Pabda Macher Jhal/ Pabo Catfish in mustard curry

‘Pabda’ is quite a well known fish in Bengal and one of my favourites too. Back home, it can be prepared in different ways, however I like it most when cooked in mustard gravy and tastes a bit on the upper edge of my spice tolerance. In fact, fish curry with mustard paste is a quintessential Bengali way of preparing fishes like Hilsha, Pomfret, Parshe and many more.  The recipes are quite similar and do not require much spices apart from mustard seeds paste. Since I got hold of some large sizes Pabdas recently, could not resist to make this preparation and share with you, my fellow fish lovers.

Pabdar Jhal

Pabdar Jhal

Ingredients to serve 4 :

  1. Pabda fish – 4 pieces
  2. Mustard seed (black/white) – 2 tbspoon (I used black one)
  3. Green chilli – 3-4
  4. Kalonji or nigella seed (kalo jeere) – ½ teaspoon
  5. Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Fresh coriander leaves (chopped) – 2 tbspoon
  8. Cooking oil (preferably mustard oil) – 3-4 tbspoon

Procedure :

Clean and wash the pieces of Pabda, smear with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside.

Pabda fish coated with salt & turmeric powder

Pabda fish coated with salt & turmeric powder

Soak mustard seeds in water for 10 minutes. Then drain the water and make a smooth paste out of it. Add 2 green chillies and a pinch of salt while grinding the mustard seeds.

Now heat oil in a frying pan or kadai over medium heat. Fry both sides of the fish pieces till they turn light golden brown in colour. Take out them from oil and keep aside. Don’t over fry the fishes.

Now add nigella seed in the remaining oil and saute for a while. Add mustard paste, pinch of turmeric powder and remaining green chillies (slit). Saute the paste for 2 minutes, then add ½ cup of water and salt to taste. As the water starts boiling put fried fish into it. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook over low-medium flame. As the gravy thickens to your desired consistency put the gas off. Sprinkle over fresh coriander leaves, again cover the pan and give it a standing time for couple of minutes.

Serve with steamed rice.

Note :

  1. One can add a small quantity of poppy seed paste along with mustard paste.


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