Sumeet’s Machar Jhol (Bengali Spicy Fish Curry)

Machar jhol is a classic Bengali spicy fish curry flavored with the goodness of mustard. The best way to eat this dish is with plain white rice. Here is a really excellent recipe. You must use a good mustard oil to make this dish as that is what gives it flavor. Generally mustard oil is available at any Indian grocery store.


Sumeet’s Machar Jhol

Serves 4Print This Recipe


2 lbs firm white fish, cubed

1 tsp. panch phorun (available at any Indian grocery store)

1 tsp. turmeric powder (haldi)

Salt to taste


Soak these in water for 6-7 hours or overnight:

1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds (dhaniya)

1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds (jeera)

1 tbsp. black mustard seeds (rai)

1 whole red chili



Additional Ingredients:

6-7 cloves garlic

2” ginger

2 green chilies

1 large onion

3 plum tomatoes

1 tsp. deghi mirchi – Kashmiri chili powder (opt)

Mustard oil



  • Grind the soaked spices with garlic, ginger, chilies and onions with ¼ cup water until it reached a fine paste consistency.
  • Set aside.
  • Heat 4 tbsp. mustard oil to smoking point in a cooking pot.
  • Add 1 tsp. panch phorun.
  • Add the ground masala paste.
  • Add 1 tsp. haldi and salt.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of hot water and 1 tsp. deghi mirchi.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the fish and allow curry to come to a boil.
  • Let it cook for 10 minutes uncovered.
  • Add the juice of ½ a lime and cilantro.
  • Remove from fire and serve hot with white rice.

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