4.0/5 rating (20 votes)

Maacher Jhol

Bengali Fish Curry

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 4
  • Dietary Info LACTOSE-FREE
  • Prep 5 mins
  • Marinade 30 mins
  • Cook 30 mins
Maacher Jhol

A classic Bengali-style fish curry adapted for you to love!

Hari says

Maacher Jhol is a classic Bengali dish usually eaten with rice. ‘Maacher’ means fish and ‘Jhol’ is gravy, and in the Bengal region this dish would be cooked using a freshwater carp known as Rohu or Hilsa. These are boney, oily fish so a good substitute for you would be steaks of kingfish, salmon or mackerel but if you prefer a white fish try pomfret, sea bass, red snapper, tilapia or halibut.

Traditional Bengali cooking is utterly unique and this recipe reflects that cooking style. Dishes always need the main ingredient to be fried in mustard oil before being added to the sauce; people from this region believe that this method enhances the flavours by allowing the meat or fish to absorb the spices in the gravy more effectively. But for us, I’ve drastically reduced the amount of oil that would traditionally be used. This makes it healthier and a little more tuned to our Western tastebuds.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 4 large fish steaks (Kingfish, Salmon, Halibut)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsps mustard oil
  • 10 minature potatoes
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 5 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cm ginger, crushed
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 tbsps Greek yogurt
  • 2 green chillies, sliced lengthways
  • handful of fresh, green coriander, finely chopped 


  1. Wash the fish and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Place onto a dish and sprinkle with turmeric powder and salt. Rub this into the fish and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime blitz the onion to get a paste.
  3. When the fish has marinated, heat the mustard oil in a pan and fry the pieces of fish until each one is golden on both sides. Be gentle with the fish while it cooks then set to one side.
  4. Use the same oil or add more if required and fry the potatoes until they are golden. Drain on kitchen towel and set to one side.
  5. If needed add a little more oil and heat on medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods and cumin seeds.
  6. Once fragrant add the onion paste with the crushed ginger and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes.
  7. Just as they turn golden in colour add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, crushed coriander seeds and chopped chillies.
  8. Stir until fragrant then spoon in the yogurt and mix well.
  9. Fry this for about 10 -15 minutes until it becomes shiny the add 1 or 2 cups of hot water.
  10. Stir in the fried potatoes and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and leave the potatoes simmering to cook through.
  11. Once they are soft and cooked through add the fried pieces of fish and stir gently.
  12. Cook for a few minutes then remove from the heat and sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and sliced chillies to garnish. Serve immediately with some plain rice

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)8.5
of which saturates (g)1.2
Carbohydrates (g)6.1
of which sugars (g)1.6
Fibre (g)0.6
Protein (g)8.3
Salt (mg)0.35
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments (4)

  • Dr. Meena  ( Paediatrician )

    Dr. Meena ( Paediatrician )

    05 September 2020 at 14:41 |
    Dear Hari ,
    What a wonderfully gifted cook you are !
    You are truly blessed.
    Once I landed on your demonstration of making Samosas in cone-shape, I make it all the time --' I just change the size, from extra small for cocktails , to small / medium / jumbo size and extra-large.
    Thank you so much.
    I'd like to try you entire repetoire of ' Biriyanis '
    Dr Meena


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      08 September 2020 at 11:27 |
      Thanks Dr Meena great to know you are enjoying the recipes.


  • P Das

    P Das

    22 January 2017 at 20:50 |
    Made this with bream. It turned out delicious


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      23 January 2017 at 08:56 |
      Hi Thanks you for trying a dish from the website. Bream sounds really good let me know if you try any other dishes. Thanks Hari


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