Katla macher jhol recipe – a light bengali fish curry

Katla macher jhol recipe – Katla macher jhol is a light Bengali fish curry, you can make it in your kitchen with catla or rohu fish. Macher jhol is a simple, light and healthy traditional Bengali fish curry prepared with fried fish, vegetables, mustard oil & few spices. This Jhinge(ridge gourd in English), aloo, data(drumsticks in English), dhone ada jeera(ginger-cumin-coriander paste) bata diye macher patla jhol is an authentic fish preparation of our Bengali cuisine. This light & healthy non-spicy fish curry is soothing for our stomach so ideal for our regular Bengali diet and piping hot rice or gorom Bhat is best to serve with this dish. 

Except for jeera coriander paste, tomato and coriander leaves are also used for making light Bengali fish curry, which enhances the taste and flavour of this recipe. Whereas the tanginess of tomato balances the taste and flavour of spices, on other hand coriander leaves(dhone pata) add an extra flavour to this fish curry. 

ingredients of katla macher patla jhol recipe - katla macher piece, aloo, jhinge, data, tomato, dhone pata in this picture

A very popular Bengali proverb is common in our community, “Mach e Bhat e Bangali”. This means Bengalis can not live without fish and rice. That is why wherever we go outside Bengal, we always search for freshwater fish for making our Bengali style fish curry recipe. As Rui (Rohu fish) and Katla are most commonly available in all Indian fish markets, so you can make this recipe sitting in any Indian state. Bengali can easily make this stomach-soothing light fish curry (patla macher jhol) and enjoy it. 

Instead of Catla fish, any Bengali freshwater fish like rui, tilapia, chara pona, bata can be used in making this machher jhol, because, the cooking procedure for all these fish curry recipes is the same. Even instead of aloo, jhinge or data, any other sabji can be used to make this dish. Though live fish/jyanto pona mach is ideal for making patla macher jhol recipes actually make the tastes best. However, getting live fish is next to impossible outside West Bengal, so try making this jhol with fresh Rui, Katla, or tilapia, which only can give you the comparatively best taste. 

If you want to have a healthy and tasty light Bengali fish curry for your regular diet. Then try this macher jhol with any sobji and rui, katla, chara pona, bata or tilapia any fish of your choice. My step-by-step recipe will help you to make it easier. 

You may check my other macher jhol recipes-

Aloo Bori Phulkopi diye Macher jhol

Spicy Shol macher jhol

Kalo Jeere Kacha Lanka Bata Diye Ilish Macher Jhol

Other Bengali fish curry recipes –

Katla Macher Kalia recipe

Biye bari style doi Maach (fish cooked with curd/yogurt)

Pomfret macher jhal (with sorse posto onion)

Pabda macher sorse jhal (cooked with mustrad sauce gravy)

Bhetki (vetki) Macher Paturi

Chingri Macher Malai curry

Tel koi recipe

Chital Macher peti kalia

Katla macher jhol recipe – a light Bengali fish curry

Katla macher jhol is a simple, light and healthy fish curry recipe of our Bengali cuisine made with katla mach, Jhinge, aloo, data, ada-jeera-dhone bata.

Ingredients of Bengali macher jhol

For frying fish

  • 5 pieces of Katla/Rohu fish
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 8-10 mustard oil

For making masala paste

  • 3/4 inch ginger(ada)
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 green chillies(kancha lanka)

For phoron

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 2 bay leaves

For making macher jhol

  • Fried Fish (Katla/Rui)
  • 2 Potatoes(Aloo)
  • 2 medium Jhinge (Ridge gourd)
  • 2-3 Data (Drumsticks)
  • Masala paste(Ada+tomato+kacha lonka)
  • 1 tsp Jeera(Cumin powder)
  • 1 tsp Dhania(Coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder(optional)
  • 3/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 8 tbsp Mustard oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • a handful of chopped coriander(dhone pata)

