Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Rui Macher Jhol / Rohu Fish in Plain Gravy

( Vegetarians can leave out the fish and go on with the rest of the recipe ... and can add other vegetables like green peas, radish, etc. ..... and enjoy this simple but authentic Bengali jhol. )

( Check out my other Rui macher spicy jhol ... almost like the Kalia. )
Has been quite a while since I posted a recipe last. Even though I have been almost perpetually living in the kitchen, I hardly had any time to click the dishes .... leave alone sit down and go through the rigmarole of posting one. Catering to guests and relatives can indeed be exhausting at times.

Anyway ... I was missing my blog. Of course I did visit, see new comments and felt happy .... but it is not the same as posting something new and getting feedback. :-)
Much as I'd have loved to post a new recipe, I can't right now. So picked this up from my draft. I know I won't get too many comments on this ... but then I had just this recipe's snaps left. :-)

Once upon a time I hated any dish that had vegetables. And I hated any dish that tasted Bengali ... having the usual flavour of jeera, ginger and Paanch Phoron. When this jhol used to be made at home, I would just pick up the fish and leave the rest untouched.

Today I have learnt to love traditional Bengali everyday dishes. Simple yet flavourful, this jhol ( curry gravy ) has the authentic flavours of a simple Maacher Jhol ( fish curry ).

It can be made with fishes like Bhetki or Katla or Pabda too. And is usually done without the vegetables except the potatoes.

Need :

(I'll give the measurements for around 4 pieces of the fish ).

4 Medium sized pieces of Rui / Rohu fish ( marinated with salt and turmeric powder )
mustard oil,
1 sliced onion,
1 medium eggplant / brinjals & cut into biggish cubes
around 5 to 6 florets of cauliflower &
1 medium sized potato cut into medium sized cubes,
1 or 2 whole dry red chillies ,
Paanch phoron ( some prefer whole jeera or cumin seeds ... you can use them too instead )
1/2 tsp Haldi / Turmeric powder,
1 tsp Jeera / Cumin powder,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
1 tomato, chopped ( optional),
1 tbsp Mustard oil,
Salt to taste,
Water for gravy

How to :

Updated : To fry the fish :

Heat a cast iron kadahi / wok well. Now add enough mustard oil and heat till the oil is smoking hot.

Add the fish pieces one by one on high heat very carefully ... it splutters a lot ... so holding a cover as a shield will help.

Cover, lower heat and cook till one side is done and browned. One way of knowing is the piece will easily turn over when done.

Turn the pieces over and brown the other side too.

Remove and keep aside.

To make the gravy / jhol :

Heat mustard oil in a kadhai / wok.

Add the paanch phoron ... wait for it to turn a little brown.

Then add the chillies ( break them into 2 ... otherwise they tend to burst ) and the sliced onions.
Fry for a while.

Add the ginger paste and the jeera powder ( add around a quarter cup of water now ... this way it will not burn).

Fry for a while and then add the vegetables , tomatoes and the turmeric powder.
Stir well for a while and then add water. Add salt.

Cover and cook till the veggies are done.

Remove cover and add the fish pieces.

Cover again and simmer for some more time.

If you like, add some chopped fresh coriander leaves just before serving.

This jhol goes great with plain steamed rice. Serve hot.

Updated : Many of you have suggested this with a sprinkle of fresh green lime juice. I completely agree ... and I personally love some green chilli with it too. :-)

Check out my other Rui macher spicy jhol ... almost like the Kalia.


  1. Looks good S. Gobi and Fish, new combo to me! :)

  2. That was fast Asha! Thank you! :-)
    When we get fresh cauliflowers ... usually in winters .. we add them to fish curry. :-)

  3. Anything with fish, I am in and I havent had a fish dish with veggies I am gonna bookmark this so I can make it next time...

