
  2. Wait for a couple of minutes and then turn the fish over, cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for another two minutes
  3. Your fish curry is done


Sharmila said…
It is my absolute favourite jhol nowadays. Have made it over and over again ... with some parshe the last time. Didu is the best!