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Total time: 35 mins

Servings for: 5 people

Course: Main course

Cuisine: Bengali

Author: Moumita Paul

How to make Katla macher jhol recipe

step by step instructions with pics

For frying fish

  • Clean and wash the fish(katla/rui/tilapia/chara pona/bata) thoroughly, and drain it well.
  • Smear the fish with salt and turmeric powder. Keep it aside.
  • Heat a pan, and add mustard oil, when oil releases smoke, add the fish to the pan. 
  • Fry the fish till one side gets golden brown in colour, then flip it off and fry the fish from another side.
  • When the fish is perfectly fried, remove it from the pan. Keep it aside for later.
frying katla mach in mustard oil step by step with pics frying katla mach in mustard oil step by step with pics

For cooking vegetables

  • Take, jhinge(ridge gourd), aloo(potato), and data(drumsticks) wash and drain them, and then peel them off.
  • Cut the aloo into 8 pieces, wash it again and soak it in water.
  • The length of jhinge and data must be the same as the length of your finger.
  • Now take a pressure cooker, add all the vegetables into the cooker with 1 & 1/2 cup of water, and place it on high heat.
  • Cook it till one whistle blows. Let it completely cool down.
taking aloo, jhinge, data in a pressure cooker with water to boil the vegetables for adding in macher jhol

Making Macher jholer masala

  • Take 3/4 inch ginger or ada, 2 green chillies(as per taste), and 1 medium size tomato.
  • Grind it well by adding little water for making a smooth paste.
ada-tomato-kancha lanka bata diye banano patla macher jholer masala

How to make macher jhol

As it is healthy fish curry, so we don’t use much oil in making its gravy. We will take out the excess oil. 

  • Take 2-3 tbsp of oil, then put 1/2 a tsp of jerra(cumin seeds) along with 1-2 bay leaves into the pan.
  • Let the jeera seeds crackle, and add the masala paste to the pan along with the water used to mix up its leftover in the grinder. 
  • Fry the masala paste for a min or till it gets almost dried off.
  • Then add 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 3/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder(optional), and salt(as per taste). Mix it well.
  • Fry all the masalas until their raw smell goes off or the oil starts separating the masalas.
  • But make sure the masala should not stick to the bottom of the pan.
with jeere taj pata phoron frying macher jho er masala in oil along with cumin-coriander-chilli-turmeric powder and salt
  • Then add the boiled vegetables (jhinge, aloo, and data) to the pan direct from the pressure cooker.
  • Then add one more cup of water to the pan as macher jhol needs a patla or light gravy.
  • Let the gravy starts boiling. In the meantime cover the pan.
  • After boiling for a few mins, when the gravy has the right consistency, then add 1/2 tsp of coriander powder(optional) to it.
  • Though coriander powder addition is optional. However, I add it for two reasons. One, coriander is good for health as it keeps our stomach cool and its smell makes a unique aroma and enhances the taste of the macher jhol. 
boiled vegetables aloo, jninge,danta are cooking with macher jholer masala and dhone powder
  • Let the gravy boil for about 30 secs, then add the fried fish to the gravy.
  • Gently dip the fish into the gravy with the help of the spatula. Then cover the pan.
  • It is time to slow cooking till the fish completely soaks the masala-infused gravy and makes it soft and juicy.
  • It will take hardly 10 mins to get ready. For the best result, in between must turn the fish down.
  • Once the fish gets cooked, then add a handful of chopped fresh coriander over the curry. Stir it gently.
  • Cook the gravy for 1 more min, and our light Bengali fish curry macher jhol will be ready, serve it with gorom bhat or piping hot rice.
  • Must have a slice of lemon(preferably gandharaj lebu) to make it like heaven.
Step by step method of cooking katla mach in its patla jhol by adding chopped coriander leaves


  • Even you may make this fish curry with any freshwater fish like rohu, tilapia(jalebi), chara pona(Baby rohu/katla fish) or bata by applying the same cooking method.
  • In this recipe, I’ve used gota jeera(whole cumin seeds) and tej pata(bay leaf) in phoron for good flavor. Though cumin is good for health, however, tej pata just makes the flavor so it is not mandatory.
  • Even instead of jhinge, here, you can use potol or pointed gourd too. 
  • You may also prepare this fish curry in the pan, though that is time-consuming. Then after frying the fish, you have to cook the vegetables with spices and boil them in the masala gravy until soft. Lastly, add the fried fish to the gravy and cook them as I did.
  • Once you make this fish curry, you can keep it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Though you can keep it for more days, however, that taste does not remain good. 

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