Pomfret macher jhal | Pomfret fish curry | Bengali pomfret recipe

Pomfret macher jhal – Pomfret macher jhal is a spicy pomfret fish curry recipe in Bengal style. Macher jhal is a common phrase used to indicate a recipe for spicy Bengali fish curry

In this pomfret fish curry, white pomfret/pamphlet fish is first fried in mustard oil and then cooked in a Bengali-style masala-based gravy containing onion-mustard seeds- poppy seeds, and green chillies paste. A combined tanginess of tomato and curd dilutes the fieriness of its spicy gravy & makes this dish simply delicious. Adding fresh coriander in garnishing makes it flavoursome and lifts its taste to the best. 

bengali recipe pomfret macher jhal aka pomfret fish curry is served in a white bowl with white rice bengali recipe pomfret macher jhal aka pomfret fish curry is served in a white bowl with white rice

Rice is the best accompaniment for having any Indian fish curry. So on this pomfret recipe too. You can relish this curry with steamed rice, boiled rice or even brown rice too. However, this Bengali style fish curry goes great with basmati rice.

Important tips for making this pomfret recipe

  • Bengali fish curry can not be made without mustard oil. So mustard oil is must use ingredient to make this pomfret macher recipe. Though you can make this dish with white oil too.
  • Fish must be fried before adding to the curry, except hilsa and prawns, we Bengalis mostly fry the fish before adding to the curry.
  • Before frying the fish, smearing the fish with turmeric and salt is an important step to follow in this recipe.
  • Fish like,pabda, tangra, pomfret does not have scales, so it splutters while frying. Then either immediately cover the pan after putting the fish in oil, or smear little oil over the fish before adding to the hot oil. Both ways are used for frying the fish without burning our skin.  

Can I use raw pomfret in this fish curry recipe?

Though in Bengali cuisine, pomfret is used to fry for making this recipe. However, you can also use raw pomfret for making this curry. Though then it would be similar to the steamed pomfret recipe( called bhapa pomfret in bengali). It will be the same, as in the steamed fish recipe, raw fish is cooked into the masala.

Can I make this curry with black pomfret?

Yes, of course. Though white pomfret is tastier than black pomfret. Even white pomfret is softer than black pomfret so may take a little bit more time in cooking. However, you can make this pomfret curry with black pomfret too. However use white pomfret or black pomfret whatever you want, but that must be fresh. As only fresh fish can make the best fish curry recipe.

Other than pomfret, what kind of fish can be used for making this fish curry?

Except for pomfret, any small fishes like Parshe, pabda, tilapia, tangra and even koi fish can be used for making this fish curry recipe. That will be delicious too.

How to fry pomfret without sticking to the pan?

First heat the pan until releases smoke, then add the oil to the pan again heat the oil until smokes come out. Then only, add the fish to the pan. After frying for 3-4 mins turn over the fish and fry it from another side. Must fry the fish in medium flame as the high flame can make the fish hard. This is the common method of frying fish in Bengali cuisine.

Try my other Bengali fish curry recipes, Shol macher Jhal Jhol, Chital Macher Kalia, Katla Macher Patla Jhol.

Hilsa fish curry recipes, Steamed Hilsa or Bhapa Ilish, Ilish Macher Paturi, Doi Ilish, Sorshe Ilish, Ilish Macher Patla Jhol.

Even Bhetki recipes, Bengali Bhetki Fish Fry and Bhetki Macher Paturi.

Pomfret macher jhal – a pomfret fish curry aka bengali pomfret recipe

Pomfret macher jhal – a pomfret fish curry aka bengali pomfret recipe

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Lunch, Main courseCuisine: Bengali, IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

5

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

284

kcal
Total time

40

minutes

Pomfret macher jhal is a spicy pomfret fish curry of bengali cuisine. Macher jhal is a common phrase used to indicate a spicy bengali fish curry. In this fish curry, Pomfret (pamphlet) fish is first fried in oil and then cooked in a masala-based gravy containing onion-mustard seeds- poppy seeds, and green chillies paste.

Ingredients

  • 330 g Pomfret/ Pamphlet (5 pieces)

  • 1 pc Onion

  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

  • 1+1/2 tsp Poppy seeds(khas khas in hindi)

  • 1/2 Tomato

  • 1+1/2 tbsp Curd

  • 3 pcs Green chillies

  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

  • Taste-wise Salt

  • 1/2 cup(100 ml) of Mustard Oil

Making of pomfret fish curry(pomfret macher Jhal)

