Chanchra recipe – Bengali Biye bari style macher matha diye pui saag chorchori

Today I am going to share Bengali Biye bari style Chanchra recipe in my blog post which I made last week. Chanchra is a finger-licking mushy curry cooked with fish head, fish fat (including fish guts), pui saag and a few assorted veggies. It is a hugely popular traditional dish on Bengali biyebarir menu. Bengali biye barir lunch without chanchra tarkari, is just unbelievable. Though nowadays due to biyebari’r sophisticated food menu chachra is about to lose its identity. 

Bengali biye bari style Macher matha diye Chanchra from the pan

This supercilious exotic curry is nowhere similar to our regular cooked home-style macher matha diye pui shak er chorchori. A generous amount of pungent mustard oil & garam masalas combined flavour developed the aroma and taste makes a clear difference. Generally, Kumro, begun, aloo and mulo are commonly used in making this curry along with pui saag (leaves & stem both). However, a few seasonal vegetables like bandhakopi, seem, jhinge can be added as well to make it mushier and enhance the taste as well.

Pui shaak, vegetables and macher matha for making chanchra

A bhetki fish head, fish fat (oil) and a few leftover fish bones (after separating its fillets) was in my freezer for a few days. Kumro, begun and obviously, alu was at home and a pui shak plant was grown well in my balcony garden. So instead of making simple Kanta chorchori think of making chyanchra. So bought the rest of the vegetables from the local market. 

Generally for making this recipe, I use Rui or Katla macher matha and macher tel which is originally used in biye bari too. However, for the first time used bhetki macher matha, kanta and tel. It tastes awesome too, even in taste no difference found from the original version. 

In Bengali biye bari, chanchra mainly serves with dal (mainly macher matha diye muger dal) and piping hot rice. However, I love to have this chorchori with plain rice too.

So let’s see how to make chanchra at home with ease.

Want to cook another macher matha recipeMuri Ghonto. A recipe prepared by macher matha, gobindo bhog rice & potatoes, flavoured with ghee & garam masala.

Chanchra recipe – Bengali Biye bari style macher matha diye pui saag chorchori

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Side dishCuisine: Bengali, BangladeshiDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Chanchra is a finger-licking mushy curry cooked with fish head, fish fat (including fish guts), pui saag and a few assorted veggies. It is a hugely popular traditional dish on the Bengali biyebarir menu. Serves with piping hot rice.


  • 450 g Bhetki Fish head with Bones and Fish fat

  • 300 g Pui shaak (Malabar Spinach in English)

  • 250 g Pumpkin

  • 200 g Brinjal

  • 125 g Ridge Gourd (Jhinge)

  • 200 g Cabbage

  • 100 g Potato

  • 100 g Raddish (Mulo)

  • 150 g Flat Bean (Sim)

  • 2 Medium Onion

  • 12 -14 Medium Garlic cloves

  • 3/4 inch Ginger

  • 2-3 Green Chillies

  • 1 Medium Tomato

  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder

  • 2½ tsp Cumin Powder

  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder

  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder

  • 1½ tsp Paanch Phoron (Bengali Five spice)

  • 3 Whole Red Chillies

  • 5-6 tbsp Sugar

  • 1½ tsp Salt (As per taste)

  • 3 tbsp + 9 tbsp Mustard Oil

How to make chanchra

  • Clean and wash fish head (Bhetki / Katla / Rui fish head), and fish fat including guts and fish bones. Smear with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Heat a pan, and fry the fish head and fish bones (if any) in 6 tbsp of mustard oil until golden from both sides. Remove it from the pan.
  • Add the fish fat including guts (if you eat) in the same oil, cover the pan and fry it until golden from all sides.
  • Thoroughly wash, peel and cut the veggies into medium size cubes and lengthwise cut the pui shak stem as per your finger size. Add pui leaves too by removing the stem.
  • Heat a pressure cooker on medium flame, add 3 tbsp oil, make the oil hot and release smoke.
  • Add 3 whole red chillies and 1½ tsp paanch phoron in oil for tempering.
  • Once the spices release aroma, add all the veggies one by one, saute well, and lastly add the pui shak in the cooker.
  • Then add 4 tbsp of oil from the pan used for frying fish head and fish oil. Mix it well with the veggies. Then add 1/2 tsp salt, and mix it well too.
  • Close the pressure cooker lid and wait for 1 whistle to be blown on medium heat. After a whistle, immediately turn off the heat and let automatically release its pressure.
  • In the meantime, make a paste of tomato, ginger, garlic and green chillies. 
  • Then take the same pan used to fry fish head and oil, and fry the onion (finely sliced) until soft & golden.
  • Add the masala paste to the pan, and stir it well. Then add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar, salt and garam masala powder. Mix it well. Saute the masala until released oil from the sides.
  • Then add the fried fish head and fish fat to the pan, and mix it well with the masala. After roasting well for 5 mins add water to the pan.
  • Let the gravy boil for 8- 10 mins (to absorb the spices into fish head), then add the boiled veggies from the cooker. Mix it well and cover the pan.
  • Cooking it on slow flame for 15 mins. After then, raise the heat to high and cook it until dry off the gravy & a mushy curry.
  • Bengali Biye Bari Style Chanchra is ready, turn off the heat. Enjoy your lunch with this chorchori and groom bhat.


  • For the best result, try to use matured pui shak stem (danta) for making this chorchori. The soft stems get mushy due to pressure cooking. 
  • Here I have used lots of vegetables as per my choice, you can use vegetables in less quantity too.
  • Must add pui leaves too, which will easily make this curry mushy.
  • Originally Hilsa fish head is not used in chachra so I did not mention it in this recipe. However, you can use that too.

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