It was a bid to give Ilish maach a miss for this month, and pick up something else from the Bangladeshi store. So besides the usual stock of Katla, and Pabda, the Koi Maachh stole my husband's heart during the last grocery trip. Although I had relished Koi Maaach several times, but somehow had never managed to try my hand in cooking it myself. And fish is never hubby's territory, he prefers playing Angry Birds on his Iphone then, and giving the kitchen a total miss.

As usual, when cooking something new, our favorite search engine comes to the rescue. Went through quite a few recipes penned down by fellow bloggers, but the version of TEL KOI  was so differently made by each and every one. The Confusion about KOI, had just started setting in. So I had a talk with my mom, for her take on the Koi Maachh recipe that I have grown up loving. Ma gave me detailed instructions, which I duly noted in my mind.

Its usually a clash of recipes between the Dasgupta and Chatterjee households in  Kolkata, over the same base ingredients. Like,  my momma prepares aloo posto with out any spices, except for salt and kancha lonka(green chillies), and shorsher tel(mustard oil). Its the aroma of Posto which has to shine through, she says, as her mom in law had always stressed to her. And in the Dasgupta household, Posto is a heady concoction of garlic, turmeric, mustard oil, green chillies and even onions. That was quite shocking for me, when I was first served Posto like that. So on hubby's suggestion,  when I asked my mom in law, for her version of Koi Maachh, as usual, it was a very different recipe, which went with the same elusive tagline Tel Koi. Now my confusion was at its super best.

The easiest way was to give  Tel Koi a miss, and come up with a somewhat middle path, or my take on the koi maaachh. My hubby is not much a kancha lonka fan, as he gets hiccups if any dish has a heady dose of the green peppers. So the dish had to be mild yet have that kancha lonka flavour which I love so much. So Koi Maaachh and my spin started off in the kitchen on Monday afternoon, clearing away the 'koi maachh overload,' in my mind. This might raise a few eyebrows on the way it was cooked, but as I had warned earlier, its just my take on a mild fish curry. I just called it KOI MACCHER JHAAL. And it did pass the taste test from the Iron chef at Home. I can safely add now, that I was a bit sceptical.


Koi Maachh: 250 gm
Potato: 1, cut into longish slices
Onion paste: 3 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1tbsp
Mustard paste: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Green Chillies: 2-3, slit lengthwise
Mustard oil
Kalonji/ Kalo jeera: a pinch
Red Chilli powder: 1/2- 1tsp: according to heat preferences

Coat the cleaned koi maachh with salt and turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the fishes lightly. Keep aside. 

Coat the potatoes with salt and turmeric powder, and fry them in the same oil.Keep aside.

In the same oil, add the slit green chillies and the kalo jeere. Let them crackle.

Add the onion-garlic paste, and fry for around 5 minutes.

Add the mustard paste and the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and sugar. Mix well. Cook the masala till the oil leaves the sides of the wok, or till you feel the masala has been cooked.

Add the potatoes, and add some water and salt to taste, and cover and cook till the potatoes are almost done in the gravy.

Add the fried fish gently into the gravy and cook for another 10 minutes. Cook the fish, but ensure that they are not overcooked, as it can start breaking away. Do a taste test and turn off the heat, and add a  dash of raw mustard oil, to the gravy.

The gravy should be a thick gravy, so reduce it, if you have had added a lot of water. This gravy can be garnished with slit green chillies.

I had served Koi Maacher Jhaal with steamed rice. Nothing like gorom bhaat- machher jhaaal.

Bon Appetit !!!


  1. hi..First time here and must say u hav a lovely blog...Happy To Follow u....Njoy Cooking and Happy Blogging.....

  2. Excellent read, I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that.