Katla macher jhol recipe – a light bengali fish curry

Katla macher jhol recipe – Let’s see how to make this light Bengali fish curry in the kitchen. Macher jhol is one of the simple, light and healthy Bengali fish curry recipes prepared with vegetables & little spices. This Jhinge, aloo, danta, ada-jeere-dhone bata die patla macher jhol is an authentic fish preparation of our Bengali cuisine. Means a very light & healthy non-spicy Bengali fish curry made with Katla fish, potato, ridge gourd, drumsticks and simple spices like ginger-cumin-coriander paste. This 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 recipe. 

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

A very popular Bengali proverb is common in our community, “Mach e Bhat e Bangali”. 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 fish curry recipe. As Rui or Rohu and Katla are most commonly available in all Indian fish markets, so sitting in any Indian state, we Bengali can easily make this stomach-soothing light fish curry macher jhol and enjoy. 

Instead of Katla mach, any Bengali freshwater fish like Rui(rohu fish), tilapia can be used in making this macher jhol, however, the cooking procedure of this fish curry will be the same. Even instead of aloo, jhinge or danta, any other vegetables can be used making this recipe as per your choice. Though live fish/jyanto mach is ideal for making patla macher jhol(light fish curry) recipes actually make the tastes best. However, getting live fish is next to impossible outside West Bengal, so try for the 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 must try this macher jhol and my step by step recipe will help you to make it easier. 

You may check my other macher jhol recipes- Shol macher jhal jhol, Kalo Jeere Kancha Lanka Bata Diye Ilish Macher Jhol.

Other Bengali fish curry recipes – Sorshe Ilish, Bhapa Ilish, Doi Ilish, Bhetki Macher Paturi, Chingri Bhapa, Chingri Macher Malai curry, Daab Chingri and many more.

Katla macher jhol recipe – a light Bengali fish curry

Katla macher jhol – a simple light and healthy fish curry recipe of our Bengali cuisine made with Jhinge, aloo, danta, ada-jeere-dhone bata.


For frying fish

  • 5 pieces of Katla/Rui mach
  • 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
  • 2 potatoes(aloo)
  • 2 medium ridge gourd(jhinge)
  • 2-3 drumsticks(danta or data)
  • masala paste
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dhania or 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) 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

For making vegetables

  • Take, jhinge(ridge gourd), aloo(potato) and danta(drumsticks), wash and drain it, then peel it off. Cut all the vegetables lengthwise. The length of jhinge and data must be the same as the length of your finger. Cut the aloo into 8 pieces, wash it again and soak it in water.
  • 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. Make it till one whistle blows. Let it completely cool down.
taking aloo, jhinge, danta in a pressure cooker with water to boil the vegetables for adding in macher jhol

Making masala paste

  • Take 3/4 inch ginger or ada, 2 green chillies(as per taste), 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 jhol er 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 seeds crackle, add the masala paste to the pan along with the water used to mix up with its leftover in the grinder. 
  • Fry the masalas for a min or till it gets almost dries off, then add 1 tsp cumin powder, 1tsp 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 oil starts separating the masalas and 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 danta) 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 few mins, when gravy has the right consistency, then add 1/2 tsp of coriander powder(optional) to it. Though it is optional, however, I add it for two reasons. One, the coriander is good for health as it keeps our stomach cool and its smell makes a unique aroma and enhances the taste of this macher jhol. 
boiled vegetables aloo, jninge,danta are cooking with macher jhol er  masala and dhone powder
  • Let the gravy boil for about 30 secs, then add the fried fish into the gravy. Gently dip the fish into the gravy with the help of the spatula. Then again cover the pan. It is time to slow cooking till the fish completely soak the masala infused gravy and make it soft and juicy. It will take hardly 10 mins to get ready. For the best result, in between must turn the fishes down.
  • Once the fish gets cooked, then add a handful of chopped coriander over the curry. Stir it gently. Cook the gravy for 1 more min, and our light Bengali fish curry macher jhol is 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 rui/rohu or other freshwater fish too 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 flavour. Though cumin is good for health, however, tej pata just makes the flavour so it is not mandatory.
  • You can make this fish curry with any other vegetables too, as per choice. Even instead of jhinge, here, you may use potol or pointed gourd too. 
  • You may also prepare this fish curry in the pan, though it is time-consuming. Then you may first fry the fish, then cook the vegetables with spices and boil in its gravy until soft, lastly add the fried fish into the gravy and cook 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 tastes not good. 

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