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Maacher Jhol – Light Bengali Fish Stew


  • ¼ tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 2 green finger chillies, chopped

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 30g coriander leaves, chopped

  • 500g haddock fillets, skinned and cut into pieces 7.5-9cm (3-3½ inches) long

  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil

  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds

  • ½ tsp brown or black mustard seeds

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp peeled and grated root ginger

  • 1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped


  • 1.

    Mix together the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, chillies, salt and coriander leaves. Coat the fish evenly with the spice mixture.

  • 2.

    Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Fry the fish for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

  • 3.

    Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they pop, add the garlic, ginger, onion, and tomatoes. Fry gently for 8 minutes. Add about 200ml boiling water and stir for a minute.

  • 4.

    Return the fish to the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the sauce is brownish and not too thick and the fish is cooked. Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve hot with naan or pitta breads.

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Maacher Jhol, translated literally from Bangla to English, is Fish Gravy.