How to make Macher matha diye moong dal (Bengali biye bari style dal with fish head)

Macher matha diye moong dal recipe – Bengali biye bari style dal with fish head step by step recipe. Macher matha diye moong dal is a Bengali fish head delicacy prepared using Rui or Katla fish head curried with husked, split, yellow moong dal and a blend of simple spices. This dal is thick and rich in the flavour of ghee and garam masala powder.

In our childhood, macher matha diye moong dal was a common preparation in every Bengali biye barir (wedding) menu. This moong dal was a special dish of every biye bari that was usually served at the beginning of their lunch with jhur jhure aloo bhaja (crispy potato strips) as sides with steamed rice.

For making this dal, we need a large Rui or Katla fish head (here I used medium katla fish head), moong dal (mung lentils), onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, green chilli, cumin powder, red chilli powder, ghee, garam masala powder with salt, sugar and turmeric powder. The ingredients of this fish head dal are also very simple and limited so you can easily make it inside your kitchen cabinet.

To make this Bengali dal, deep fried fish head cooked with dry roasted (frying without oil), boiled moong dal sauteed in a gravy made of onion, ginger, and garlic mixed with other ingredients mentioned in this recipe. This moong dal fish head curry is prepared in almost every Bengali house in West Bengal and Bangladesh especially those who love to eat macher matha diye recipe.

A good quality moong dal or muger dal and a good quality Katla or Rui macher matha (means a freshwater Catla or Rohu fish head) is required for making this Bengali fish head curry recipe. Here I used sona muger dal (a short-grain variety of moong dal available only in Bengali stores in Bangalore & everywhere in Kolkata), you can use any muger dal (which you daily use or even you can use organic moong dal too).

For making this dal with 1 medium-sized macher matha, we need to take 100- 150 g moong dal and if making the recipe with a big size or giant fish head can use 150-200 g moong dal.

Macher matha diye dal is served with rice jhur jhure aloo bhaja and kosha mangsho in frame

For making a good macher matha diye dal few conditions you have to keep in your mind. 

  1. Moong dal must be dry roasted before cooking and then boil until the dal is soft. Do not overcook the dal, as a result, the dal gets mushy and that will spoil the taste of this dish. 
  2. Whether using rui or katla fish head makes no difference in taste. However, coat the Fish head with salt and turmeric powder and nicely fry in oil (preferably in mustard oil) until turn golden brown from all sides.
  3. In Bengali biye bari, white cumin seeds or shahi jeera are used in phoron (called tempering in English or tadka in hindi) for good aroma. However, I use the plain jeera.
  4. Onion, ginger, and garlic are mainly used in this recipe to cut off the smell of fish.
  5. However, those who do not eat onion and garlic can use ginger and green chilli paste along with a little more jeera powder than mine with a pinch of hing( about 1/4 tsp) and a little more ghee with the same amount of garam masala powder will surely remove the fish smell.

Tips to boil moong dal

If you are a beginner or novice in cooking and never cooked moong dal before. So before cook the moong dal (dry roasting and boiling the dal) must check these tips written below.

  • First, Dry roast the moong dal (dry roast means frying without oil), and roast the dal on low heat with continuous stirring. Dry roast the dal until the dal gets slightly golden brown. Do not roast the dal on high heat or medium heat as moong dal easily gets burnt. Due to dry roast raw smell of mung dal will go off.
  • In between, after dry roasting the moong dal, wash the dal 4-5 times before cooking, but do not need to soak the dal (in water).
  • If you are cooking moong dal for the first time, after dry roasting boil the dal in a heavy bottom pan on low heat by covering the pan (as I did) and cook the dal until the dal is soft. Cooking in a pan may take a few more minutes but never get mushy in your supervision and that tastes great too.
  • However, If you want to cook the dal a little faster, pressure cook the dal. Then put the dal (for 150 g moong dal) in the cooker, and use 1 cup of water (250 ml) with this amount of dal. Pressure cook the dal on the high heat of your stove top with 1 whistle to blow. Open the cooker’s lid when the pressure automatically releases.

Want to prepare some more macher matha recipes, then check this list below –

Muri Ghonto recipe (with Katla macher matha)

Chanchra recipe (with Bhetki macher matha)

If want to prepare niramish moong dal recipes, then check the list below

Sabji diye Moong dal recipe (with vegetables)

Lau diye Muger dal recipe

Muger dal er Khichuri

How to make Macher matha diye moong dal (Bengali biye bari style dal with fish head)

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: LunchCuisine: Bengali, BanladeshiDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal
Total time

45

minutes

Macher matha diye moong dal (muger dal) is all about a Bengali biye bari style fish head dal recipe cooked in a simple way with a few simple steps. This dal is eaten with rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Rui or Katla Macher matha/Fish Head

  • 150 g Moong Dal (husked, split, yellow moong lentil)

  • 8 tbsp Mustard Oil

  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera seeds)

  • 1 Whole Bay leaf

  • 1 cup Onion (finely sliced)

  • 2 tsp Garlic paste

  • 1 Ginger paste

  • 1 Tomato (Medium size)

  • 1 Green chilli

  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder (Jeera Powder)

  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Sugar

  • Salt(As per taste)

