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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pabda Macher Jhaal (Bengali Fish Curry)

IMG_9329I got some frozen pabda at a local Bangaldeshi store. The packaging could easily give the Egyptian mummy makers a run for their money. However, the fish tasted fine.

This recipe is not specifically for pabda fish, you can use various kinds of sweet water fishes with it. This is the staple curry which Bengalis make with Pabda, Rohu, Katla, Telapia,Kajri, etc… The curry is not too rich and brings out the flavor of the fish and imparts a fine taste of mustard to it.


  1. 4 pieces of pabda maach cleaned
  2. 2 tbsp. of black mustard seeds
  3. 4,5 green chilies
  4. 1 tsp. of kalonji (nigella seeds)
  5. 1 medium tomato coarsely chopped
  6. 2 tbsp. of plain curd
  7. 1 tbsp. of turmeric powder
  8. 1 tsp. of red chili powder
  9. A handful of cilantro / coriander leaves
  10. Mustard oil
  11. Salt
  12. Sugar


Wash the fishes and pat them dry. Smear them with salt and half of the turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a kadai (wok) till it smokes and then lower the heat. Fry the fishes till both the sides take a golden brown hue. As these fishes are very soft, you need to be very careful while frying them so that they don't break. Remove fried fishes from the oil and keep aside.

Make a fine paste of mustard seeds with 1,2 green chilies.

In a bowl mix rest of the turmeric powder with mustard paste and keep it handy.

Take fresh oil in a pan and heat it. Temper with nigella seeds and green chilies. Once they stop spluttering add mustard paste and sauté on low heat for about a minute.

Add chopped tomatoes and fry them till they become mushy. Add chili powder to it. Now turn off the heat and add curd (yoghurt) to the spice mixture. Mix it well with the masala and turn the heat on. Season it with salt and little sugar. Add about half cup of water and give a nice stir. Wait for the water to come to a rolling boil. Now gently add fishes to it and let it simmer for 2,3 mins till the gravy is thick. Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice.


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