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Monday, November 28, 2011

Maccher Matha Diye Bandhakopir Chanchra. (Cabbage with Fish head)

We grew up eating all sorts of Chanchra, Labra, Charchari, Ghonto. At that time all of them seemed to be a mix of various vegetables and sometimes fish. Now I get to understand the subtle nuances and differences between them. For example chanchra is a variant of charchari with the addition of fish oil, fish head or some fish pieces.
Everyone in our family loves cabbage with fish head. I never really thought of blogging about this. It seemed too mundane a dish to publish.
However, my childhood friend came to visit us. We went on a trip to Mt. St. Helens, one of the most active volcanoes in WA. We were all busy gazing at it and the power it unleashed 30 years back. Suddenly I found my friend day dreaming with a blank look. On asking she said, she was thinking about this dish I cooked for her the night before. So I thought maybe this is a recipe worth sharing. Just don’t eat and drive…


  1. 1 fish head preferably of Rohu or Catla cut into two halves
  2. 1 medium cabbage finely chopped
  3. 2 medium potatoes cut into cubes
  4. 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  5. Half cup peas
  6. 1 large onion finely chopped
  7. 1 tbsp ginger paste
  8. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  11. 1tbsp chili powder ( you can increase or decrease the amount depending on your spice level)
  12. 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  13. 1 tsp. whole cumin seed
  14. 2,3 tejpatta/ bay leaf
  15. Salt
  16. Sugar
  17. For Garam Masala
  18. Grind the following ingredients
  19. 2" cinnamon
  20. 3, 4 Green cardamom
  21. 5, 6 Cloves
  22. Mustard oil


IMG_8305Clean and wash the fish head. Rub salt and turmeric powder to it. Keep it for five mins.
In a kadai or wok heat oil till it smokes. Now add the fish head and fry it on a medium heat till all the sides are properly done. Remove from the oil and keep it aside. Discard the oil.
Heat some oil in the pan and temper it with cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the spices pop up add chopped onion and fry till they become brown. Add potato cubes and fried fish head followed by ginger garlic paste and sauté on low heat for a while.
Now add chopped tomato along with coriander, cumin, chili and turmeric powder. Mix well and fry till the oil separates out and the potato and fish head pieces are nicely coated with spices.
IMG_8306Add chopped cabbage to it. Season with salt and sugar. Cook it covered on medium heat till the cabbage becomes soft. You need to stir in between to avoid sticking at bottom. You can add water little by little if required.Add peas to it and mix well.Cook for further one or two minutes.
This dish will be little mushy or in Bengali makha-makha. Once done remove  the pan from heat and sprinkle garam masala powder.  Finish it with a spoon of ghee.


quaditi said...

indeed, i had a day dream, i am still a bit nostalgic about that bandhakopir chanchra.

team ecoSycle said...

Wonderful recipe...and Mmm, that looks so good!

Somtapa Brahmachari said...

@ Neel, Thanks a lot for liking the dish.