  • 1 tsp Garam masala powder

  • 1 tbsp Ghee

Instructions

  • Take the dal in a pan, keep the pan on low heat, and dry roast the dal with continuous stirring until the dal gets a slight golden brown colour.
  • Remove the dal from the heat and immediately wash the dal 4-5 times under running water.
  • Drain the water and add 3 -4 cups (US cup) of fresh water with the dal.
  • Cook the dal on medium heat until the dal gets soft. Turn off the heat.
  • Lightly mash the dal (with a masher), remove the dal in a bowl, and keep aside.
  • Thoroughly wash the fish head, drain the water, and marinate the fish head with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder.
  • Heat the pan (the same pan used in dry roasting the dal) on medium to high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot, release the smoke, and add mustard oil to the pan.
  • Again once the oil is hot and releases the smoke, then put the marinated fish head into the hot oil.
  • Fry the fish head until golden brown from all sides. Remove the fish head from the pan.
  • Heat the pan (used for frying fish head), add bay leaves and cumin seeds into the pan, and saute a little.
  • Then add onion in oil, and fry the onion until golden.
  • Add chopped tomato, and stir well. Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix well, and cover the pan.
  • Cook the tomato until gets soft.
  • Add ginger and green chilli paste to the oil.
  • Then add cumin(jeera) powder, red chilli powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, salt, sugar, and turmeric powder.
  • Roast the masala until the masala’s raw smell goes off and the masala leaves oil from the sides.
  • Then add a cup of water, mix it well, and make a gravy, cook the gravy for a minute.
  • Break the fish head into pieces (by hand) before putting them into the pan. Stir it well.
  • Cook the fish head pieces (into the masala gravy) until the gravy gets almost dry.
  • In the meantime, add the dal to the pan. Mix the dal well with the masala and fish head.
  • Add about a half cup of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Once the dal comes to a little thick consistency, add garam masala powder and ghee from the top, and stir it well.
  • Cook the dal for a minute and turn off the heat.
  • Macher matha diye moong dal is ready serve it hot with rice and your favourite side dish. To get Bengali biye bari style taste must serve it with jhur jhure aloo bhaja and enjoy the meal.

Tips

  • 1. Macher matha diye dal must have a thick gravy, a soup-like light gravy-like other dal recipes will spoil the taste of this dal.
  • 2. If accidentally you add more salt to your dal, in this case add a few thin slices of potato (obviously raw potato) and boil the dal until the potato gets soft. Potato easily soaks the excess salt from the dal and the salt level will be adjusted. You can use this method in making any dal or any curry to remove the excess salt to make it can be eaten.
  • 3. Even a tomato can be used to balance the salt of the dal however using more than one tomato can make the dal a bit sour so use it wisely.

How to make Bengali biye bari style macher matha diye moong dal (recipe step by step)

Step 1: Dry roast the moong dal and then boil

  1. Take the dal in a pan, keep the pan on low heat, and with continuous stirring dry roast the dal until the dal gets a slight golden brown colour.
  2. Remove the dal from the heat and immediately wash the dal 4-5 times under running water.
  3. Drain the water and add 3 -4 cups (US cup) of water with the dal.
  4. Cook the dal on medium heat until the dal gets soft. Turn off the heat.
  5. Lightly mash the dal (with a masher), then remove the dal in a bowl, and keep it aside.

Step 2: Fry the fish head

1. Thoroughly, wash the fish head, drain the water, and marinate the fish head with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder.

2. Heat the pan (the same pan used in dry roasting the dal) on medium to high heat.

3. Once the pan is hot enough and releases the smoke, add mustard oil to the pan.

4. Again once the oil is hot and releases the smoke, then put the marinated fish head into the hot oil.

5. Niclely fry the fish head from all sides until gets golden brown. Remove the fish head from the pan.

Step 3: Cooking macher matha diye dal

  1. Heat the pan (the same pan used for frying fish head), add bay leaves and cumin seeds into the pan, and saute a little.
  2. Then add onion in oil, and fry the onion until golden.
  3. Add chopped tomato in oil, and stir well. Add 1/2 tsp salt in it, mix well, and cover the pan.
  4. Cook the tomato until gets soft.
  5. Add ginger and green chilli paste to the oil.
  6. Then add cumin(jeera) powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, salt, sugar, and turmeric powder.
  7. Roast the masala until the masala’s raw smell goes off and the masala leaves oil from the sides.
  8. Then add a cup of water, mix it well, and make a gravy, cook the gravy for a minute.
  9. Break the fish head into pieces (by hand) before putting them into the pan. Stir it well.
  10. Cook the fish head pieces (into the masala gravy) until the gravy gets almost dry.
  11. In the meantime, add the dal to the pan. Mix well with the masala and fish head.
  12. Add about a half cup of water and bring it to a boil. 
  13. Once the dal comes to a thick consistency, add garam masala powder and ghee, and stir it well. 
  14. Cook the dal for a minute and turn off the heat.
  15. Macher matha diye moong dal is ready serve it hot with rice and your favourite side dish.
  16. To get Bengali biye bari style taste must serve it with jhur jhure aloo bhaja and enjoy the meal.

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