Pabda macher shorshe jhal – a bengali mustard fish curry recipe

Pabda macher shorshe jhal is a bengali style spicy mustard fish curry recipe prepared by Indian butter cat-fish pabda mach cooked in a mustard paste gravy. Pabda macher jhal is made of fried pabda fish cooked in pungent mustard oiland spicymustard paste gravycontaining nigella seeds, tomato, green chilli, and fresh coriander. This bengali fish curry is also popular as shorshe pabda or shorshe bata diye pabda macher jhal. Like other bengali fish curry recipes, this mustard fish curry “pabda macher jhal” is best accompanied with piping hot rice(gorom bhat), mostly with piping hot steamed rice and gondhoraj lemon.

pabda fish in bengali style mustard fish curry, pabda macher shorshe jhal is served with piping hot rice

Pabda macher shorshe jhal is a traditional way of making any bengali style mustard fish curry recipe. As shorshe bata diye macher jhal is a very common spicy mustard fish curry of our bengali cuisine. Even you can make this fish curry with any other bengali fish by replacing pabda. Except pabda, any freshwater fish like parshe, hilsha, bata, tangra, even small fish like puti, mourola are common bengali fish cooked in this mustard paste gravy.The pungent smell and taste of mustard go perfect with these bengali fish and make finger-licking fish curries. More interestingly, no onion or garlic is used for making such recipes, however, tastes great.

However, in traditional bengali fish curry recipe cooked with mustard paste used no tomato. But I make this mustard fish curry quite differently, with a slight tangy twist of tomato. Along with perfectly balancing the pungency of mustard and the spiciness of green chilies, tomato makes its taste double. Even lastly fresh coriander garnishing makes it aromatic by enhancing the taste of this gravy. 

However, except for this shorshe bata recipe, pabda mach has several spicy variations. Some of these recipes are prepared with common onion-ginger-garlic- tomato-based gravy or cooked with onion-tomato-poppy seeds paste(posto bata) as I made Pomfret Macher Jhal. Even a simple tel jhal recipe also tastes delicious if cooked with pabda fish.

Like other bengali fish curries, rice is the best accompaniment of this fish curry too. To get the perfect taste of this fish curry, must have it with piping hot rice and a wedge of Gondhoraj lebu. Gondhoraj lebu(an aromatic lime popular in Bengalis) goes best with any bengali macher recipe especially prepared with mustard paste.

If you are searching for a Bengali style mustard fish curry then you may try this recipe, with any other freshwater fish too. Such as with parshe, hilsha, bata, tangra, even with puti, mourola like small fish too. Just follow my step-by-step recipe and you are in. So try it in your kitchen and let me know your valuable feedback about this recipe in the comment section below.

You can check some of my other bengali fish curry recipes cooked in mustard paste, i.e, Bhapa Ilish/Steamed hilsa, Doi Ilish, Sorshe Ilish, Ilish Macher Paturi, Chital Macher Peti Kalia, Bhetki Macher Paturi & Chingri Bhapa.

Pabda macher shorshe jhal – a bengali mustard fish curry recipe

Pabda macher shorshe jhal – a bengali mustard fish curry recipe

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Main course/ LunchCuisine: Bengali/ IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

353

kcal

Pabda macher shorshe jhal recipe – it is a bengali style spicy pabda fish curry cooked in shorshe bata or a pungent mustard paste gravy. This recipe is also known as shorshe pabda or shorshe bata diye pabda macher jhal (in bengali). Best accompanied with piping hot rice(gorom bhat).

Ingredients

For smearing & frying the fish

  • 350 gms pabda fish/indian butter catfish

  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp mustard oil

  • 5-6 tbsp of mustard oil(for frying fish)

  • For making mustard paste masala
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds

  • 3 green chillies

  • 1 tomato(medium size)

  • 1/4 salt

  • For making fish gravy
  • 2-3 tbsp of mustard oil(for frying fish)

  • 1/4 tsp kalojeera/kalojeere/nigella seeds

  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/4 tsp spicy red chilli powder(not mandatory)

  • 2 green chillies(slit)

  • salt(as required to taste)

