Shingi Machher Jhol – Light Catfish Curry

This is how we bengalis cook our ‘machh er Jhol’. A very basic recipe where fish is cooked with vegetables in a light and soupy gravy. No fancy ingredients used, only the basic Bengali masala, panchforon pr Bengali Five Spice is a must for this. I have used Shingi Machh or a kind of Cat Fish, which is believed to be very healthy and generates blood in the body. any other sweet water fish can be used to cook ‘Machh er jhol’ provided the fish is fresh.
Disclaimer : Not for the experienced Bengali Chefs. 


  • Shingi Machh – 3, cut into pieces
  • Cauliflower – 1/2, cut into florets
  • Sheem or Broad Beans – 4, cut into half
  • Bori or Bengali lentil balls – 10-12
  • Panch Foron or Bengali five spice – 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilli – as per taste
  • Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
  • Salt, Turmeric
  • Bay leaf
  • Mustard Oil

Smear salt and turmeric onto the fish. Fry lightly in mustard oil and keep aside.


Take half a cup of water and mix the kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Keep aside.


Heat the mustard oil and then lightly fry the marinated fish. Fry the bori too.


Add panchforon, bayleaf and slit green chilli to the hot mustard oil of the same pan.


Add the chopped vegetables and stir fry for 1 min. Next add the masala water and stir to cover the vegetables.


After 3-4 minutes, add 2 cups of hot water. ( The dish would be soupy  it is a machh er jhol, so be liberal with the water.)


When it starts boiling, add the fishes immersed in the soup and cook covered for 10 minutes over low heat till the vegetable is cooked.


Add the fried bori and mix carefully. Boil for 1 more minute.


Keep covered for a standing time of 10 minutes.


Serve this healthy but tasty Singi machher jhol with hot steamed rice.