  • Thoroughly clean & wash pomfret fish in water, and drain it well. Transfer the fish to a bowl or a plate, and smear it with 3/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp mustard oil. Keep it aside.
  • Heat a pan, add mustard oil and heat it too, when smokes come out, fry the pomfret in oil until getting golden brown from both sides. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it aside. Turn off the heat.
  • Soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in a bowl for 10-15 mins. Then strain it well.
  • Put it into the grinder jar with tomato-green chillies and curd, add 1/4 tsp of salt, and make a smooth paste of it by adding 1 teaspoon of water.
  • Heat the pan (used for frying the fish) again, keeping 3-4 tbsp of oil, and remove the excess oil from the pan.
  • Fry onion in that oil until gets golden brown, and add the masala paste to it. Stir it well and mix up the masala with the fried onion.
  • Then add red chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric to the pan. Mix it well.
  • Fry the masala until the masala separates oil from its sides, then add 1/2 cup of water mixed up with the leftover masala left in the grinder jar. Stir it well.
  • Let the gravy boil to again dry it off to kill the raw smell of masala. In the meantime, add 1/2 tsp of salt, and mix it well. Then add 1+1/2 cup of water and let it starts boiling.
  • Once the gravy starts to boil, add the fried pomfret fish to the gravy.
  • Add some green chillies(slit it for more spiciness or keep it whole just for flavour). Let cook the fish in the gravy. Close the pan with a lid. 
  • After a few mins of cooking, turn the fish to get the gravy into the fish from the other side. Again close the lid and cook it for 2-3 mins.
  • Then remove the lid and taste the fish curry, basically to check the salt, and add salt if required. Give it a good stir.
  • When the oil floats on the gravy indicate this fish curry is done. Sprinkle some fresh coriander over the gravy, and gently turn the fish. Again close the lid.
  • For 1 min, let the pomfret absorb the flavour of fresh coriander. Turn off the heat. Bengali pomfret fish curry pomfret macher jhal is ready. Serve it hot with rice and enjoy.

Notes

  • Don’t fry the fish for a long time, otherwise, fish will get hard and could not soak the gravy well.
  • Fish like,pabda, tangra, pomfret does not have scales, so it splutters while frying. Then either immediately cover the pan after putting the fish in oil, or smear little oil over the fish before adding to the hot oil. Both ways are used for frying the fish without burning our skin.
  • Must use salt for making the mustard paste to avoid getting the bitter taste.
  • For making this bengali fish curry, from frying to cooking, try to do it in mustard oil, as bengali fish curry is incomplete without the pungency of mustard oil.

How to make pomfret macher jhal with step by step pictures

Instruction

How to fry the pomfret fish

  • Take the pomfret fish, clean & wash it thoroughly and drain it well. Transfer the fish to a plate or a bowl, and smear it with 3/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp mustard oil. Keep it aside.
white pomfret fish or white pamphlet fish smeared with salt and turmeric white pomfret fish or white pamphlet fish smeared with salt and turmeric
  • Heat a pan, add mustard oil and heat the oil too, when smokes come out, fry the pomfret in oil until getting golden brown from both sides. As shown in the image below.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and keep it aside. Turn off the heat.
fry pomfret fish in mustard oil fry pomfret fish in mustard oil

Making fish curry masala

  • First, soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in a bowl for 10-15 mins. Then strain it well.
  • Put it into the grinder jar with tomato-green chillies and curd, add 1/4 tsp of salt, and make a smooth paste of it by adding 1 teaspoon of water.
making pomfret fish curry masala step by step making pomfret fish curry masala step by step

How to make pomfret macher jhal

  • Heat the pan (used for frying the fish), keep 3-4 tbsp of oil, and remove the excess oil from the pan.
after frying pomfret for making this fish curry removing the excess oil from the pan
  • Fry onion in that oil until gets golden brown, and add the masala paste to it. Stir it well and mix up the masala with the fried onion.
fish curry masala in the pan with fried onion fish curry masala in the pan with fried onion
  • Then add red chilli powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric to the pan. Mix it well.
  • Fry the masala until the masala separates oil from its sides, then add 1/2 cup of water mixed up with the leftover masala left in the grinder jar. Stir it well.
adding leftover masala mixed water in the sauteed fish curry masala adding leftover masala mixed water in the sauteed fish curry masala
  • Let the gravy boil to again dry it off to kill the raw smell of masala. In the meantime, add 1/2 tsp of salt, and mix it well. Then add 1 1/2 cup of water and let it starts boiling.
Making the gravy of of pomfret macher jhal by adding water in the sauteed masala Making the gravy of of pomfret macher jhal by adding water in the sauteed masala
  • Once the gravy starts to boil, add the fish to the gravy. Add some green chillies(slit it for more spiciness or keep it whole just for flavour). Let cook the fish in the gravy. Close the pan with a lid. 
making pomfret fish curry spicy with green chillies making pomfret fish curry spicy with green chillies
  • After a few mins of cooking, remove the lid of the pan, and turn the fish(with the help of two spatulae) as shown in the pic. Turn the fish to get the gravy infused into the fish from the other side. Again close the lid and cook the fish in the curry.
cooking pomfret fish is in the spicy masala gravy cooking pomfret fish is in the spicy masala gravy
  • After 2-3 mins of cooking, remove the lid and taste the fish curry, basically to check the salt, add salt if required. Give it a good stir. When the oil floats on the gravy indicate this fish curry is done. Sprinkle some fresh coriander over the gravy, and gently turn the fish. Again close the lid.
Making pomfret macher jhal aka spicy pomfret fish curry with fresh coriander leaves Making pomfret macher jhal aka spicy pomfret fish curry with fresh coriander leaves
  • Let the pomfret cook into the gravy for 1 min as it absorbed the flavour of fresh coriander. Turn off the heat. Bengali pomfret fish curry pomfret macher jhal is ready. Serve it hot with rice and enjoy.
bengali recipe pomfret macher jhal or spicy pomfret fish curry is ready

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