  • 2 cups of water

  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves

How to Make Pabda macher shorshe Jhal- A bengali Mustard fish curry recipe

  • How to fry the fish
  • First, clean the stomach of the fish, wash it thoroughly and drain it well.
  • Smear the fish with 3/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and a tsp of mustard oil. Keep it aside.
  • Heat a pan, add 5-6 tbsp oil(preferably mustard oil) in it, once oil gets hot, add the fish into the oil, fry the fish until golden from both sides. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it aside. Turn off the heat. 
  • How to make mustard paste
  • Soak the mustard seeds in water for 10 mins.
  • Then strain the seeds and put them in a grinder jar with a medium-size tomato, 3 green chillies, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 2tsp of water. Ground it to make a smooth paste.
  • Add half a cup of water with mustard paste and strain it to separate the mustard seeds’ skin. Keep it aside.
  • How to make this fish curry
  • Take the same pan used for frying fish. Too much oil is not used in making mustard fish curry. So keeping 2-3 tbsp of oil, remove the excess oil from the pan.
  • Heat the pan, add 1/4 tsp kalojeera(black cumin or nigella seeds) to the hot oil. Let it splutter.
  • Then add the mustard paste to the pan, stir it well. Bring it to boil, then add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 green chillies(slit) one by one. Stir it well.
  • Cook it until the gravy gets thick as shown in the pic below. Then add 1 1/2 cup of water, let the gravy starts boiling. In between add a little salt to this gravy(if required).
  • When the gravy fully starts boiling, then add the fried fish to the gravy and close the lid of the pan. Cook the fish in gravy for 5-6 mins.
  • Then remove the lid and gently turn over the fish. Then again close the lid and cook the other side of the fish for more 5-6 mins.
  • Just after, 5-6 mins, remove the lid of the pan and sprinkle a handful of fresh coriander over the gravy. Again, close the lid and cook it for 1 min to let the fish absorb the aroma of fresh coriander. After 1 min of cooking, remove the lid and gently turn over the fish and cook it for another 1 min. Then turn off the heat. 
  • Our Bengali style mustard fish curry, Pabda macher shorse bata diye jhal aka shorshe pabda is ready, serve it with gorom bhat(piping hot rice) and enjoy your meal.

Notes

  • For making this fish curry delicious, must select a comparatively small to medium pabda mach.
  • Any freshwater fish does not taste great if kept in a freezer for a long time. So try to use comparatively fresh fish as only fresh fish can make the best fish curry recipe.
  • Pabda is a very soft fish so while cooking gently turn it over otherwise fish may get broken.
  • Pabda has no scales on its body and no scale fish has a tendency to splutter very hard while frying in oil. Any scaleless fish(like pabda, tangra, pomfret, boal) should smear with oil before putting in hot oil. That will reduce its spluttering tendency as well as reduce the chance of burning your skin.
  • Though for making this recipe, you may use any cooking oil. However to get authentic bengali flavour must use mustard oil or shorsher tel.
  • Must use salt while making the mustard paste, otherwise, the paste may get bitter in taste and spoil the dish.

How to make pabda macher shorse jhal step by step

How to fry the fish

  • Take the fish, clean the stomach of the fish, wash it thoroughly and drain it well.
  • Smear the fish with 3/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp salt and a tsp of mustard oil(reason described above). Keep it aside.
pabda mach is smeared with turmeric, salt and shorsher tel, actually prepared for frying
  • Heat a pan, add 5-6 tbsp of oil(preferably mustard oil) in it. Once oil gets hot, add the fish in oil, fry the fish until golden from both sides. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it aside. Turn off the heat.
fried pabda fish in shorsher tel

How to make mustard paste

  • Soak the mustard seeds in water for 10 mins. Then strain the seeds and put it in a grinder with a medium size tomato, 3 green chillies, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 2 tsp water. Ground it to make a smooth paste.
making of mustard paste
  • Add half cup of water to the mustard paste to strain it to separate the mustard seeds’ skin from the paste. Keep it aside.
  • Here I strain the mustard paste, just because two reasons. After a smooth blending, mustard seeds’ skin still exist in the paste and it is believed to be a cause of acidity. If you don’t have any problem with these reasons. Though then you may skip the straining step, that is not mandatory.
straining the mustard paste

Cooking pabda fish in mustard paste gravy

  • Take the same pan used for frying fish. Too much oil is not used in making mustard fish curry. So keeping 2-3 tbsp of oil, remove the excess oil from the pan.
  • Heat the pan, add 1/4 tsp kalojeera(black cumin or nigella seeds) to the hot oil. Let it splutter.
  • Then add the mustard paste to the pan, stir it well. Bring it to boil. Then add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp red chilli powder(not mandatory if don’t make it spicy), 1/4 tsp salt and 2 green chillies(slit) one by one. Stir it well.
making mustard paste gravy in mach bhaja'r tel(oil used for frying fish)
  • Cook it until the gravy gets thick as shown in the pic below. Then add 1 1/2 cup of water, let the gravy starts boiling. In between add a little salt to this gravy if required.
  • When the gravy fully strats boiling, then add the fried fish to the gravy.
spicy mustard paste gravy is ready to cook fish in it
  • Close the lid of the pan. Cook the fish in gravy for 5-6 mins. Then remove the lid and gently turn over the fish. Then again close the lid and cook the other side of the fish for another 5-6 mins.
cooking pabda fish curry in mustard paste
  • Just after, 5-6 mins, remove the lid of the pan and sprinkle a handful of fresh coriander over the gravy. Again, close the lid and cook it for 1 min to let the fish absorb the aroma of fresh coriander. After 1 min of cooking, remove the lid and gently turn over the fish. Then cook it for another 1 min and turn off the heat. 
  • Our Bengali style mustard fish curry, Pabda macher shorse bata diye jhal aka shorshe pabda is ready, serve it with gorom bhat(piping hot rice) and enjoy your meal.
pabda macher shorshe bata jhal is ready to serve

Tips

  • If you kept the fish in the fridge. Then don’t immediately fry the fish just after taking it out from the fridge. First, bring the fish to room temperature and then fry it.
  • Don’t fry the fish for a long time, that can make it hard. Then fish can not perfectly soak the gravy and not taste good.
  • You can use the excess oil in making any other fish curry. Though I simply have it with piping hot rice. Macher tel and gorom bhat, just awesome.

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