shol macher jhal jhol | bengali spicy shol fish curry recipe

Shol macher jhal jhol or bengali spicy shol fish curry recipe step by step – Shol mach or Snakehead murrel(in english) is a freshwater fish and popular among Bengalis from West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh. I named this recipe Shol macher jhal jhol which is also known as shol macher Kalia or shol macher rassa which means shallow fried shol fish is cooked in an onion-ginger-garlic-garam masala based curry or gravy. 

Except for masalas, the taste of shol fish depends on its size too means how bigger the shol mach is, it tastes more delicious. A big live shol around one kilogram or more (called Paka shol mach in the Bengali language) has a huge demand among Bengalis so its price is a bit higher than common freshwater fish in the Bengali fish market. As here I’ve selected an 850 grams alive shol mach as per my need even you may choose a bigger size alive shol mach for making this recipe.

in our Bengali cuisine, if shol macher gravy is too thick and rich that’s called Kalia, which contains too spicy, and dry gravy is called jhal and potato added stew-like curry is called jhol. And my recipe is a perfect combination of all of these three as this shol macher jhal jhol is spicy, rich with masalas and potato added a little thick curry some call it shol macher rassa too. 

shol macher recipe jhal jol or rassa or kalia

I’ve learned this recipe of shol macher kalia or rassa from my mom. My mom says shol mach should be cooked like the same way we cook meat with spices if I translate it in Bengali that means ” shol mach mangshor moto kore ranna korte hoi”. My mom has one more wonderful recipe of shol mach and that is sorse bata diye shol macher jhal or a spicy and dry shol fish curry with mustard paste. 

Like this famous and traditional recipe of shol mach many other popular shol fish recipes are common in our Bangla’r rannaghor or bengali kitchen, i.e, shol macher tok, mulo diye shol mach, etc. Apart from my version I’ve heard a lot about one more shol fish recipe and that is aam shol, it’s a traditional recipe of Bangladesh. Where shol mach or shol fish is prepared with Kancha aam or raw mango, though I never taste it I will love to try it once. Even shol bhuna is one more popular recipe among Bangladeshi people.

Try this delicious shol macher jhal jhol or kalia or rassa at home and must write your valuable feedback about this recipe in the comment section below.

You may also try Bhetki macher recipe, chital macher recipe, and ilish macher recipe from my website, i.e,

Shol macher jhal jhol | bengali spicy shol fish curry recipe

Prep time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 40 mins

Total time: 50 mins

Served for: 6 people

Course: Main course

Cuisine: Bengali

Author: Moumita Paul


  • 850 gms shol mach (13 pieces)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/4 tsp ginger paste
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 tbsp mustard oil
  • water(as needed)
  • salt (as required)

How to make shol macher jhal jhol


  • Wash the fish pieces and sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt to it. Coat it nicely with salt and turmeric.
shol mach or shol fish is nicely coated with salt and turmeric
  • Then take a pan, heat it on medium flame, add 6-7 tbsp mustard oil to it. When the oil gets hot, slow down the heat and then add the fish pieces to the pan.
bengali shol mach is in the pan frying in the mustard oil
  • Fry each side for 2-3 mins on low to medium flame means for frying the fish it will hardly take 4-6 mins. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it aside.
fried shol fish which is known as snakehead murrel in english
  • Put 1 medium size tomato, 1 1/4 tsp ginger paste, 2 tsp garlic paste and 3 green chilies to a small grinder jar and grind it to get a smooth paste of it.
tomato, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies are in the grinder jar to make smooth paste
  • Take a medium-size potato, cut it lengthwise, in bengali which we call jhol er aloo cut. Add little turmeric and salt and mix it well.
bengali macher jhol er aloo with salt and turmeric
  • Then fry the potatoes in the same pan till it gets nice golden brown color from both sides. Take it out from the pan for use later.
frying this macher jhol er aloo in mustard oil

Making of Bengali spicy shol fish curry

  • Add cumin seeds and bay leaves in the same pan and let it splutter. 
bay leaves and cumin seeds in mustard oil
  • Then add 3 finely chopped medium-sized onion to it and fry until it gets soft, nice golden brown texture.
frying the onion
  • Add the smooth masala paste to the pan which was prepared earlier. Saute it well.
tomato-ginger-garlic-green chilli paste is added to the pan with onion for making this bengali fish recipe
  • Then add 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 3/4 tsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder to it one by one. Mix it well.
all powdered masala is added to make this bengali fish curry recipe
  • Lastly, add salt and sauté it well until the raw smell of masalas completely goes off. 
lastly salt is added to this bengali shol macher tarkari recipe
  • Then first add 1/4 cup of water to avoiding the burning of masalas and let it boil. 
water is added to kosha masala or fried masala
  • Once it starts boiling add fried potatoes to the pan and mix it well with the masalas. 
after adding the fried potato nicely coated with the macher jhal jhol er masala
  • When the potatoes are nicely coated with masalas then again add 1 cup of water. Let it boil and then slow down the flame and cover it till the potatoes perfectly cooked in the gravy.
after adding water to this bengali macher jholer aloo coated with masalas
  • After the potatoes are nicely cooked then add 1 1/2 cup of more water to it and keep the flame on medium. Once the water starts to boil, then add the fish pieces to the jhol or curry and cover it with a lid. 
shol fish or shol mach is added to this bengali aloo diye shol macher kalia or spicy curry
  • After few mins remove the lid and turn the fish pieces. Then again cover the lid and let it cook for some time. 8-10 mins will hardly take to get the fish cooked in this spicy Bengali curry.
cooking the fish in bengali macher jhal jhol
  • Lastly, add 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and salt (if needed) to it mix it well. After cooking for 2-3 mins turn off the heat.
garam masala is added to this recipe of shol macher rassa or rossa
  • Shol macher jhal jhol or Bengali spicy shol fish curry is ready to eat with piping hot rice.
shol macher jhal jhol is ready to serve with piping hot rice

Tips for making this Bengali shol fish curry

  • While cleaning the fish with water must remove the scales which still intact to its skin.
  • Try to avoid frying this fish in high flame, as more heat can spoil its tenderness and make it hard.
  • Fry it on low to medium flame and don’t fry it for a long time that also can make it hard or chewy. 

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