  4. Erokom maach onek din khaini.. kopi ta dekhe monay hochey top kore mukhe fele di:-) i love the veggies that go in the jhol.. they aqcuire a delightfully different taste.
    amake baba bhat mekhe dito:-D onek boro obdhi..

    my hubby has been offering that he will cook fish curry for me, i think he feels real sorry for me:-( tomar recipe ta dhoriye debo ebar.

  5. fish and gobi..new combination. Jhol looks delicious.

  6. Thanks Ramya! Do let me know how you liked it. :-)

    :-) Soma. Dhoriye dao ... khub easy toh .. tobe tumi ektu bheje teje prepare kore dio agey. :-p

    Thanks Trupti, KF! :-)

  7. shob cheyer prothhome let me congratulate you for having such beautiful, lusturous, long, straight hair...you look lovely in the picture Sharmila! :)
    ebaar boli je aabar mile gelo, aamio aage bangla ranna pochhondo kortaam naa, shudhu north indian khete bhalobashtam, ekhon o bhalo laage kintu bangla ranna'r variety mixed with its simplicity is otuloniyo. specially veg dishes er aito variety aami aar kothao khunje paai naa.

    summer er bishesh khabar...patla jhol diye maach!! khoob bhalo hoyechhe as usual :)

  8. The spices in here sound wonderful, Sharmila. Thanks for adding a vegetarian option.

  9. Thanks Joyeeta ... you make me blush. :-)
    U r so right ... contrary to popular belief .. Bengalis have the most variety of vegetarian dishes too. :-)
    And yes, this light jhol is ideal for summers.

    Thanks Vaishali! I try to make a veggie version of almost every non veg dish for my pure veggie husband & post the recipe for my pure veggie friends. :-)

  10. after long time, Sharmila, Natun chabite tomar ektu face-off hoyeche..you're looking really beautiful in there...eta amar most favorite rui macher jhol..rui mach ghare thakle ami abosoi ei prep. ta kari, but with jeere phoron diye & begun chara..tomar ta try korte habe

  11. Thanks Indrani! Chobita hubby tuleche recently ... besides I was on a swing. :-)
    Jeere phoron in fish sounds interesting. :-)

  12. Goromkaale rui maachher ei patla jhol ta amar DAROON laage...ektu lebu diye...aaah bliss!!
    Tobe amio begun dei na...shudhu alu & phulkopi (jodi thaake).
    Begun aami shorshe'r maachhe dei...bori diye..

  13. The jhol looks good!
    So sweet of you to add a veggie option:)

  14. Jhol looks so yum,..Sharmila,..simple yet flavourful,,.

  15. Rui Macher jhol amaar chayi ,..khob bhalo lage amaar khete..tumaye chobi te bhalo laghce :))...
    hugs and smiles

  16. Thanks SGD! Ami begun bhalobashi .. tai chance pele jhole diye de. :-)

    Thanks Rashmi! I started this trend sometime back. :-)

    Thanks Priyanka! :-)

    Thanks Jaya! :-)

  17. Amar shob shomoy maacher patla jhol beshi bhalo lage, kaliya taliyar cheye. Kintu fish ta fresh hole shob cheye bhalo.
    Tomar profile pic ta darun hoyeche :)


  18. phulkopi diye rui mach.. amar favorite.. the pic looks fantastic. Tomar profil pic ta darun :)

  19. tomar query r answer post karechi..check

  20. Hi Sharmila,
    Would love to make this one :) looks tempting.
    Ur snap looks damn nice :) Take care and hope to see many recipes from u :)

  21. Macchi with vegetable is something I never experimented with,looks spicy good with all the masala.Summer sure gets busy with guests and outing fun,glad to know you are being such a good hostess:)

  22. Thanks Sandeepa! Maachta ami fresh kini .. kintu rekhe dite hoye ... tai jokhon ranna kori ota frozen e hoye giye thake. :-)

    Thanks Mandira! :-)

    Thanks Indrani! :-)

    Thanks Suparna! Do try it out ... pretty simple to make. :-)

    Thanks Yasmeen! Actually is it not very spicy and has very few masalas ... even the chillies are optional.

