I love me some fish any day of the week.Blame it on my Bengali genes. Luckily my husband shares my love for fish. We often joke that we blow off half of our paychecks on eating good, and splurging on it. Fresh water fish from India and Bangladesh is a weakness of ours. We have grown up with the taste of it, and its connected to our food pysche in such a deep way. Fish Curries are an integral part of Bengali cuisine. Most weekday meals in a typical Bengali household, shall have a serving of Machher Jhol. While Kaliyas(richer curry) is famous by its own right, but what is more common on an everyday basis, are the runny curries or Patla Jhol, as we call it.
The most common fish of the Bengalis , and one of my favorites is Katla. Rui(Rohu) is its closest cousin. But ask any Bengali fish lover and if they truly love it, they will tell you why they prefer Katla to Rui. My parents are foodies, and my father always preferred Katla to Rui. The taste of the fish also changes with the size of the fish. My Dad always picked up Katlas of a certain size - 5lb or so. So when I shop for Fish in my local Bangladeshi grocery store, I dont go below that size. The complete opposite case is the choice of fish in my Husband's family. They opt for Rui and in pretty modest sizes. As they say, every family has their own food history.
Such is the iconic status of Maacher Jhol, that recently a Bengali film was made with the same name. Ever since, I came across the first trailers of this film, I knew I wanted to see it. the reason was sheer nostalgia. The film takes you a through a story which touches your heart Not to mention that they showcase Maacher Jhol in such an iconic manner. One of the types of Maacher Jhol, shown in the film, was one with Potol (Pointed Gourd- Parwal).

Its something my Mom always made , when Potol was available. Making fish curries with seasonal vegetable is something very common. Cauliflower, eggplant, pointed gourd are a few common vegetables cooked with fish. My husband found a fresh stash of Potol from the local Indian store and with the Katla. thsi Maacher Jhol was a no brainer. As I was cooking, I had shared a few snippets on my Instagram stories. So many of you wrote back, asking for the recipe, so Sunday's post on the Blog was taken care of.


Ingredients : 
Katla Steaks: 6
Potato: I medium sized one : Cut into thick wedges
Potol : 4 or 5, Cut in halves lengthwise
Mustard Oil
Cumin Seeds(Whole) : 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chili: 1 or 2
Bay Leaves : 2
Ginger paste : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp( for smearing on the fish and veggies + 1 tsp(for curry)
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : to taste
Sugar : 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder : 1 tsp

Smear the fish steaks/pieces, potol and potato pieces, with salt and turmeric powder. Keep aside. Heat Mustard oil in a deep large pan. When the oil is hot, lightly sear the fish pieces. on both sides. 2 minutes per side should be good. Fry the fish pieces in batches so that pan is not crowded.

 After the fish pieces are fried, fry the potol and potatoes in the same oil. Whne you see caramelisation around the edges, remove the veggies.

Now is the time to temper the oil. Add in whole cumin seeds, dried red chillies, dried bay leaves and ginger paste. Cook it till the ginger is not longer raw. Keep stirring.

In a bowl, make a runny mixture of the dry spices with around a cup of water. Mix well, and add it to the pan. Next add the veggies and fish and add another cup of warm water .

Let the curry come to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium and cover and cook for around 10 minutes. This is a runny curry and you should have enough liquid.

If you wanted to cook something else with Potol, you can always try my Potol-er Dorma 
Bon Appetit !

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