bengali fish curry
Bong Connection Fish Recipe

Machher kalojire jhol(Fish curry with nigella seeds)

This may be one of the simplest fish curry recipe you have come across  as well as an extra ordinary one.It is also highly customizable and you can add your favorite ingredients creating amazing range of varieties.I had learnt this dish after my marriage ,watching  my mother in law cooking ,as it seemed to be my husband’s one of the most favorite dishes he grew up with.Though the preparation is really simple I had spent months and years with trial and error before I could finally make perfect curry which I am satisfied with.This one is a great savior and handy during time constraints and a blessing to the fish lovers ,served with steamed rice.

Bengali fish curry

My mother in law used to call this “lal jhol” meaning red curry but my curry would never become red, as the moment I used to put the seasoning of  nigella seeds in oil followed by red chilly powder ,my curry will become either dark brown or blackish and I did not know where I was going wrong.In Indian curries it is a practice to fry the spices in oil before making gravy like we do for all the other dishes.Now I understand that the red chilly powder ,one should never directly fry in oil,it will give a blackish tinge to your dish.You can try this recipe with any fish ,here I prepared with carps.

bengali fish curry

Machher kalojire jhol

Simple Bengali style fish curry with nigella seeds seasoning

Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali, Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3 person
Author indrani


  • 4 to 5 Carp pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

For curry

  • 1 tsp Nigella seeds
  • 1/2 cup Mustard oil
  • 1 tbsp Red chilly powder
  • 2 Green chillies slit
  • 1/2 cup Onions sliced optional
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar As per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Salt As per taste
  • 1/2 cup Water


  1. Marinate the fish pieces with salt and turmeric for 10 minutes

  2. Heat 1/4 th cup  mustard oil in the pan till it smokes

  3. Lower the heat and fry the fish pieces one by one,till they get light brown on both sides

  4. Take out the fish pieces.Discard this oil

  5. Add the remaining oil in the pan.

  6. Fry the nigella seeds

  7. Dissolve the red chilly powder and a pinch of turmeric in the water and add it to the oil.Let it boil .

  8. Add salt and sugar to taste

  9. Add the fish pieces and let it simmer over slow heat,covered for 5 minutes

  10. Add the slit green chillies and saute

  11. Add sliced onions

  12. take it off from heat and serve it hot garnished with coriander leaves with steamed rice.

Recipe Notes

You can add vegetables like aubergines,broad beans or even radish to make it more filling and nutritious.

To make it less spicy use kashmiri chilly powder which will give color minus the heat.





Indrani Sen is a teacher,lecturer in Information Technology/Computer Science for the past 12 years. She has authored 4 text books in Information Technology.
She is passionate about cooking and loves to blog about food and travel.This blog is like my baby as I have built it from scratch by myself with little help from colleagues ,friends and of course Google.

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