Fresh parshe simmered in a potent and flavourful mustard gravy, this Bengali fish curry is easy to prepare and insanely delicious.

Shorshe diye parshe macher jhol (or parshe macher jhal) is a simple and delectable Bengali fish curry. Here, fresh parshe is simmered in a potent and flavourful mustard gravy. This Bengali fish-curry recipe is easy to prepare, insanely delicious, and requires only a handful of ingredients. The star of the show is, of course, fresh parshe. A freshwater catch with a soft sheen, parshe (a kind of mullet) is identifiable by its small, triangular mouth and slender shape. The fish is soft, flaky, and sweet to the taste—all of which are perfectly complemented by the fiery, potent flavours from the mustard gravy.

This parshe macher jhal recipe is rather simple. The only finicky bit is grinding mustard seeds to a smooth paste until completely non-grainy. We’re using a mix of yellow and black mustard for a balance of flavour and sharpness. Besides fresh parshe, this recipe uses dal’er bori (sun-baked lentil dumplings) and brinjal, both of which soak up the flavourful curry, and provide a contrast of tastes and textures to this warm, comforting parshe macher jhol.


COOKING TIME 45 minutes
YIELDS 5 servings


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400 g Parshe machh
10 pcs Dal’er bori (sun-baked lentil dumplings)
100 g Brinjal
15 g Tomatoes
8 g Coriander leaves
5 pcs Green chillies
20 g Yellow and black mustard seeds (soaked for 2 hours)
25 g Yoghurt (beaten)
40 g Mustard oil (for cooking and garnish)
¼ tsp Kaalo jeere (nigella seeds)
15 g Salt (plus ¾ tsp for coating fish with)
3 g Turmeric powder (plus ¾ tsp for coating fish with)
8 g Sugar
300 g Hot water

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Kadai | frying pan
  • Khunti | long spatula
  • Lid for the cooking vessel
  • Khunti | long spatula

Appliances

  • Stove
  • Grinder

Method

  1. Clean the fish, and coat it with ¾ tsp each of salt and turmeric. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the soaked-and-strained mustard seeds to a grinder jar along with 2 roughly chopped green chillies and 80 g water. Blitz everything into a smooth paste. The finer and non-grainier the paste, better the flavour. You may need to scrape down the sides of your jar and keep blending until the mustard paste is smooth.
  3. Coming to the veggies, roughly chop the tomato and cut the brinjal in 5-cm long pieces.
  4. In a kadai set on medium heat, heat 35 g mustard oil until it is smokes lightly and changes colour to a pale yellow. Add the dal’er bori and fry for about 20 seconds, or until the bori is golden brown. Strain from the oil and set aside. Now, in the same pan fry the brinjal until it is golden too (about 4 minutes), and starin and set aside. Finally, lower the marinated fish, one at a time. Fry fish in batches in a single layer, for a minute on each side. Drain from the oil and set these aside too.
  5. Check your oil at this point. If it is not too burnt from all the frying, add kaalo jeere to it (if it is burnt, you may want to replace it with fresh oil). Then add the chopped tomato and fry for about 10 seconds, after which add the green chillies. Fry until they crackle (another 10 seconds).
  6. Add the mustard paste and sauté on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add the salt and turmeric, and cook for another 6 minutes until the raw smell from the spices in gone. Whenever the mixture dries out, add a splash of water and keep frying.
  7. Add the yoghurt and sugar, and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Now add 300 g hot water. This will form the curry. Add the fried bori and allow the curry to come to a boil. Then add the fried brinjal. Simmer gently for about 3 minutes, after which lower the fried parshe one by one, making sure the fish are submerged in the curry. Do not stir or disturb too much because the fish is going to be delicate at this point and likely to break. Cook the fish in the curry for about 5 minutes on low heat.
  9. Finish off with freshly chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of raw mustard oil (about 5 g).

Served with