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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Aar Maacher Jhaal - Catfish in a spicy mustard gravy

When a Punjabi comes up with Bengali food the taste of it can be quite a few speculators . The authenticity,the stature, the quality of oil to be used and then lastly Authenticity . NO my food isn't always authentic, but i make sure it is delicious and I do take the liberty of making my changes here and there not only to make my life easier but also to jive it better texture or taste .

One of the simple but delightful gems of Bengali cooking is the Maachher Jhaal ... Jhaal ideally means Hot / Spicy ! and it is nothing but a delicious Mustard based sauce to slather fried fish with . A jhaal is usually made with Rohu, Katla , Bekti, or Hilsa but I prefer it with AAR, which is a fresh water catfish.

Here is the simple and delightful recipe:

Mustard oil 1/2 cup 
Darne of Aar 4 nos 
Kashondi /mustard paste  - 1/2 cup 
Onion Paste 1 nos 
Lemon juice 1 tsp 
Chili powder 1 tbsp 
Coriander powder 1 tbsp 
Nigella Seeds 1 tsp 
Slit green chili 2 nos 
Water as and when required 

  • Apply salt pepper and lemon juice to fish and keep aside for 10 mins 
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish till golden on both sides 
  • Be careful aar always splutters with mini explosions in the pan so keep a lid handy 
  • Now drain the fish and in the same pan heat the oil and temper with nigella and chilies 
  • Add the mustard baste and saute for a while 
  • Add the dry spices and seasonings and saute for a few seconds 
  • add water (sat 1/4 cup) and cook it down for the masalas to soften 
  • Add the fish and cook covered for a few minutes 
  • Take out on a serving dish and serve hot 
p.s. I always replace the nigella seeds with panch -phoran which is a heavenly combination of 5 tempering ( mustard , fennel, cumin , nigella , fenugreek)
p.s. If u don't have kashondi, take mustard seeds and grind with a little water , oil and vinegar, add salt and a green chili make into a paste and use

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