    And thanks all for liking the snap ... and caring to say so! :-)

  23. hey Sharmila!
    I am on the opposite side of the spectrum..we have literally been living n sandwiches recently plus no time to post anything. Nice to learn about what constitutes a jhol. I didn't enjoy traditional food as well when I was a kid but now I treasure those recipes.

  24. :-) Bharti! Guess that's growing up is all about. Thanks for liking the jhol. :-)

  25. Thanks for this wonderful recipe...staying away from Bengal keeps me away from being Bengali...with your blog, I can feel the essence of being bengali even while living in UK...Keep cooking and keep posting...


  26. Yummy...

    Keep posting.


  27. thnks for this gng to prepare this today,..:)

  28. The measures please! Or is this only for experts!


  29. Thanks Kakoli, Ajoy, Priyanka, Aseem! :-)

    Aseem .. I myself am a novice at such dishes ... hence no measurements. Am updating the post with as much as I can.
    Hope you will like it now. :-)

  30. thanks for posting such yummy recipes,..i truly enjoyed preparing and eatin this

  31. Thanks Priyanka! Glad you liked it. :-)

  32. Hey Sharmila..i looked all over for a good rui maach curry and ended my search at this. I cooked it today afternoon with limited success..though my wife liked it (she is a bengali and Iam a tamilian), it wasnt perfect. While frying the fish, the skin stuck the pan, and while trying to salvage the peice, I ruined it completely, it broke and the fish bones were peeping from all sides. Any idea on how should I fry the fish without breaking it.

  33. Hi Uday!
    This is the simplest of rui curries and does not have too many things in it ... so may not be liked by many.
    You could add some onion and ginger paste after the adding the paanch phoron the next time and see the difference.
    To fry fish two things are important - fresh fish and smoking hot oil (I assume you used mustard oil). Also it will be good if you use a cast iron or a non stick kadahi.
    Heat the kadahi well first. Then add enough oil and heat it till it is smoking hot. Add the fish pieces while the flame is on high, cover and lower heat. After one side has turned brown, turn over and brown the other side.
    But remember ... if the fish is not fresh, it will break ... no matter what. That is in fact one way of judging how fresh you fish is.
    Hope this helps. I'll try to post some more rui recipes soon.
    And perfection comes with practice ... so chill. :-)

  34. Hi! I love your recipes. They are simple to cook and taste delicious. My husband's a pure vegetarian and it's from you that I learnt how to get him to eat some of my favourite recipes.

  35. Thanks a lot for this recipe. I cooked it last Sunday and it was amazing! My girlfriend loved it too.

  36. Hi Sharmila,

    So good to see u back ..tried this out and it turned out so good , loved it .
    This fish curry is easy to prepare and the taste is great ,actually those are the highlights of ur recipes :) easy yet tasty .
    will try out other recipes and let u know ...tc

  37. I started reading ur blog recently and fell in love with it. I stay in Bangkok at the moment for job assignment but have stayed in Bangalore and pune before this. Aamar tomar recipe and lekhar dhoron ta khub bhalo laage. Aami Kalyan Karmakar er blog regularly follow kortam and ekhon tomar ta korbo.....Read in random ur recipes and implemented too...... Awesome...

  38. Tomar recipe gulo Daarun.. started following ur recipe recently and loved all ur posts... Aami aage pune te tarpor Bangalore e thekechi... taaei aaro bhalo laage tomar golpo gulo podhte..... I get the Bangali feeling reading ur blog sitting in thailand.....Thanks Sharmila

    1. You are most welcome Tanushree. Thanks for the nice words. :-)

  39. Murighonto recipe ta ektu bolo ki bhave banano jaye....

    1. Anonymous ...
      I have two recipes for the murighonto -

      and -

      Hope this helps.


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!