Pabda Macher Jhal
The popularity of fish in Bengali has given rise to many types of fish recipes over the years. Apparently, a fish called Ilish can be cooked using 108 distinct techniques in Bengali cuisine itself! But the most common mistake that a rookie or a non-Bengali person makes is confusing two very similar sounding Bengali words-Jhol and Jhal. The words might just differ by a vowel, but the cooking techniques are quite different. Jhal is usually the spicier version with a thick sauce, while jhol is mildly spicy with a thin soup-like consistency. Jhol has a spicy tomato or ginger based gravy, whereas jhal gravy is always based on a mustard paste with green chillies. Another interesting fact about jhal is that mostly fish having strong smell are cooked using this technique, as the sharp flavour of mustard overpowers the bad odour. Pabda Macher Jhal is a dish consisting of Pabda fish in mustard (sarson) gravy and spiced with green chillies (hari mirch). It should be kept in mind that the mustard paste is prepared beforehand to tone down its pungent flavour. The game-changer in this recipe is onion seeds (kaloungi). These aromatic black seeds taste like a combination of black pepper, onions and oregano. It has a pungent bitter taste with a hint of spice in it. Pabda Macher Jhal should be served with boiled rice. It will surely leave your taste buds in frenzy.
How to make Pabda Macher Jhal
|Pabda fish||7-8 pieces|
|Turmeric (Haldi) powder||½ tea spoon|
|Coriander Seeds (dhaniya)||½cup|
|Mustard oil (sarso ka tel)||¼ cup|
|Green chillies (hari mirch)||4|
|Onion seeds (kaloungi)||½ tea spoon|
|Green chillies (hari mirch) slit||2|
- 1. Make a paste of mustard seeds and green chillies and leave it for one hour before use. (Immediate use of mustard gives a bitter taste to the gravy).
- 2. Clean the fish and pat it dry. Marinate with salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes.
- 3. Heat 3-4 table spoons of oil in a pan, shallow-fry the fish and keep aside.
- 4. Pour 2 table spoon of oil in a pan, add onion seeds and put the ground paste of mustard along with slit green chillies.
- 5. Immediately add little (1/4 cup) water and once water gets dry add turmeric powder and cook it till oil gets separated. (Pouring of water to mustard paste at this stage really gives an excellent taste to the gravy.)
- 6. Now, Pour 1 cup of hot water slit green chillies and salt and prepare the gravy.
- 7. When the gravy boils, put the fishes in it and keep it in low flame.
- 8. When the fish is done garnish it with coriander leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.
- 9. Serve hot with steamed rice.