‘Sobji diye macher jhol’ is one of the most commonly prepared fish curries in Bengal.
Here’s Why You Should Try It?
This is a light gravy preparation that is not heavy on the spices. The main aim is a nourishing gravy that soothes your soul and calms your body, while not disappointing your taste buds.
The Perfect One Pot Meal
To me, this ‘Sobji diye macher jhol’ is a perfect one pot meal with steaming rice. A bowl of this contains a good amount of nutrition from the vegetables, proteins from the fish, and the broth soothes your soul and adds to your energy for the rest of the day. This, ensuring that your taste buds are happy!
No doubt, why Bengalis have a soft corner for this dish.
What Vegetables You can Use for Sobji Diye Macher Jhol?
The good thing about this dish is that you can use a wide assortment of vegetables round the year. And there are minimal restrictions on what you should and what you should not use.
Here’s a list to help you.
- Green beans – French beans, cow-pea beans (‘borboti‘ in Bengali), long beans, etc.
- Hyacinth Beans (‘Shim‘ in Bengali)
- Raw banana (‘Kachkola‘ in Bengali)
- Brinjal or eggplant (‘Begun‘ in Bengali)
- Ridge Gourd (‘Jhinge‘ in Bengali)
- Sweet Potato
- Pointed Gourd (‘Potol‘ in Bengali)
- Raw Papaya
What Fishes You can Use?
Once again, the versatility of this dish is proven from the wide variety of fish you can use. Here’s a list to help you.
- Rohu (Rui in Bengali)
- Catla (Katla in Bengali)
- Cat fish (Shingi machh in Bengali)
- Hilsa (Ilish)
- Bekti (Bhetki)
- Shol, Bhola, and many others
In this recipe, I have used pangas since this is one of my most favorite fishes. You can use any from the above-mentioned list
- Preparation Bowls
- Serving Bowls
For Marinading and Frying the Fish
- 300 g Fish cut into 75g fillets, yields 4 pieces
- 6 tsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
For the Bengali Fish Curry with the Vegetables (sobji)
- 2 pc red chilly
- 1 pc bayleaf
- 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 2 pc medium-sized potato
- 1 pc raw banana
- 2 cups water preferably hot water
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp sugar
Spice Mix (to be prepared fresh)
- 2 inch ginger
- 1 pc red chilly
- 2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 pc kashmiri red chilly optional, used to give a nice red color
Preparation for the Sobji Diye Macher Jhol (fish curry with vegetables bengali style)
- In bowl of warm water, add the spices mentioned under "For the Spice Mix" – red chilly, whole cumin seeds and Kashmiri red chilies. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes
- Peel and chop the ginger
- Marinade the fish with turmeric powder and salt
- Peel the potato and dice it length-wise
- Peel the raw bananas and cut it length-wise, in thick strips
- In a mixie, add the ginger along with red chilly, whole cumin seeds, Kashmiri red chilies that you had soaked previously. Add a tea spoon of water and grind it into a smooth paste. Keep aside
Cooking the Alu Kachkola Sobji Diye Macher Jhol
- Heat a wok and add the mustard oil mentioned under "For Marinading and Frying the Fish"
- Once the oil starts smoking, reduce the flame
- Fry the marinaded fishes in batches and keep aside
- In the same oil, add the bayleaf, red chilly and whole cumin seeds
- Once the spices sizzle, add the potatoes and raw bananas
- Stir for a couple of minutes and add the spice mix prepared previously
- Stir and cook covered for around 10 minutes. Checked every 3-4 minutes to ensure that the spices do not stick to the pan and burn. If needed add a splash of water
- Add salt, sugar and water and bring to a rolling boil
- Check for seasonings and adjust if needed
- Add the fried fish fillets and reduce the flame on low. Cover and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes
- Put off the flame and allow to rest for another 5 minutes
- Serve hot with rice and a dollop of ghee
- If you want a slight tang in the gravy, you can add tomato while cooking the vegetables
- You can skip the Kashmiri red chilly, I have used it to impart a reddish color to the gravy
- You can skip the sugar as well. However, Bengalis have a soft corner for adding a tea spoon of it in most curries that we prepare