Of the many famous river fishes that us Bongs favour, my favourite is the ‘Catla’; scientifically called Catla Catla, this fish belongs to the Carp family, and is slightly broader than the silver-hued ‘Rohu’ or Rui, with a red-pinkish tinge to it. Catla is sweeter and tastier than Rui, at least in my books, and I love having simple curries of it. I also favour the ‘peti’, or the fatty belly of the fish 😛 but these days, I’m being a saint and refraining from having it..
This recipe is absolutely, gorgeously simple, and was taught by my mashi (maternal aunt), who fed it to my folks just a few days back. So, inspired by that, and by the need to have a light, succulent curry in this heat, I made this ‘jhatphat’ dish today, for lunch.
The best part about this dish is it utter simplicity. You need two ingredients only! The flavour of the curry comes from the fragrant nigella seeds, or kalo jeera/kalonji, and a garnish of chopped coriander gives it a lift like no other!
Catla Maacher Rosha
- Catla (Carp or any sweet water fish) – 4 pieces
- Tomatoes – 2, diced
- Nigella seeds/Kalonji/Kalo jeera – 1/2 tsp
- Chopped coriander – a handful
- Green chilies – 2, slit
- Mustard oil – for deep frying fish
- Salt – to taste
- Turmeric – for marinating fish
- Clean the fish, pat dry and apply salt and turmeric all over.
- Keep aside for 10 mins, and then heat a deep-bottomed vessel, preferably a kadhai.
- Heat mustard oil, enough to fry four fishes (about 2 tbsp should be enough)
- Deep fry the fish until golden brown and crisp (should take 2 minutes on either side ideally, on a medium high heat)
- In the same oil, add the kalonji seeds, and let them sputter.
- Add the slit green chilies and diced tomatoes.
- Season with salt and turmeric, cover and let tomatoes soften.
- Once tomatoes are soft, add the fish, a cup of water and the chopped coriander.
- Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until some of the gravy has reduced and seeped into fish (makha makha, or rassa-type)
- Serve with steamed rice 🙂